Technology - The show must go on | attractionsmanagement.com
GET ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital edition of Attractions Management and the FREE weekly Attractions Management ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Profiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise  
Technology
The show must go on

Public distaste for performing animals is spearheading change in the circus industry. German entertainer, Circus-Theater Roncalli, has embraced the zeitgeist and is leading the way, with a contemporary show featuring holograms instead of animals. Kath Hudson reports

By Kath Hudson | Published in Attractions Management 2019 issue 3


Spectral horses cantering in graceful circles, a giant goldfish hovering above the arena and an elephant doing a handstand have replaced dancing dogs and horses at Roncalli Circus.

The circus, founded in 1976 by Bernhard Paul, has invested some £400,000 (US$500,000) in a holographic show, which was inspired by a performance at the 2018 Superbowl.

“Transporting animals on congested highways is an anachronism and not necessary,” says Paul. “Many cities had invited us, but they also had no space for animals. I had the wish to make something new at the circus and when I saw Justin Timberlake performing with a hologram of Prince during the Superbowl, I was so impressed with the technology that I wanted to have a go.

Not only would the idea offer a spectacular new draw for the circus, but it would completely change the way the business operated, doing away with live animals in exchange for holograms.

“Times change and so do opinions – the audience is our boss and when you feel the audience does not approve of something then you have to change it,” says Paul. “As a circus director you have to listen to the audience, but also to your heart and to trust your own gut. I was sure and focused on giving our audience something new.”

Public approval
Since 2016, Paul had been experimenting with other forms of entertainment, using the circus in a more poetic and modern way, using, for example, puppets and costumes for a very convincing polar bear routine.

To bring the holographic dream to fruition, he hired in the expertise of Markus Strobl as Circus Roncalli’s chief digital officer and chief communication officer, to lead on the holographic project. Fifteen 3D software engineers spent two years creating the new show, Storyteller, which was premiered in Cologne, in March 2018, using Optoma laser projectors.

The first circus in the world to use holographic animals, it’s a 360 degree, 3D show which has been received with positivity and excitement. To reflect the fact that it’s now less of a circus and more of a spectacle aligned with theatres, and so it’s been rebranded to Circus-Theater Roncalli.

“After the announcement not to use any animals at our shows we received more than 20,000 emails and letters from all over the world, with 95 per cent positive feedback,” says Paul. “The holographic show went viral on social media and received media coverage in 40 countries. In one year, the show had more than 600,000 visitors.”

Animal free
Wild animals were only briefly used at Circus Roncalli, although horses and dogs played a large part for 30 years. However, Paul says that the show was always more focused on other acts. In a 2018 visitor survey, horses were bottom of the list of attractions, with only 2.7 per cent saying that is what they expected from a Roncalli show. Most popular were the clowns, followed by acrobats, poetic acts, nostalgic and historic circus wagons and live music.

According to Paul, money had nothing to do with the decision to stop using animals, however, it looks to have been a commercial success as well. After a hefty initial investment, the new technology means the circus is far more mobile and has greater flexibility to go to more locations, meaning it tours more widely.

There’s also no longer animal upkeep to consider and the move has been hailed as a PR and social media triumph, which has led to global recognition and a boom in ticket sales.

The show will need to keep evolving to keep audiences interested, and the team will be continuing to look for new ways to use holography. Also continuing investment has to be made to make sure the technology is up to scratch with no glitches: “We’re the pioneers and we still have many ideas,” says Paul. “We want to lead the way outside of the ring. For example, being the first circus to go plastic-free.”

Other applications?
Following this groundbreaking application of hologram technology, it will be interesting to see if the attractions industry will make greater use of the potential it offers. For example, aquariums could use it to recreate the magic of sharks and whales, while museums could use it to bring giant predators or dinosaurs back to life.

Martín Zordan, interim CEO of WAZA says that while it’s not the same as seeing a real animal, VR technologies can offer a new and exciting way to engage audiences: “VR can also enhance the visitor experience by being a new way of engaging visitors with animals and conservation education and offering a more immersive experience,” he explains.

“As technologies evolve, zoos and aquariums can use tech to bring people closer to the animals, as well as to show the audience things they would not normally see, such as behind-the-scenes care which takes place at zoos and aquariums, or a view of the animal’s wild habitat.”

Hologram technology

blueBOX, which has a background in blending holography and mixed reality, was in charge of developing Circus Roncalli’s holographic ring, in cooperation with creative agency, Tag/Traum. It was a challenge to create a hologram with such enormous dimensions – 32m (105ft) by 5m (16.4ft) – with 360-degree visibility for the audience.

Eleven ZU850 laser projectors from Optoma were used, which boast superior colour performance and 360-degree projection capability, these were coupled with innovative MultiColor laser technology to create the experience.

“We needed a high contrast projector with great colours for the 3D effect and ZU850’s 2,000,000:1 contrast is perfect for this project,” says Birger Wunderlich from Bluebox. “We have been using Optoma projectors for six years and have consistently had a very positive experience in price, performance and reliability.”

