25 November 2012

Ethiopia: Techy Excitement

A loud, terrified scream was heard in the middle of Lost World, the 7-Dimensional (7D) movie show a tEdna Mall, on Tuesday November 6, 2012, around 6:00pm. The make-believe show, which makes the spectators feel like they were part of the movie, took the 12 people strapped to their seats in the 7D cubicle across a field of green grass, when they suddenly heard a snake hissing. They felt a tickle on their ankles at the same time, as if a snake was actually slithering between their feet.

Then the scream came, and it is a rare scream on the African continent, asEdnaMallclaims that no other African country has yet introduced the technology.

The 7D movie is normally projected from three to 10 minutes all over the world.

The effect is staggering. Although it is just a carefully orchestrated show, audiences are set into the illusions and sensations that they are made to feel and see. The amazing effect of 7D films makes audiences feel like participants of the movie, the sensation of actually living in a reality.

It is a business that has garnered enormous interest since it was introduced toEthiopiaand Addis Abeba on October 26, 2012. It was unusual until then to see people lining up inside Bob and Bango's, the children play ground at Edna mall.

"Until Wednesday, November 7, 2012, an average of 20,000 individuals came toEdnaMallto see the 7D stimulator," Samrawit Fittiwy, marketing manager ofEdnaMalltold Fortune.

Matti Multiplex, located nearBoleMedhanialemChurch, onCameroon Street, is the only one in the market that imports latest movies, including 3-Dimensional (3D) movies, which it started showing two years ago with Avatar.

"Matti Multiplex Cinema procured the 7D film screening equipment at a cost of 10 million Br fromSwitzerland," said Solomon Woldu, operational manager atEdnaMall.

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, at 6:10 pm, there were 45 people lining up for not more than a 10-minute experience.

Viewers first go into a blue anteroom for orientation and to get their tickets for 40 Br on weekdays and 50 Br on Friday and the weekends.

Some of customers that Fortune talked to say that the price is a bit expensive. Samrawit says, however, that it is much cheaper than the 20 dollars to 30 dollars paid in other countries.

A long line of people waiting to experience the 7D technology has become the new scene at Enda Mall, Matti Multiplex Cinema.

One of the three ushers in the room tells people how to wear the special glasses and instruct people that are pregnant, have back pain and blood pressure to rather leave. Children under seven are also not allowed.

The ushers then guide the viewers into the next room, giving them stereoscopic polarising glasses for seeing the 3D projection and advising them to fasten their seat belts.

One has to be careful not to turn the tiny switch on the corner of the glasses off; it is what synchronises the movement of the seat to the movie.

Once the show begins, the viewers begin to sway along with their seats that have been programmed to function in synchronisation with the projected film story, moving at different speeds.

The cinema system is created with effects, like flashing, wind, snow, rain drops, fog, and smoke and movement in order to provide a virtual reality. This is exciting to feel more realistic and convincing. It enables the audience to actually see, hear and feel what is going on in the movie.

The movie itself is 3D; the fourth dimension is the viewers in their special seats; the fifth dimension the leg tickler, a tiny flexible strip at the bottom of every seat, giving a "mouse effect" when it moves. The sixth effect is the spray felt on the face and the seventh, the air wave, wind, snow and others that come by.

The room where the 7D movie is displayed has been constructed after the party rooms where children's birthday parties used to be hosted were totally demolished.

The installation of the 7D system took five months which includes the sound proof, air conditioning (AC), UPS ( uninterrupted power supply), an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power when the input power source fails, and other materials that create different effects.

"Until now, we have been receiving good comments, which show that everybody is happy about the new technology" said Sofonias Yifru, manager ofEdnaMall.

After enjoying the 7D movie, it is exciting to see people with the different emotions on their face, some of them crying and laughing at the same time and some with excitements about the technology, which lead other people waiting on raw to become more enthusiastic.

So farEdnaMallhas brought five 7D movies: Future Bike, Lost World, Space Race, Magic World and Happy Feet.

"We are planning to import more movies, and assign show times for them as we do for the regular movies, and satisfy our customers," Samrawit told Fortune.

This is very good news for people like Senait Tassew, 24, who was screaming on top of her lungs, thoroughly entertained by the show.

"It was awesome!"she said after she stepped out of her first 7D experience.

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