By Andrew Liszewski
It’s uncertain what affect file sharing and ‘piracy’ has really had on the movie industry, but it’s obvious the studios are concerned and have been trying to find ways to get people back into theaters. Thanks to technical advances 3D has finally become a popular gimmick, and now a Montreal (Longueuil) based company called D-Box is hoping theater-goers will be just as interested in a more moving film experience, quite literally.
Last night I had a chance to try out D-Box’s Motion Theater Seats at the Canadian launch in Toronto which, as their name implies, are special theater seats that can move and rumble alongside the action in the film providing an enhanced movie-going experience. While I don’t think the technology will add much to talking head flicks or anything adapted from a Jane Austen novel, it does give you a good reason to endure the sticky floors of your local cinema when it comes to Summer blockbusters. More after the jump…
The D-Box Motion Seats can kind of be compared to the experience you’d get from a ride at a high-tech theme park, but the range of motion on these seats is far more subtle. In fact, the seats don’t actually move at all, but tilt forward and back and side to side with a total range of about 15 degrees. And while that doesn’t seem like much, it’s more than enough to enhance the action in any film, particularly when you consider you’ll be enjoying the experience for 2+ hours at times. According to D-Box the seats are actually a bit larger than your standard theater seats, and that’s partly because they’ve got 3 brushless electric motors underneath which not only do an effective job at moving you around, but are also completely quiet.
We were shown a 20-minute clip from the beginning of the recently released Fast & Furious which is probably the perfect kind of film for the Motion Seats. The clip included a rather involved ‘car chase’ which admittedly was a lot cooler with the chair pitching and shifting underneath you, as well as a foot chase scene which was a bit subtler, but did a good job at showing off the range of motion the seats are capable of.
Besides its own set of arm rests (which is reason enough to like them) each Motion Seat also comes equipped with a touchpad that allows you to adjust the intensity of the motion effects. There’s 3 different levels to choose from, in addition to being able to turn it off completely, and even at the highest intensity level the motion isn’t enough to spill your drink or toss your popcorn around. But parents might want to tone things down for the younger set, so it’s nice that it’s adjustable on a seat-by-seat basis.
Of course the big question is whether or not theater goers will be willing to spend an extra $7 (Canadian pricing) for the Motion Seat experience. Like I mentioned earlier, the seats won’t add much to more dramatic fair, but for popcorn flicks like Transformers 2 or the next Harry Potter, which is actually when the public will be able to experience the seats here in Toronto for the first time, I’d definitely say yes. But I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for stuff like this.