Wicker Man is the first wooden rollercoaster to be built in the UK for 21 years, with the unique thrill of fire. Burning embers light the ride’s path as it speeds towards a six-story (17.55m) Wicker Man structure, who spectacularly bursts into flames as the coaster races through its chest three times.
To complement real flames on the structure and get flame-like effects even closer to the riders, the resort’s Entertainments Technical Manager, Alex Tweedie approached longstanding technology vendor, A.C. Entertainment Technologies to assist with specifying and supplying a solution. After discussing the details of the project with Chris Beardwell from AC-ET’s specialist Video sales division, projection was discounted as it would not be bright enough during daylight.
Chris recommended the ProLights AlphaPIX 6T LED display, featuring 5,500 nits brightness level to be effective in daylight, IP65 rating, and with the 6.6mm pitch option offering the best balance between a convincing fire effect and meeting the tight budget.
Based on the specification, Alex initially ordered twenty of the 640mm x 720mm modular panels, which were configured in various ‘Tetris-like’ clusters of different shapes and sizes around the Wicker Man structure – including overhead when the ride passes through its chest. Alton Towers Resort were so impressed with the spectacular flame effect that they ordered another twenty panels for the ride.
AC-ET supplied the complete Video system, which also included two Novastar VX4S controllers linking the video panels to a Green Hippo Hippotizer V4 Amba media server running the flame effect content; all power and EtherCon Ethernet control cabling, which was assembled to specification and custom lengths by AC-ET’s in-house Tourflex® Cabling service; as well as a second Amba server to run content in the ride pre-show area.
Working alongside Chris, Peter Nesbitt in AC-ET’s specialist Lighting sales division specified various luminaires to help create the right atmosphere for sales opportunities when passengers exited the Wicker Man ride through a gift shop featuring branded merchandise.
The lighting package included ProLights Eclipse HD LED Ellipsoidals, ProLights Accent 1Q LED washlights, City Theatrical Qolor FLEX RGBA LED light strips and ProLights Panorama IP Beam moving lights to provide effects during a media launch event.