Controlling your Fear

haunt_controller_06 Animatronics and Automated Show control is nothing new to the Haunted House industry. In fact it has been around since the early days of theater. How we use it has changed a great deal, especially over the last decade. The once high-end and expensive devices that were limited to large Stage Shows and Theme Parks are now abundantly available and very affordable. Multi-channel devices can control anything from large animatronics to the subtle flicker of a candle. Audio processors monitor the screams of our guest and adjust the ambient volume and lighting of the room in milliseconds. Literally changing the mood of a scene based on your reaction. Gone are the old fashion infrared motion detectors and pressure pads that would trigger the action. Replaced by active sonar, thermal imaging and scanning lasers.

 When was the last time you received a text from a Automated Frankenstein?

Show control and effect automation

haunt_controller_09 Now, newer and faster does not equate to better or scarier. Just because you can automate something doesn’t mean you should. The last thing I want is a guest that comes out and tells me “Hey, I really loved your automated special effects” In fact I want the technology to be transparent to our customers. If your attention is on the red laser beam, pressure mat or motion sensor, you are less likely to be startled by the carnage that we are about to unleash on you and your group. Another issue is mechanical malfunction! If you have a visible effect in your show it should work! So now our props communicate with our main control room. If there is a problem we are alerted in real time. Some of our Special Effects will even send a text to my phone if there is a problem. When was the last time you received a text from a guy in the Electric Chair?

 Choosing the right controller for the job


haunt_controller_03 Show control and effect automation technology is advancing everyday. Properly used it can set the tempo and rhythm of a show. I don’t think it will ever replace a well trained live performer nor that it should. In fact we have adopted some rules or guidelines over the last several years when it comes to the use of automation. I won’t go into all of them here, In a nutshell it comes down to one simple philosophy: To provide a consistent and enhanced experience for our guest. Our guest come to the Boneyard to have fun and to enjoy the excitement that we have to offer with their friends. Computerized effects are a very small part of that experience.

If you have any questions regarding this post or would like to see more articles about Haunted House Tech in the future please leave a comment or contact us.


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