PLACEText: Alistair Beattie

While all of this was going on, the rest of the Chromasoma team was producing concept drawings and computer visualisations of the environments that the action was going to take place in, and simultaneously developing logos, signage and other graphic components for the space where the chairs were going to be deployed. There were a total of 6 spaces designed in all, including a wild west scene, a beach scene and several other fantasy spaces that made up the “Dream Highway”.

Chromasoma teamed up with creative partners Digital Ammo for this project, they were the principal character animators and were also responsible for the motion path that the ride follows. They were justifiably nervous of the short deadline (3 months) but worked fantastically throughout to overcome problems and suggest clever solutions wherever humanly possible.

As the final script was being recorded, and Chromasoma was designing the look of the characters and some of the sets, Digital Ammo worked with Park Avenue on an animatic that would be the guide for the whole project.

One of the most unusual aspects of the project was that the content of the film was strongly dictated by the abilities of the chair to make people feel immersed. Both the Chromasoma and Digital Ammo teams have plenty of experience of “conventional” film making but this was something very new for all of us and we had to rethink all the strategies to come up with something that was perfect for this highly specific usage.

Digital Ammo, with character animator Petria Whelan using Softimage XSI v1.5/beta v2 and a first draught of the voices produced several animatics, which defined the movement of the camera through the CG environments, the movement of the characters and the position of special props used in the movie. The environments and character animations were literally wrapped around the motion path that we’d developed for the chair. Counter-intuitive but very successful.

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