STAR TREK: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton

The Borg Invasion Comes to Life in 4D
Las Vegas, Nevada

In 2004, Electrosonic provided the show control, projection and audio-visual systems for the Borg Invasion 4D addition to STAR TREK: The Experience. Presented by Paramount Parks at the Las Vegas Hilton, it was the first attraction to use 2K digital cinema projection in 3D. The show officially closed on September 1, 2008.

STAR TREK: The Experience allowed visitors to tour a futuristic research facility, but while doing so, the drones of the Borg Collective attempted to capture and assimilate them. The presentation was a clever mixture of live action, electronic projection and special effects.

Star Trek

A pre-show area provided the briefing from The Doctor, which was presented on a high definition screen, and was supported by live action and thunderous sound effects. As the attempted Borg Invasion started, visitors moved to the transporter, a 48-seat auditorium with a 35 feet × 20 feet (10.7m × 6m) main screen, and a 20 feet × 15 feet (6m × 4.5m) ceiling screen. Both screens were 3D, requiring the audience to wear polarizing glasses.

As the show progressed, the audience not only saw outstanding imagery on the screens, but were subjected to a range of physical effects. The entire floor moved, and every individual seat was fitted with probes that poked the guests back, and provided equally unexpected air blasts, all programmed to enhance the feeling of assimilation by the Borg. A 23kW 12-channel sound system and programmed lighting effects completed the assault on the senses!

Star Trek

Image Sources and Projection
Borg Invasion was the first STAR TREK film production that had been shot digitally, and the quality of the original material was retained right through the presentation chain. The film was produced by Paramount in association with Threshold Digital Research Labs of Santa Monica, California.

The main show used two DVS HS2U-200HD high definition servers. These retained the original images in uncompressed form, resulting in exceptional fidelity on the screen. Projection was by two Christie CP2000 digital cinema projectors. These used the 2K DLP cinema chip from Texas Instruments which was new at the time, with a resolution of 2048 × 1080, and contrast better than 1700:1. For the Las Vegas installation the projectors were fitted with 4.5kW xenon arc lamps, and with custom designed lenses to match the auditorium dimensions.

The pre-show, and the ceiling screen within the main auditorium, used Electrosonic MS9200P High Definition video servers as image sources. Projection for the ceiling screen was by two Sanyo XF-20 projectors with diverter mirrors, concealed in the auditorium set just in front of the main screen. Projection for the pre-show was by a Sanyo PLV70 WXGA projector on to an 8 feet (2.43 m) rear projection screen.
Star Trek

Effects, Audio and Show Control
Overall show control programming and cues for the entire attraction was by Electrosonic ESCAN, via an Electrosonic serial FrEND and four digital FrENDs.  ESCAN also managed the startup and close down control each day of all display devices within the facility.  ESCAN also communicated with the facility PLC, which managed the Touch Screen Panel View Operator Control Consoles.

Electrosonic is proud to have been a leading team member in the realization of Borg Invasion 4D, an attraction that really represented a step-change in technique; and one which also required strong project management to realize in a very tight construction schedule.