Quint talks briefly about the motion chair theater experience with D-Box VP Guy Marcoux!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I have a habit of going to see most D-Box released films with my buddies. Austin’s Galaxy Highland Theater was the first theater in the country to go entirely digital and were also the first in America, I believe, to invest in D-Box. They’re a bit ahead of the curve technology-wise. I love the William Castle aspects to D-Box, which is essentially just a moving chair. The idea is to add another level of involvement for the audience in a film by having your ritzy, more spacious and comfy big red chair integrated with full motion (it can sway, move backwards and forwards, rise and fall) and programmed in time with the movie. For example, my favorite D-Box encoded movie was Inception. During the zero-G Joseph Gordon-Levitt scenes the chair would seem to float in the action and jar you during the fight. I’ve had some poor D-Box experiences (Prince of Persia, but that was a horrible experience by itself, and The Final Destination 3-D come to mind), but when the right film is paired with this experience (like Inception) it’s just a really fun add-on to the theatrical experience. My favorite thing I’ve seen D-Box is the Tron Legacy trailer. The lightcycles plus D-Box equals happy geek smile. Can’t wait for the full movie that way! Anyway, I was able to shoot a few questions over to D-Box VP of Marketing, Gary Marcoux via email and thought I’d take the a little time to spotlight this experience. Enjoy
Quint: Where did D-Box come from? I know some amusement parks have used similar programmed seats for special attractions, but who's idea was it to code full movies to interact with the audience member's chairs?
Guy Marcoux: D-BOX is based in Montreal, Canada. About 15 years ago, we were a manufacturer of high-end speakers and subwuffers for Home Entertainment. The idea came about when customers would put 2 or 3 subs around their chairs to watch movies. They felt it was more immersive. So at that point, the idea to conceive a motion system that would enhance the movie experience started to take shape. It took 5 years of R&D to develop the hardware and software that would generate accurate, precise and smooth motion effects to the level we were looking for. Unlike the hydraulics systems you'll find in theme parks, D-BOX uses brushless electro-mechanical motors. They're like little robots we call, motion actuators that replicate as close as possible, everything you'd feel in real life.
Quint: I really enjoy the D-Box experience. It's an added layer of involvement in certain types of movies... for instance the gravity-less sequences in Inception really put a smile on my face. How do you guys determine what movie gets the D-Box treatment? Do you have deals with certain studios?
Guy Marcoux: In order for D-BOX to create Motion Code for a specific movie, we need to have the studio's support. Thus far, Warner Bros, Disney, Sony, Universal, Lionsgate, Focus Features, Summit and Overture have all agreed to enhance some of their movies with D-BOX Motion Code. The genre of movies we enhance will vary from Action, Sci-fi, Animated films, Thrillers, Horror, etc. That's why on the Home Theatre side of the business we've encoded over 1000 movies to date.
Q: How much input do filmmakers have in the D-Box coding? I've seen some movies (like Prince of Persia) that seemed to just have a few slapped together moments that didn't sync up, but then other films (like Potter and Inception) that really did feel like a thoughtful hand was behind the interaction.
Guy Marcoux: All movies that our motion designers work on have the same process. D-BOX fits in the post-production of the movie at this point. Once we get the content, our designers will create, frame by frame, all motion effects based on what's happening on the screen and what they hear from the sound track. All motion effects go thru a quality control process with each studio to make sure it blends well with the storytelling and the emotions intended for the movie. As we continue grow, we hope the added dimension of D-BOX will be thought of and created during the creative process of the film. In a year, we've done 19 films since we've equipped our first theatre with our MFX systems in April 2009.
Quint: Is there an extreme you guys won't go to out of fear of being viewed as a gimmick? I personally can't wait to see a horror filmmaker really take advantage of a moving chair to get some extra jolts from an audience. I wouldn't be afraid to embrace the William Castle-esque abilities of your technology.
Guy Marcoux: We always try to replicate, as close as possible, what you feel in real life. However, we¹re also are trying to match the intended emotions filmmakers are trying to evoke. For instance in a horror movie, motion effects would be more intense as we're trying to respect the sense of fear. We're trying to stay away from sensations that would resemble theme park rides. We want to blend in as much as possible with the movie and not distract moviegoers from it.
Quint: What's your personal favorite film that has been D-Box coded and why is it your favorite?
Guy Marcoux: I would have to say that Inception is way up there. First, it's a great story. And as far is D-BOX is concerned, the movie gives a very wide spectrum of motion effects. We're able to create superb sensations throughout the movie. From gravity-less scenes, to car chases, gun fights, under water scenes, free fall sequences, and slow motion sequences, you find a great range of how D-BOX can add another dimension to a movie.
Quint: How many theaters are D-BOX equipped at the moment? Are you expanding?
Guy Marcoux: We're currently in 30 theatres worldwide mainly in the USA and Canada, but also in Japan now as well. This growth happened in a year and we only expect to pick up speed and reach the 100 theatre mark by mid 2011 if all goes well. We also expect to have steady content from studios as we've have up to now.
Quint: There's a home version, right? I've noticed some Blu-Rays come with D-Box coding. I've never had the home D-Box experience. How close to the theatrical experience is it?
Guy Marcoux: We've been producing Home Theatre motion system for 10 years now. Our Motion Code is embedded in over 100 Blu-ray releases so far and D-BOX customers can download over 1000 motion codes in DVD and Blu-ray format. The D-BOX experience is the same except for the fact that you're sitting in a Home Theatre recliner in the comfort of your home.
Quint: Has there been any hesitancy from the studios or filmmakers in coming on board with this new technology? If so, have you been able to turn them around?