CHANGING CIRCUSES

According to PETA – which has campaigned against using animals in circuses for many years – public demand for animal-free shows continues to grow, leading to more circuses moving towards animal-free productions.

Over the last 20 years, stricter regulation and changing public sentiment means that performing animals are becoming a thing of the past: 94 per cent of UK people supported a ban, which is already in place in 26 countries.

In May, the UK government announced the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, which will make it illegal for circus operators in England to use wild animals from January 2020. Then environment secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.”

Circus Roncalli says its focus is on clowns, acrobats and poetic acts
Bernhard Paul founded Roncalli Circus in 1976
Since 2018, the show has featured no live animals, turning instead to holographic projections
Holograms offer visual experiences circus-goers of the past would not have been able to see
The show stars a variety of real-life clowns and artists who incorporate the holographic animals into their performances
COMPANY PROFILES
FORREC Ltd

We create guest experiences others don’t, masterplan like no one else can, and give the world’s bi [more...]
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
IDEATTACK

IDEATTACK is a full-service planning and design company with headquarters in Los Angeles. [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

IAAPA helps move leisure and attractions industry forward with IAAPA Expo Europe
As the leisure and attractions industry continues to recover and look to the future, IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, is moving forward with plans to host IAAPA Expo Europe this September. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - ProSlide | Atlantis Dubai
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

28-30 Sep 2021

International Wellness Tourism Conference

Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Miami, United States
01-07 Dec 2022

World Leisure Congress 2022

tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

2021 issue 2


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 1


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2020 issue 1


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2019 issue 4


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

06 Apr 2020 issue 153


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021
Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
Technology
The show must go on

Public distaste for performing animals is spearheading change in the circus industry. German entertainer, Circus-Theater Roncalli, has embraced the zeitgeist and is leading the way, with a contemporary show featuring holograms instead of animals. Kath Hudson reports

By Kath Hudson | Published in Attractions Management 2019 issue 3


Spectral horses cantering in graceful circles, a giant goldfish hovering above the arena and an elephant doing a handstand have replaced dancing dogs and horses at Roncalli Circus.

The circus, founded in 1976 by Bernhard Paul, has invested some £400,000 (US$500,000) in a holographic show, which was inspired by a performance at the 2018 Superbowl.

“Transporting animals on congested highways is an anachronism and not necessary,” says Paul. “Many cities had invited us, but they also had no space for animals. I had the wish to make something new at the circus and when I saw Justin Timberlake performing with a hologram of Prince during the Superbowl, I was so impressed with the technology that I wanted to have a go.

Not only would the idea offer a spectacular new draw for the circus, but it would completely change the way the business operated, doing away with live animals in exchange for holograms.

“Times change and so do opinions – the audience is our boss and when you feel the audience does not approve of something then you have to change it,” says Paul. “As a circus director you have to listen to the audience, but also to your heart and to trust your own gut. I was sure and focused on giving our audience something new.”

Public approval
Since 2016, Paul had been experimenting with other forms of entertainment, using the circus in a more poetic and modern way, using, for example, puppets and costumes for a very convincing polar bear routine.

To bring the holographic dream to fruition, he hired in the expertise of Markus Strobl as Circus Roncalli’s chief digital officer and chief communication officer, to lead on the holographic project. Fifteen 3D software engineers spent two years creating the new show, Storyteller, which was premiered in Cologne, in March 2018, using Optoma laser projectors.

The first circus in the world to use holographic animals, it’s a 360 degree, 3D show which has been received with positivity and excitement. To reflect the fact that it’s now less of a circus and more of a spectacle aligned with theatres, and so it’s been rebranded to Circus-Theater Roncalli.

“After the announcement not to use any animals at our shows we received more than 20,000 emails and letters from all over the world, with 95 per cent positive feedback,” says Paul. “The holographic show went viral on social media and received media coverage in 40 countries. In one year, the show had more than 600,000 visitors.”

Animal free
Wild animals were only briefly used at Circus Roncalli, although horses and dogs played a large part for 30 years. However, Paul says that the show was always more focused on other acts. In a 2018 visitor survey, horses were bottom of the list of attractions, with only 2.7 per cent saying that is what they expected from a Roncalli show. Most popular were the clowns, followed by acrobats, poetic acts, nostalgic and historic circus wagons and live music.

According to Paul, money had nothing to do with the decision to stop using animals, however, it looks to have been a commercial success as well. After a hefty initial investment, the new technology means the circus is far more mobile and has greater flexibility to go to more locations, meaning it tours more widely.

There’s also no longer animal upkeep to consider and the move has been hailed as a PR and social media triumph, which has led to global recognition and a boom in ticket sales.

The show will need to keep evolving to keep audiences interested, and the team will be continuing to look for new ways to use holography. Also continuing investment has to be made to make sure the technology is up to scratch with no glitches: “We’re the pioneers and we still have many ideas,” says Paul. “We want to lead the way outside of the ring. For example, being the first circus to go plastic-free.”

Other applications?
Following this groundbreaking application of hologram technology, it will be interesting to see if the attractions industry will make greater use of the potential it offers. For example, aquariums could use it to recreate the magic of sharks and whales, while museums could use it to bring giant predators or dinosaurs back to life.

