Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi wows guests with the help of AV and show control support from Electrosonic

Posted: 21 October 2019

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Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi, the world’s first-ever Warner Bros. branded indoor theme park, transports guests to the lands of their favorite Super Heroes and Animation characters via interactive family-friendly rides, authentically themed lands and immersive experiences.

Located on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the 1.65-million sq. ft. (153,290 sq. m) park is owned and was developed by Miral Asset Management and Warner Bros. Consumer Projects.

Electrosonic worked with Thinkwell Group, the Los Angeles based global design and production agency that led the park’s design and attraction production, to provide complete parkwide audio and video and show control solutions.

According to Corrado Campanelli, who was one of the project leads on the project delivery team for Thinkwell, the park’s attractions proved to be a significant undertaking. “There are over 20 rides that include many types of projection, 3D 360-degree cinema, a 3D dark ride, a 3D interactive ride, and huge dome projections. Select rides also feature large-scale architectural projection mapping as well as performance stages and BGM all around the park seamlessly integrated into the show set.”

Warner Bros. Cinema Spectacular show, which screens in the Warner Bros. Plaza, is believed to be “the biggest permanent projection-mapped show in the world with the ceiling and building facades mapped with scenes from celebrated Warner Bros. movies,” says Paul Kent, Senior Consultant from Electrosonic UK.

“It’s a remarkable achievement,” Campanelli notes, “with 37 projectors covering the facades and ceiling of the plaza as well as over 160 speakers integrated in the scenery to support the show.”  Projector placement was key in order to maintain a consistent pixel size of about 5mm over different distances and objects in the plaza.

“For every attraction, show control programmers spent many hours on site working with the creative team to sort out timing, the functioning of every device and the triggering of every cue,” points out Jim Maddux, Senior Commissioning Engineer from Electrosonic Burbank.

Batman: Knight Flight uses a moving robotic arm for the dark ride vehicle within a series of dome structures. Armed with positional information from the ride manufacturer, Electrosonic’s on-site software engineering ensures that the video content and fog and lighting effects trigger at precisely the right moments so no one misses any part of the experience.

Electrosonic devised creative solutions for many of the park’s attractions, including Justice League: Warworld Attacks. In this dark ride, trackless vehicles travel two different ride paths within the same fleet of vehicles.  Electrosonic devised a system based on the vehicle position information received by the ride system, which triggers the correct media files for on-board and off-board to maintain extremely accurate synchronization.

For Ani-Mayhem, in which guests hop in vehicles and score points by “scanning parcels” in various scenes from classic Looney Tunes, Electrosonic provided the projection studies and engineering as well as interfacing with an integrated gaming engine and show control system.  

The Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure is a flume ride with eight passenger boats surrounded by a variety of show elements, including projection of a 220 degree screen, audio, lighting and animated figures and props triggered by beam-break sensors pointed across the flume. The show control system takes the triggers and, based on where boats are in each scene, starts the video projection, animated figures and audio. 

Electrosonic supported many additional attractions, including Scooby-Doo: The Museum of Mysteries, Acme Factory, the 3D ride Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis, and the live interactive show Meet Bugs! (And Daffy).

A Project of Unparalleled Size and Scope

“There’s a real sense of achievement working on a theme park of this size and scope, which the Theme Park Insider recognized as the best theme park 2019,” says UK-based Chris Mothersdale, Head of Projects for Electrosonic.  “It was a challenging gig but one that spoke to Electrosonic’s organizational skills, technical expertise, dedicated staff and understanding of the client’s end goal.” At times as many as 100 people were on site, including 13 programmers.

“Having Electrosonic on the project was a huge asset because they brought to the table their experience and expertise with a wide range of specialists spread all over the world,” says Campanelli.  “On a project the scale of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi it was essential to have a lot of resources that have handled projects of this type before, to organize and coordinate the incredible sequence of events that needed to happen in order to bring it to completion within the ambitious deadlines we were given.”

To give an idea of the massive amounts of equipment required for the project Electrosonic built and tested 92 47U racks in the UK before shipping them on site.  There are an estimated 75 7th Sense and 50 Brightsign media servers throughout the park, more than 140 Christie and Barco projectors with custom lenses and a large complement of Meyer Sound, JBL, QSC and Renkus-Heinz speakers.  Typically, projectors and speakers were concealed in the attractions so guests can enjoy seamless, immersive experiences.   Medialon Manager show control systems, the brain of every attraction, reside on Smart Monkey’s ISAAC hardware scheduling platform and control audio, video, lighting, props, effects and fountains.

To ensure smooth day-to-day operations of the park and its attractions Electrosonic trained park technicians on the use and maintenance of all systems.  Following Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi’s first anniversary, the technology continues to run smoothly and issue-free.

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