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Barco - Bobbejaanland, Belgium

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Barco - Bobbejaanland, Belgium
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The Forbidden Caves: an exciting trip in the world’s first all-electric Immersive Tunnel

With the level of interactive technology in our homes advancing at dazzling speed, today’s theme park visitors have higher expectations than ever. In 2015, family amusement park Bobbejaanland in Lichtaart, Belgium, premiered with an attraction that is sure to meet those expectations.

‘The Forbidden Caves’ is a hi-tech 3D media and motion-based dark ride that takes visitors on a thrilling journey into mysterious caves, where danger lurks in every corner. Holovis chose Barco projectors to help create a truly immersive effect that puts the visitors right at the heart of the action.

Innovation, high quality and a turnkey approach

“Parques Reunidos approached us as they wanted to build an ‘Immersive Tunnel’ in Bobbejaanland, like they had done at Movie Park Germany, yet more advanced. The criteria included exceptional quality, a complete turnkey approach and delivery in barely seven months,” recalls Stuart Hetherington, CEO of Holovis Attractions. A world-class player in immersive attraction solutions, Holovis was up to all the requirements. ‘The Forbidden Caves’ was inaugurated right on time. It is the very first ‘Immersive Tunnel’ attraction in the Benelux and the world’s first all-electric solution.

Wrapped around the riders

“In ’Immersive Tunnels’, visitors sit in a motion-based ride car and are completely wrapped in 180 degree visuals,” Hetherington explains. “The ‘full field of vision’ projected 3D media coordinates with the dynamic pitch, roll and heave of the vehicle to create an almost unprecedented illusion of reality.” For Bobbejaanland, Holovis designed a curved, five-meter tall, 12,000 x 10,500 resolution display using seven Barco F85 units which have been seamlessly edge-blended using the Holovis unique auto-alignment technology. Barco’s F85 series projectors ensure the brightness, color accuracy and reliability needed to perform faultlessly in demanding environments like theme parks.

The secret to immersion?

Hetherington: “The secret to immersive attractions is for all the elements to be truly integrated and synced. In this case, the design and integration of the system were done around the creative part, as this was already provided, while the technical elements brought the story to life to really capture and engage the audience. This puts them at the heart of the narrative, so that technology isn’t just being used for the sake of it.”

Another world

“We’re delighted with this groundbreaking attraction,” says Roland Kleve, CEO, Bobbejaanland. “A poll amongst all Bobbejaanland visitors had showed that most of them wanted a dark ride, as it combines adrenaline with discovery, interaction and surprise – something for the entire family to enjoy. Thanks to the highly technical execution of the immersive tunnel – including projection, spatial audio, smell even and the operational benefits of all-electric motion and ride technology –, Holovis managed to create an amazing visitor experience, giving riders the feeling of being in another world.”