How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people’s lives step by step

Movie World

The dark room, the shaking seats, the unnamed exclamations or shouts from time to time, and the satisfied leaving after the end. Don’t think about it, the above content is what I get when watching a 4D theater or a 4D theater.

How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

Coinciding with the holiday, I tried a lot of 4D interactive theaters when I was playing outside, and I couldn’t help but be curious about the birth and development process of 4D theaters.

After consulting relevant information, I found that the original 4D movies that stimulate other senses than vision and hearing are not products developed by using modern technology according to user needs, but have clues in the early development of film art a hundred years ago, and then continue to try the result of.

If you also want to understand the development of 4D theater, you may wish to continue reading.

The first film to interfere with the five senses

If one were to trace the earliest film that used off-site factors to influence the viewing experience, it would probably be “Lilac Time‎”, released in 1928.

This poignant romance, based on a Broadway play, deepens the audience’s impression of the movie by pouring a clove-smelling perfume into the theater’s ventilation system at the time of the title.

However, this move will also raise a series of problems. First of all, the audience will be distracted by the smell, making it difficult for them to fully immerse themselves in the plot of the film.

Secondly, due to the differences in the size of the cinemas, each time the film is played in different theaters, the amount of perfume needs to be adjusted to achieve an appropriate level.

In the end, it is difficult for the human nose to switch between smells quickly, and with the “invasion” of perfume smells, the smell will become extremely chaotic, and it may be unknown whether the smell is still fragrant at that time.

How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

As for the changes in body sensation, the disaster movie “Earthquake‎” released in 1974 should be mentioned.

The producers of this disaster film, which depicts the destruction of much of Los Angeles, California, due to an earthquake, created a large loudspeaker in order to give viewers an authentic earthquake experience.

While this kind of sound successfully attracted audiences into the theater, it also caused damage to the theater venue due to its low-frequency vibration, and even had an accident of falling plaster fragments from the ceiling, which has advantages and disadvantages.

The prototype of 4D theater

If responses through smells and air vibrations weren’t enough to fully engage the audience, the technology, called Sensorama (Immersive Multisensory), launched in 1962, hopes to draw the audience’s attention through activities that effectively encompass all senses. attracted to the screen.

This technology is also considered to be one of the first virtual reality (VR) systems.

Created by Multimedia specialist Morton Heilig, this mechanical device is loaded with stereoscopic color displays, fans, scent transmitters, stereos and motion seats to simulate the operating environment and create a fun, realistic experience.

How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

According to the blueprints now preserved, Sensorama can provide viewers with stereoscopic 3D images (though the 3D effects of the 1960s are still intriguing), body tilts, stereophonic sound and installations that match the wind and smell triggered by the short film.

Heilig also produced five short films for the presentation. However, due to the age, there is not much content to be searched, among which the record of simulating driving a motorcycle through the streets of New York is more comprehensive.

Viewers will watch the scenery along the way through the screen, feel the oncoming wind and build a real experience of the streets of New York by simulating the noise and smell of the city.

How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

Personally, though, I’m somewhat averse to the use of chemicals to recreate car exhaust, gasoline, and pizza joint smells.

The earliest 4D movies

If the “Lilac Time” and “Earthquake” mentioned just now are not strictly interactive movies, then this short film “Sensorium” that appeared in 1984 and was only screened at the Six Flags theme park in Baltimore It may be regarded as the world’s first 4D movie for commercial performance.

How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

This 4D film, consisting of a multi-track sound system, bodysonic seats and Scent-a-Vision (a system that releases scents in sync with the film), will perform mechanized movements according to the development of the film’s plot. Jitter, stereo surround and trigger winds and aromas enhance the audience’s viewing experience.

But the story is very old-fashioned, which is to lead the audience to appreciate the entertainment activities in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. Perhaps the purpose of this short film is more to promote this set of projection equipment.

4D theaters gradually become the standard of amusement parks

With the increasing maturity of technology and the improvement of audience acceptance, the proportion of 4D movies and theaters in amusement parks and movie theaters is gradually increasing.

Starring international superstar Michael Jackson, co-produced by George Lucas (“Star Wars” trilogy and “Indiana Jones”), and directed by Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather” “Dracula‎”) ‎”The classic sci-fi short was screened at Disney’s theme parks in 1986.

In his nearly 12 years of “service” career, he has been widely praised by the audience.

This 17-minute short film vividly interprets the story of Captain EO and the crew of the spaceship through laser lasers, smoke effects and star lighting effects that fill the theater, and conquers it with its excellent plot and superb 4D performance. Dear viewers.

Subsequent 4D small theaters adapted from popular IPs are also gradually landing in major amusement parks. Among them, Universal Studios and Disneyland have more IPs, and the subject matter is also wider than other theme parks.

Like the well-known “The Terminator”, “Transformers”, “Spider-Man”, “Marvel Superheroes” or DC Comics-themed 4D interactive theaters are star-like existences in every amusement park.

Whether it’s following Jack Sparrow to the high seas to find Davy Jones’ treasure, navigating and battling the sea; or following in the footsteps of the Autobots, fighting the Decepticons for fire through obstacles in the “Three Hundred Rounds”; or incarnate Minions move from level to level, witnessing the sincere affection between Gru and his adopted daughters.

How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

This exciting and happy facility not only satisfies the vigorous energy and curiosity of the children, but also allows tourists like me who cannot get happiness through roller coasters and pendulum clocks to find the meaning of entering the amusement park.

No longer can I only be a “clothing rack” or a “water dispenser manager” at the exit, this time I can also join in and experience the unparalleled joy brought by technology.


How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

Although the playing experience of the 4D theater is more peaceful and pleasant than other entertainment facilities, its shortcomings are also very obvious: except for some IPs, the value of the game will be greatly reduced after a few rides.

Although the current 4D theater is limited by venue and design, it is impossible to quickly change IP content or viewing experience.

How 4D Theater, the predecessor of VR games, entered people's lives step by step

But maybe there will be more interesting ideas or ideas in the near future, allowing tourists to choose their own routes or experience different IPs in the same venue?

If you also have a theater IP that you want to try in your mind, or what 4D theaters you have ridden that are worth recommending, you might as well write it in the comment area and discuss it with everyone.

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