Moonraker and award-winning production company Talesmith joined forces as ‘Flyride Films’ to deliver this incredibly ambitious project for the new visitor’s centre at Changbaishan National Park in China.
Commissioned by P.E.L Creative we were tasked with creating a pre-show and 5-minute film for the Brogent iRide system at the park, a fully immersive and sensory ‘flying ride’ simulation which takes the viewer on a journey through the beautiful Changabaishan National Park in Jilin Province.
The ride system suspends the audience, feet dangling, in front of a 4K, 60-foot half-dome screen. Special effects like wind, mist, sound and scent combine with the chair’s sensory motions and our striking visual effects and custom VR technology for a truly immersive experience.
The film follows a Manchu Falconer’s bird of prey as it soars across lush wide-open plains, races through rocky ravines and weaves through dense forests, eventually reaching a magnificent lake at the summit. As the falcon sweeps through stunning scenery and over the varied wildlife of the expansive area, the audience experience the spectacular Changbaishan mountain in all its seasons. In an area prone to bad weather we wanted to give our audience the opportunity to see the area at its best, so it was very important for us to show the beauty of the landscape through the course of a year.
In one of the most technical projects we have ever undertaken we encountered some interesting challenges along the way.
One such challenge was creating a film for a dome theatre – we needed to find a suitable camera to take on the job! As we were shooting in 8k for a 180-degree ‘fisheye’ field of vision we needed to have a camera with the biggest sensor possible. After much testing we decided upon the Red Weapon with a Vista Vision Sensor. Very few of them exist in the world! A ‘fisheye’ lens is naturally problematic to track. Our 3D team used specialist software to track the camera allowing us to seamlessly blend computer generated elements with the real-life footage.
Another key challenge for our team was rendering footage for a 180-degree field of view projection. As the camera sees everything from the ground to the sky we had to render everything within the same field of view. The file sizes our team worked with were huge. Given the size of the output we invested in a new GPU render farm to process all the 3D assets and visual effects.
Shooting, tracking, animating and rendering in a completely unique, 180-degree pipeline was a huge learning curve for the team.
We used aerial photogrammetry and photography to capture the terrain so we were able to reference and precisely match details of the landscape including species of trees and flowers native to that area. The use of drones was particularly useful in capturing areas unsafe to fly across in a helicopter such as the waterfall. We were able to build incredibly intricate and accurate 3D models from the data which gives a unique level of detail and authenticity to an area otherwise inaccessible to the viewer.
Flyride Changbaishan has been hugely successful, wowing visitors with a unique, fully immersive and sensory perspective on an environment rich in natural history.