Fusion: Theme Park AV and How ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ is Maximizing Storytelling

Theme parks have become a place where fans and guests can travel into new worlds and experience much more than just a thrilling ride. These immersive experiences are getting bigger, more detailed, and are requiring the support of innovative AV installs.

As consumers come to expect more from their theme park visits, where does AV fit into the puzzle to enhance the experience? On today’s episode of the Pro AV Podcast, we get insight from thought leaders at Electrosonic: UK Senior Consultant Paul Kent, and US Vice President Chris Conte.

With consumers setting the tone for what’s next in theme park rides, the pressure is on. “The goal is to give them something that’s better than what they could experience at home,” Kent said.

“It can be a challenge because you have all these fantastic movies and TV shows…then for them to come alive in a theme park, it’s a real-time experience. There are big expectations,” Conte said.

“And no time for post-production like in the movies. The production has to be flawless,” Kent added.

So how does AV offer production teams the ability to pull off these immersive experiences, without getting in the way of the experience? It’s a tight line to walk, because mismanaged AV installations can often pull end-users out of an experience if the installations aren’t added in with direction and intentionality behind the design.

“We’re asked all the time, how we can create a ‘wow’ moment and pull people into the experience. It’s the fun part of designing these attractions, but it can be tricky. Interactivity is a buzz word for designers and creators. They have to create a linear storyline while also considering the throughput of getting an audience through the ride in a few minutes,” Conte said. “Group interactive much more challenging than an individual experience like VR. AR will really be the technology that’s more viable in theme parks.”

That storytelling, at the end of the day, is what makes today’s theme park attraction successful, and AV has to be a welcomed addition to the larger narrative of the ride, exhibit, or park as a whole. Conte, who had the opportunity to visit ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ before opening to the public, had to point to Disneyland’s newest attraction as a perfect example of a successful . “I was blown away by the detail, some of the best art direction I’ve ever seen. When you enter the ride, you are fully immersed into the world of Star Wars. It’s not just the physical pieces. It’s the sound, the lights, the technology. It’s truly amazing,” he said.

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