I love going to the movies, and ... am ... "mature" enough to remember a time before the explosion of 3D films. 3D films have their share of critics and some are predicting that the cinematic enhancement will go the way of the dodo, citing a drop in popularity for the novelty when moviegoers have the 2D option. I find that 3D films — like sex or mixed drinks — are exciting when done well and disastrous when done poorly.
What is the next motion picture technology that we might expect in the coming years? One innovation currently growing in overseas popularity is “4DX,” which augments the motion picture experience by adding environmental effects such as seat motion, smoke, jets of air/water, strobe lights and even stinky smells.
Check out the short This is 4DX trailer at this link, HERE.
By now, you’re either super excited and looking for a nearby 4Dx theatre, or … you're completely unamused.
If you've been to any Disney amusement park and experienced the Back 2 the Future or Spiderman rides, then you've had, and probably enjoyed, this unique experience on rides that start and end in fewer than ten minutes. Japanese patrons are currently experiencing the blockbuster Iron Man 3 in full 4DX glory, are you ready to have ALL of your senses artificially stimulated for 130 minutes of jerky movements, water sprays, and immersive "aromatic vapours"? If not, don't worry ... U.S. audiences still have some time to wait before the technology hits our shores, and I will definitely give this at least one try when it does.
The technology necessitates that theatres are equipped with special equipment and that the film's existing video and audio tracks add an additional 4DX programming track to trigger the effects during playback. Programming the extra track doesn't always require participation with the studio that produced the film, and can typically take less than a month to do. 4DX has expanded to several parts of South and East Asia, Russia, and Latin America, with Europe and the U.S. in the plans.
In a time when technologies seem to dissuade people from meeting up and doing things together (individual cell phone movie streaming is on the rise), the big movie screen outing is still an enjoyable group experience. In order for 4DX to be something more than just a quick fad, however, the tech must go beyond fast-paced shock and surprise — and fart smells. They'll need to deeply collaborate with the film industry to find more creative and subtle ways to immerse the audience in the cinematic experience.