“There’s a lot of knowledge that Evolve brings to the table that really helped us along the way in terms of solving a lot of challenges on site. “
Brian Allen, Illuminarium Executive V.P. of Technology and Content
Illuminarium may be the cure for wanderlust for those more bound by budget and circumstances.
Executive V.P. of Technology and Content, Brian Allen, calls it the “democratization of the world’s most extraordinary experiences” when he describes Illuminarium. Illuminarium features a fully digital sensory experience placing viewers in the wilds of Africa surrounded by exotic animals in their natural habitats and panoramas of the African landscape. Allen says future cinematic experiences like a trip to outer space and XXX are in the queue. Its physical bones located in Atlanta consist of a large, converted warehouse equipped with state-of-the-art projectors and audio equipment that cast imagery 360 degrees around the viewer as well as on the ceiling and floor with coordinating surround sound. Beyond sight and sound, haptics in the floor creates tactile sensation that allow participants to feel what might be happening on the screen like a herd of elephants running through the African plains. “At our core, we are a communal experience. So, you don’t have to put on any goggles or wear a computer on your back. You can walk into our space, and we are fully projection mapped with 22-foot high walls, and complete mapping on the floors as well. We really aim to transport our audiences to a different place on earth or someplace off of earth that we dream up,” explains Allen.
Early Evolve Partnership Provides the Solution to Lower Initial Capital Costs
Evolve’s new Long Term Lease Program was born as a result of the new partnership with Illuminarium, allowing creators to preserve capital and instead apply it to creating content and developing additional venues rather than paying for expensive equipment up front.
Pioneering a project of this magnitude and scope meant securing the most technologically sophisticated equipment. Allen ended up consulting Panasonic in search of a what he calls a holistic solution for leasing the biggest ticket items needed to execute the Illuminarium concept. It was Panasonic that introduced Allen to Evolve Technologies which up to this time either sold equipment or rented for the short term. Evolve’s new Long Term Lease Program was born as a result of the new partnership with Illuminarium, allowing creators to preserve capital and instead apply it to creating content and developing additional venues rather than paying for expensive equipment up front. “I was very excited to be a part of a project of this magnitude,” says Brian Macauto a 20-year veteran in the AV field who was brought in by Evolve to handle and manage the huge Illuminarium installation to work in tandem with Illuminarium’s Brian Allen. “Evolve has a lot of extensive experience with extremely high-end video equipment not to just rent it to a customer as a box that they take over, but also we do training on the projectors and Disguise media servers and all the other equipment in the Evolve line up. We have a technical team of experts who have a deep understanding of this technology and how its implemented in solutions like this,” explains Macauto. Because of the enormity and complexity of the project and installation, Evolve placed Macauto right on sight at Illuminarium to ensure the equipment installation went smoothly. “The reason Evolve has been so important in the process is because they’re here and sharing the lab with us. We have immediate access if anything comes up with any number of pieces of equipment. There’s a lot of knowledge that Evolve brings to the table that really helped us along the way in terms of solving a lot of challenges on site,” says Allen who explains that there are 130 million pixels active in any given moment on the surfaces inside the warehouse.
Evolve’s Long Term Lease Solves the Issue of Equipment Obsolescence
While Evolve’s new Long Term Lease program allowed capital allocation to go to content rather than equipment, it also solved the problem of rapid equipment obsolescence. “Without the leasing option, this project would have been possible but just not as easy. If you buy equipment, you’re on the hook for projectors four years from now on that don’t necessarily cut it anymore or need to be replaced or are breaking down for whatever reason. We’d rather be on a leasing model so that we can have that kind of maintenance support. Also, after the lease is up, we can upgrade and refresh the technology to keep the venue upgraded,” says Allen. Macauto adds, “They needed a large variety of top-of-the-line laser projectors from Panasonic and a lot of Disguise hardware which are media servers to drive the content to those projectors. Because we only want to work with the top end technology, we make sure that the solution we’re offering to a customer is not going to be hindered by sub-par systems. When we’re working with Panasonic laser projectors, we know that we’re offering the brightest most reliable projectors for the customer’s specific needs.”
Evolve Provides the Holistic Approach Illuminarium Was Looking for
Allen enthusiastically recommends Evolve Technologies to other companies looking for high end equipment to either buy, rent, or lease for the long term because of the combination of products and services they offer to ensure optimum success. “I think it’s really important to have both have that educational side of things, the service side of things, as well as the actual equipment to backup all of that up,” says Allen referring to the equipment training and instruction that Evolve offers alongside it’s sales/lease and service. “We have a technical team of experts who have a deep understanding of this technology and how it’s implemented in solutions like this. So, we are in a very unique position to not only supply the equipment but also support the customer technically, pre and post installation. We go out of our way, bending over backward, to support the customer with whatever they need to make sure their installation runs smoothly,” adds Macauto.
Evolve Committed to the Journey as Illuminarium Expands
Already Illuminarium founders have publicly announced three new locations for this sensory extravaganza in Miami, Las Vegas, and Chicago.
“We go out of our way, bending over backward, to support the customer with whatever they need to make sure their installation runs smoothly.” Brian Macauto, Evolve Director of Technology
“Right now, when you’re walking through the venue you can trigger experiences like leaving footprints behind you or splashing in a puddle. In the future, we’re looking at more gestural interactions where we can have shows that are running completely in real time, where you’re walking up to one of our media surfaces and actually affecting what you’re seeing on the wall or the floor,” explains Allen. In the next five to seven years, plans are for the development of dozens of Illuminariums all over the world specifically in the Asia Pacific region as well as in cities all around the U.S. With Evolve’s Live Lease Program, the execution of this massive expansion is well within reach. Says Evolve’s Macauto, “I’m really excited to be a part of such a forward-thinking attraction that uses cutting-edge technology to produce a fun, themed attraction.”