The Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction, a new 4D Show, opened last month and its creators believe it is the first and only show of its kind. It features groundbreaking digital technology from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and the largest year-round team of digital puppeteers in the world. The new show also offers a unique real-time experience with over 100 possible outcomes, as the audience determines the direction of the story through live participation.
The Hershey Company developed the new experience over a period of two years, working with the Oscar award-winning character and effects company, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and Ty Granaroli of Granaroli Design & Entertainment to bring the show to life. Granaroli wrote and produced Hershey’s Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D. Granaroli was also the co-creator of Universal’s The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
The Henson Digital Puppetry Studio is a proprietary technology that allows the company’s world-renowned puppeteers to perform animated characters in real-time, which creates an unparalleled level of spontaneity and interaction between the audience and Hershey characters.
“With iconic characters, state-of-the-art technology, and a real-time 4D experience, the new show is unmatched anywhere else in the world,” said Amy Hahn, vice president and general manager of The Global Hershey Experience.
Hershey’s Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D allows audience members to help their favorite characters, Hershey, Reese and Kiss, as they embark on a mysterious adventure in Hershey’s Chocolate Factory. “The cool thing about the new experience is that the audience is really the fourth star of the show,” said Reese. “The fate of chocolate is in their hands.”
The direction of the show is determined in real-time through audience participation. There are currently 108 different versions of the show – what guests experience depends on choices they make while viewing. Real-time video capture also allows puppeteers to see guests and "put" them in the show.
The characters are brought to life by the largest year-round team of digital puppeteers in the world – offering guests a responsive, real-time experience. The show has nearly 500 audio cues, cut together in real-time. Each performer has a custom audio track. The puppeteers trained extensively for five months prior to launch.
The show features more than 10 special effects. The 30-minute experience has a seating capacity of 250 and performances run 364 days a year (except Christmas Day).
The technology incorporates a one-of-a-kind software and hardware platform that utilizes five different computer control/playback systems to allow for customized interaction between the actors and the audience. The show uses Barco Cinema 2K projectors with the Dolby 3D System integrated into the projector. The server was a specially programmed 7th Sense Delta Server. The 3D glasses are from Infitek.