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The fan-favorite attraction Soarin’ Over California has gotten a brand-new, high-tech upgrade; new locations; and a whole new theme in preparation for its spectacular premiere at Shanghai Disney Resort. Back in 2001, Soarin’ Over California opened with the most state-of-the-art equipment available, using high-definition film projection, dimensional sounds, scents, and more. But now that digital projection and digital technology have advanced so dramatically, the Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) team decided they needed to take a leap forward with new state-of-the-art equipment, starting with the camera. Of course, as often happens at WDI, what they wanted didn’t exist. So they invented it.”Just as Walt did with Circle-Vision and some of the other unique formats in the parks, we often custom-design projection and screen technology to create the immersive story environment that we want,” says Tom Fitzgerald, Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “The beauty of being Imagineering is that we have an R&D team here, and our Disney Imagineers and researchers developed a state-of-the-art digital camera, one of the highest resolution cameras in the world.”What that means for guests is that the images on the 80-foot projection screen are going to be as realistic and spectacular as imaginable. But they didn’t stop with the camera. They also updated the projection systems to laser-powered digital projection for high resolution and super-high frame rate. This helps to create a super-bright effect with super-high resolution. It won’t ever fade, scratch, jitter, or show any dirt. “It will stay pristine for every guest who rides it as time marches on,” Fitzgerald notes. “It does what we like to do at Imagineering, which is raise the bar and the quality of an immersive experience for guests. So when you see the new projection system, you absolutely believe you’re in those scenes now. It’s astonishing.”

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