5D thrills at the Tonguan Kiln cultural centre

Education and entertainment are intertwined at the Tonguan Kiln International Cultural and Tourism Center, China, using the power of ground-breaking AV to create a theatre like no other. Reece Webb reports how Kraftwerk Living Technologies delivered its biggest project to date.

Inavation Award winner Kraftwerk Living Technologies delivered a jaw-dropping 5D theatre experience like no other, merging staggering technology-based audience
entertainment, educational value and ease of control.

Thomas Gellerman, head of special projects, Kraftwerk, explained: “We were contacted directly by the customer. As the project was quite unique, we developed the theatre and the ideas specifically with and for them – from the original concept
through to completion.”

The result was the ‘Magic Glaze 5D’, a ‘5D’ theatre experienced housed within a 45m tall dome at Tonguan Kiln International Cultural and Tourism Center in Changsha, China.

Gellerman explained: “Magic Glaze 5D is the biggest attraction in the cultural centre and tells an entertaining story around the main theme of the park. The requirements given by the client were to find a way to portray the cultural heritage while entertaining people – using state-of-the-art technology in a large and unique venue.”

Gellerman says: “While a 3D theatre includes stereoscopic video, a 4D theatre adds moving seats and a range of special effects to the experience, a 5D theatre is the additional dimension created by the main cylindrical screen setup along with the projected ceiling, which surrounds and covers the audience and thus immerses the guests into the action completely.”

Harkening back to the heritage of the region, the Magic Glaze 5D theatre is housed within a kiln shaped structure. Gellerman said:“In addition to size and capacity,there was a need for easy control and operations, remote maintenance capability as well as a ‘wow-factor’ for the guests when entering the theatre. It was also clear that the layout would not be one of a regular 4D theatre,but something custom and unique.

"Thus, the idea of a 
theatre with a 360-degree,dome-like screen and a ceiling projection developed, resembling a pot or kiln.”

The automated attraction begins with guests walking through a workshop-themed room, moving into a queue line outside, with guests entering a pre-show room where an operator console can be used to set different timing pre-sets based on the number of visitors.Automated doors swing open,ushering visitors in to an 800-seat theatre, immersing visitors into the interior of a flaming oven, created with scenic lighting, various projections and special effects as a film experience begins.

Flexible control was needed to create a seamless experience for visitors, using Kraftwerk’s show control system with a Crestron/BSM conductor as Gellerman explained: “Depending on the number of visitors, operators can decide which motion bases section run – even having the option to turn off individual ones.

Once the show is running, the AV and lighting systems merge with motion and effects.”Six Barco 4K XDL-60L projectors are used to project onto a 3D perforated dome screen.

Gellerman: “The screen 
types used at Magic Glaze 5D are highly specialised, taking great care in the design, the manufacture and the assembly to provide a high-quality projection surface. We chose a partner supplier that is based in China but also has an office in the EU for close cooperation and easy communication regarding logistics and technical details.While the screen is custom-designed and was, despite a smart assembly system, labour intensive in its installation onsite, with the supplier location being in China, the logistics process was relatively straightforward.”

"Giving the creatives ultimate control to manipulate each component of the guest experience while still maintaining great overview was the goal and that has been accomplished at Magic Glaze 5D." - Thomas Gellerman, Kraftwerk Living Technologies
Kraftwerk’s Advanced SFX motion seats bring a unique,element to the show experience,including a variety of integrated effects as Gellerman clarified:“The high-class special effects are incorporated into the specifically developed SFX armrest,guaranteeing a much better guest experience. This generation of Motion Seats has a smart arm rest with several integrated effects,ranging from water spray, face blast and a wind system to various lighting effects such as strobe flashlight, floor illumination and face light. The armrests even integrate an occupancy sensor,which allows for sustainable and efficient operations and a multi-scent system.

“The motion seats also include in-seat audio, which is used for special effects in conjunction with the film’s multi channel audio. Other in-seat effects are seat vibration, which can again be audio- and control-track driven per seat. The seat’s 4DOF motion experience allows for heave, roll, pitch and sway to create realistic motion that is synced with the on-screen film."

Show control formed the beating heart of the experience for efficient guest flow as Gellerman explained: “The control system enables the creatives to accurately place all 

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