In the early ‘90s, a vast expanse of farmland in central Zhejiang, China, was procured by the Hengdian Group. The goal was to build an expansive film studio and later adding attractions to turn it in a theme park that recreated thousands of years of Chinese history and culture. Today, Hengdian World Studios is known as the largest film studio in the world, spanning over 370 hectares, and welcoming over 150 million visitors since 2011.
More than 1,200 movies and TV shows are filmed on the grounds, including the recent 2020 live action remake of Mulan. Film crews are welcome to rent the fixed-install sets available free of charge, thanks to the theme park attractions that bring the steady stream of tourism that floods the grounds every year.
Hengdian World Studios is always looking to continue to innovate and expand for the 20 million tourists which visit each year. In its latest venture, visitors are plunged into a so-called ‘Flying Theatre’, installed inside the Qin Palace set.
German integrator, project: syntropy worked on the concept and system design for the theatre, including delivery, installation, and locally-sourced maintenance, with domeprojection supplying the auto-calibration system. Utilising more than a decade of experience in flight training and sims, they developed an entirely new generation of flying theatre experiences.
“The theatre is a mix between a theme park ride and a cinema,” Christoph Bode, CTO of project: syntropy, explained. “Users are suspended in ride seats in front of a 25m domed screen. The seats then lurch and move as though the users are in the film, creating a fully immersive experience.”
Project: syntropy chose 16 Digital Projection 13,000 lumens HIGHlite Laser II projectors for the projection.
Lars Steffens, projection expert at project: syntropy, explained that the projectors and calibration cameras were installed around the opening of the dome screen, ensuring full coverage for the visuals. The dome’s visuals are supported by a sophisticated 20-plus multi-channel surround sound system, delivered using JBL Pro speakers, Crown amplifiers and BSS Soundweb DSP and located behind the screen.
The projectors are controlled and calibrated by AV Stumpfl’s PIXERA 64-bit media control interface software. With its user-friendly interface, the software allows for any of the park’s employees to manage the system without a wealth of projection or calibration experience.
“The end result matched what Hengdian Studios asked for perfectly, and we were really pleased with the result,” concluded Tobias Kubacki, site manager at project: syntropy. “One of my colleagues went on the ride and said it was an incredible experience.”