We have been working with Chessington World of Adventure for a number of years providing show control automation on some of their live shows such as Pandamonium, Penguins of Madagascar Live – Operation Cheesy Dibbles and Madagascar Live! Prepare to Party. We have also been involved in providing the show control solutions on attractions such as Curse of the Lost Tomb, Haunting of the Hollows, and Mystery of Hocus Pocus Halls to name a few examples.
Curse of the Lost Tomb, Haunting in the Hollows and Mystery of Hocus Pocus Halls are all programmed using VenueMagic SC+ before being exported on to a DMX and Multi Audio Stand alone SD Playout unit which is triggered by a button at each zone of the themed scare maze attraction. The stand alone unit was used for its reliability over a computer based playout system as it is more compact, robust, uses solid state memory and because of it’s 16 mono (8 stereo) audio outputs. Although in theory the attraction could have been run with a single audio output the benefit of the multi-audio output comes with the line batching process and not having people waiting around for too long before enjoying the attraction. By having each zone on a separate output it meant shorter lines as the next group of thrill seekers could enter the first zone as soon as the last group had left zone 2 or 3 (of 6). By using trigger buttons in each zone it also meant it didn’t need a technician to babysit or launch any of the scenes in any of the zones – this was all done by the performers pressing a discreetly placed button when required to trigger the scene before returning to it’s original state ready for the next group.
Hocus Pocus Halls presented an additional challenge. Unlike Haunting in the Hollows Hocus Pocus Halls was set in a building and not only included lighting and sound but video projection in the form of projection mapping too. After careful thought and consideration it was decided that the attraction would be split into 2 sections – the first being controlled by a stand alone HD Video / DMX / Audio SD player and the second being controlled by a more basic DMX/Audio stand alone unit. This not only helped with line batching it also meant simplier programming, less cabling and a quicker install as there was no longer a need to get through thick stone wall with cables.
VenueMagic UK were also involved with past shows at Chessington World of Adventure including Madagascar Live – Prepare to Party and Pumpkin School Of Rock. VenueMagic Show Control was chosen to run the audio and DMX lighting control on these shows as it meant the technician was then free to concentrate on mixing the backing track and live vocal microphones without having to worry about getting character voices in the correct places each time. Computer playback was chosen over a standalone playout unit as a technician was required to run the audio microphones for the show anyway – so there wasn’t a saving of time or technican resources to be had by using a standalone unit.
Each audio backing track was added onto an individual timeline within VenueMagic where the lighting was then programmed allowing accurate beat syncing, special effects and full control over every aspect of the lighting show. Once each individual song was created they were then placed into a timeline in order so that all the technician had to do was press the start button when required. The advantages of pre programming the lighting with the audio backing track was it meant everything was identical for every show – no missed or late cues and no changes to the design without consent.
Within the shows all the characters voices, the lighting and the special effects such as air dancers and streamers are all programmed within timelines as well as the pre show music and announcements in the zone.