Posted by: fastforward on Aug 02, 2011
4D cinema. Yes, really. My home town hasn’t even managed to get a 3D cinema yet and the world has already moved ahead. Advancements in technology have pushed entertainment companies out of their comfort zones in order to keep their customers interested and meet their craving for realistic experiences in a digital age. In a world where film piracy is common place and people may prefer to watch the latest movie online, cinema companies have to keep innovating in order to get their customers to watch their films on the big screen in the future.
While practically every second film out of Hollywood is now released in 3D, some companies are already moving beyond this to give the viewers an even more immersing experience. Let’s say you’re watching Kung Fu Panda 2 or the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The 3D film would make the characters come alive and seemingly appear just in front of your face (if you can stand to wear those annoying 3D glasses for two hours). In the 4D experience, your seat would punch you every time Po received a kick from a villain and bubbles would pop on your face as you witnessed the fireworks display. You would be able to smell Captain Jack Sparrow in the close-up shots and feel the spray of the ocean during the characters’ time at sea.
Ok, it’s not technically 4D – that’s just the term they’re using to describe 3D cinema with seats that tilt, vibrate, rock and fly into the air and equipment which sprays the audience with anything from smoke to fragrance, water or bubbles.
While major theme parks have offered visitors similar products for a while (our very own Gold Reef City even has a similar attraction) and niche companies like Canadian D-box are already manufacturing the type of motion-synchronised seats needed for these 4D cinema experiences, a company in South Korea called CGV has taken the idea one step further by integrating 4D with mainstream movies and traditional cinemas. They adapted seventeen normal cinemas with 4D equipment and choreographed movement, smells and environmental effects to correspond with mainstream blockbusters.
Ticket sales have been booming – and a movie ticket costs around 18 000 South Korean Won (approximately R115). Despite the increased ticket price, their 4D cinemas have almost double the amount of audience members than traditional cinemas do.
The cinemas have been so successful, they’ve even expanded internationally, opening 4D cinemas in China and Mexico. Their future plans include opening 4D cinemas in areas such as the US, Latin America, Russia, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia. They are also opening the world’s first 4D programming lab in Los Angeles at the end of this month, and working towards collaborating with movie producers so that 4D will become a more mainstream alternative.
Let’s hope my home town skips 3D and goes straight to 4D, shall we? Although, on second thought, do I want to be able to smell Captain Jack Sparrow?