Guy Marcoux: Being a new technology, we needed to prove the business model first and that moviegoers would be willing to pay a premium for the experience. It was not an easy task to get things started as the number of theatres equipped was limited, but now it's much easier. I believe we've proven that we deliver a compelling experience and that it¹s a win-win model for studios, exhibitors and moviegoers. We have a satisfaction rate from moviegoers over 90%, we are getting content on a regular basis and we keep adding theatres equipped with our technology, so the consistency is there.
Quint: What titles are coming up that you're excited about?
Guy Marcoux: After Inception, we have commitment for The Expendables from Lionsgate and Tron from Disney. New movie announcements are to be expected soon.
I’m curious to see where the company goes from here. No disrespect to the hard-working D-Box encoders, but after Inception they have to step up their game. Like I mention in the interview, I’d like them to increase their involvement with filmmakers as I feel there’s a lot of creative integration of motion being missed. The horror example is perfect. I can see a jolting and moving chair really adding to the suspense… so far, The Final Destination and A Nightmare On Elm Street both were pretty lame. But it’s a technology with a lot of potential and, for my money, I get more value out of the D-Box up-charge than the 3-D up-charge. You can find more information at the D-Box website! -Quint firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Me On Twitter
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Aug. 21, 2010, 3:22 p.m. CST
this is getting retarded..so now for movies we need glasses and seatbelts because stories and fx are getting shittier and shittier.
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:24 p.m. CST
This sounds distracting.
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:25 p.m. CST
someting like this might have Kept Harry awake during Inception
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST
doesnt everyone just do the star trek turbulence thing anyway? i do.
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST
except there's no roller coaster.
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST
company that enhances scripts and directing.<p>Also, does the D-Box kill bedbugs?
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:45 p.m. CST
Mann's Chinese if your feet touch the floor. Sitting Indian style while at mann's. Also it's a ripoff on most movies because it's really only good for 1st person experiences and when characters are on planes or boats. It barely turned on during last Harry potter except to lean over Harry's shoulder while he reads something. It, like 3D, makes most sense in 1st person videogames. Give me the ps3 version. Also make some Bluetooth sofa kickers that people can toss in the corners of their furniture and it keys off the rumblestick feature.
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:50 p.m. CST
Just don't see it ever being something that most people will have access to. Digital, IMAX and 3-D are available to most people anywhere near a large city. D-Box, not so much. I actually like the idea of having a couple D-Box chairs in a home theater space more than a public theater. Probably not very cost affective, though.
Aug. 21, 2010, 3:56 p.m. CST
Just three was all it needed.
Aug. 21, 2010, 6:58 p.m. CST
Aug. 21, 2010, 7:05 p.m. CST
because seeing in the third dimension is something that never happens in real life, and sitting in a moving chair that reacts to things around you happens all the friggen time. Perfectly good logic. Flawless. Moving along.
Aug. 21, 2010, 7:06 p.m. CST
it is fun.
Aug. 21, 2010, 7:22 p.m. CST
Are these moving seats distracting to people in the regular seats? What if you're like sitting way in the back... are you going to see these seats moving every which way, which would really take you out of the movie...
Aug. 21, 2010, 10:17 p.m. CST
Shit is way too expensive! Regular theater tickets here cost $12-14. With 3-D the premium makes it $15-16. D-Box alone ups the premium to $20!!! I tried it out once for Sherlock Holmes. And it was fun, sort of like force feedback and rumble in your video game controllers. Hideo Kojima uses it well in the MGS games, and so does Silent Hill, or ICO when you hold the girls hand and feel her heartbeat, or most videogames where you get shot or you're hurt, or your car is scratching against ther ailings. Cool in that sense of immersion... But D-Box is not at all worth the money. And it especially sucks if the movie does not have moments to take advantage of it, thus it's not really a great match to all films, unlike 3-D which still gives you a 3-D effect regardless of what you're watching. Drop the price of D-box, and I'll try it out again. So long as the price remains so damn high, I'm never going to bother paying for it again.
Aug. 21, 2010, 10:31 p.m. CST
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Aug. 22, 2010, 2:21 a.m. CST
The entire theater has the special seats not just a row. I was in one of these theaters for Iron Man 2. All it does is just tilt forward, like if Iron Man was flying forward. It's kinda weird.
Aug. 22, 2010, 10:26 a.m. CST
It reads like one.
Aug. 22, 2010, 11:08 a.m. CST
by Robots In Das Guys
It reads like you're bashing them for Inception, rather than praising them. I know you meant it as praise but it comes off the other way.
Aug. 22, 2010, 9:59 p.m. CST
Pay the bratty kid behind you in the theater a couple of bucks to kick your chair at what he deems to be appropriate moments in the film. He may even dump the remains of his Coke over your head for free whenever a character gets wet, etc.
Aug. 23, 2010, 6:55 a.m. CST
This article being posted will result in you and harry getting free home d-box chairs. Admit it and it will justify this awful shilling of an unnecessary gimmick.
Aug. 23, 2010, 9:21 a.m. CST
so what? Will these D-Bag seats add another $5 to already too fucking high ticket prices?
Aug. 23, 2010, 10:06 a.m. CST
I've been lucky enough to own a D-Box three seater from Fortress Seating since March. My wife and I love what it can add to to a film. It's not a gimmick! People are blown away by it when I give them a demo. However, I know it's not for everyone's tastes. Anyway, I can't wait to check out Inception with D-Box when it comes out on BD
Aug. 23, 2010, 12:12 p.m. CST
because i really, really want to pay the extra $20 ticket charge for the extra nausea and puking privileges.
Aug. 23, 2010, 12:31 p.m. CST
I want to feel those bullets!
Aug. 23, 2010, 1:27 p.m. CST
Am I the only one that finds that kind of funny on a motion-chair?
Aug. 24, 2010, 11:26 a.m. CST
enough to cause nausea or spill a drink with a lid on it (in a cup holder).
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