4D Theater

I took my kids to the 4D theater at the New York Aquarium last weekend. It was some scenes from BBC Blue Planet with the 4D stuff (rumble seats, bubbles, wind machine) synced with the video. It was pretty cool and I got to wondering how exactly they master these. Like, do they have some proprietary wrapper to contain the 4D theater instructions in sync with the video or is it two totally separate systems and they’re essentially just pressing start on the projector and the 4D machines at the same time. How do they master these - like, do they have a special Flame suite with 4D seating? Is there a 4D supervisor who’s art directing the bubbles and rumble? And then I realized there’s a good chance that one of you have mastered one of these. Anyone care to tell me more about it?

My limited experience of this is to marry a DMX control system with a timecode generator and a playback device. (not an entirely trivial endeavor, but significantly easier these days).

It’s not an opportunity for free thinkers and artists to invent their own frame numbering or ‘i never use timecode’ situations.

Flame has historically been an excellent connector for this kind of activity, but it isn’t widely discussed because ride/simulator/experience companies enjoy being viewed as a black box environment.

Equally, unreal engine eclipses what used to be possible.

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Thanks! I knew someone here would have some answers. I need to learn more about DMX, seems like every cool immersive thing I hear about uses it somehow.

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Touch Designer is an excellent software to begin with.
It ‘talks’ to lots of things in all kinds of languages.

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We online edited the original Blue Planet II TV series, yes in Flame… so there was a Flame connection to your 4D experience! :fire:
But we send the content for that kind of non-broadcast/event stuff separately, via the international distributors, to whoever bundles it up for rumble seat fun, so defer to @philm’s knoweldge on that.


@cicero - beautiful work - so effortlessly seamless, compelling and beautiful

What an amazing credit. Thats right up there
on my wish i worked on that list.

How was it?

I worked on one for Berkshire Ridefilm back in the 90’s. It was called “Muggo’s Revenge.” You can find it on YouTube, I think. It was really low brow and on the cheap, and I was happy to not do another. I never saw the ride.

My favorite DMX track.


By the by, Blue Planet was not my first 4D theater experience. That honor belongs to a tourist attraction I went to in Kiev, Ukraine about 15 years ago that was held in an old communist meeting hall with ornate carved hammers and sickles on the walls. They projected a bootleg ride film and their version of DMX control was a guy crouching in front of the audience who would spritz us with water, blow bubbles and turn on a fan periodically for wind.

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I think that might have been a Blue Movie

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Sounds like https://youtu.be/rjm_zmBoxjw?si=V8ZlnryvIFvEF6fi

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