Martín Zordan, interim CEO of WAZA says that while it’s not the same as seeing a real animal, VR technologies can offer a new and exciting way to engage audiences: “VR can also enhance the visitor experience by being a new way of engaging visitors with animals and conservation education and offering a more immersive experience,” he explains.

“As technologies evolve, zoos and aquariums can use tech to bring people closer to the animals, as well as to show the audience things they would not normally see, such as behind-the-scenes care which takes place at zoos and aquariums, or a view of the animal’s wild habitat.”

Hologram technology

blueBOX, which has a background in blending holography and mixed reality, was in charge of developing Circus Roncalli’s holographic ring, in cooperation with creative agency, Tag/Traum. It was a challenge to create a hologram with such enormous dimensions – 32m (105ft) by 5m (16.4ft) – with 360-degree visibility for the audience.

Eleven ZU850 laser projectors from Optoma were used, which boast superior colour performance and 360-degree projection capability, these were coupled with innovative MultiColor laser technology to create the experience.

“We needed a high contrast projector with great colours for the 3D effect and ZU850’s 2,000,000:1 contrast is perfect for this project,” says Birger Wunderlich from Bluebox. “We have been using Optoma projectors for six years and have consistently had a very positive experience in price, performance and reliability.”

CHANGING CIRCUSES

According to PETA – which has campaigned against using animals in circuses for many years – public demand for animal-free shows continues to grow, leading to more circuses moving towards animal-free productions.

Over the last 20 years, stricter regulation and changing public sentiment means that performing animals are becoming a thing of the past: 94 per cent of UK people supported a ban, which is already in place in 26 countries.

In May, the UK government announced the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill, which will make it illegal for circus operators in England to use wild animals from January 2020. Then environment secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.”

Circus Roncalli says its focus is on clowns, acrobats and poetic acts
Bernhard Paul founded Roncalli Circus in 1976
Since 2018, the show has featured no live animals, turning instead to holographic projections
Holograms offer visual experiences circus-goers of the past would not have been able to see
The show stars a variety of real-life clowns and artists who incorporate the holographic animals into their performances
LATEST NEWS
Therme Group to expand global footprint with waterfront wellbeing resort in Toronto
Global wellbeing organisation, Therme Group, has today announced plans for a CAN$350m (€236.3m, £201.8m, US$280.8m) wellbeing resort in Toronto, Canada, at Ontario Place.
Jorvik's global art project will connect 14 cities
The Jorvik Group has launched a major global art project which will connect 14 cities around the world.
Disney World show goes gender-neutral
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida has changed some of its messaging as part of a strategy to become more inclusive to all guests.
IAAPA launches 'digital pass' to encourage delegates to take part virtually
IAAPA is offering visitor attractions, museums and theme park industry professionals the opportunity to take part in its annual events – even if they can't make it to the shows in person.
IAAPA joins calls to ease border entry restrictions in the US and to revive tourism sector
IAAPA has joined a range of US travel and tourism trade organisations in calling for the lifting of border entry restrictions and to help revive the visitor flow into the country.
Merlin hits the market with surge of new openings
Merlin Entertainments has been busy with a raft of new openings and future project announcements, as the global visitor attractions industry begins to emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
Saudi Arabia offers US$133m in loans to create 50 new attractions
Saudi Arabia's General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has pledged to provide SAR500m (US$133m, €112m, £96m) worth of loans to companies, in order to create new attractions and entertainment projects in the country.
Hong Kong's Ocean Park opens Water World with 27 new outdoor and indoor attractions
Ocean Park has launched a wide range of new water attractions – including Hong Kong's first ever indoor wave pool.
Kengo Kuma-designed Hans Christian Andersen House opens in city of Odense
The new H.C. Andersen House, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, has opened its doors to visitors in the Danish city of Odense.
Secret Cinema does Bridgerton tie-up with Netflix
Attractions Management understands that immersive entertainment specialist, Secret Cinema, has partnered with streaming giant Netflix to host a Bridgerton ball at a location later this year.
First full-scale franchised Madame Tussauds to open in Budapest during 2022
Merlin Entertainments has revealed plans to open a new Madame Tussauds in the heart of Hungarian capital city Budapest in early 2022.
Merlin to take Legoland Discovery Centres to Belgium with deal for Brussels site
Merlin Entertainments has revealed plans to open a Legoland Discovery Centre in the Belgian capital city Brussels.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
FORREC Ltd

We create guest experiences others don’t, masterplan like no one else can, and give the world’s bi [more...]
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
IDEATTACK

IDEATTACK is a full-service planning and design company with headquarters in Los Angeles. [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

IAAPA helps move leisure and attractions industry forward with IAAPA Expo Europe
As the leisure and attractions industry continues to recover and look to the future, IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, is moving forward with plans to host IAAPA Expo Europe this September. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - ProSlide | Atlantis Dubai
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

28-30 Sep 2021

International Wellness Tourism Conference

Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Miami, United States
01-07 Dec 2022

World Leisure Congress 2022

tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS