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Exploring America’s Ghost Trains in VR Documentary

First episode of VR documentary American Dark Ride to premiere at SXSW 2018.

The Ghost Train amusement park ride concept has existed for decades, with a huge number of variants existing all over the world, and spawning its own amusement park sub-genre of the ‘dark ride’. Documentary filmmaker Joel Zika is creating a virtual reality (VR) documentary showing his experiences with rides in this genre.

The VR documentary has been structured as a TV show, going by the title American Dark Ride. The project was funded by enthusiastic supporters who previously clubbed together to create a VR archive of Dark Rides. A production team from Entertainment One have also been recruited to bring the project to a larger audience.

Stitched Panorama

There will be sixteen VR episodes to accompany the ten 21-min HD episodes. There will also be on-ride footage, and interviews with amusement park enthusiasts and ride creators. The show will cover a range of rides from some of the oldest in America to some brand-new takes on the concept.

“Every time a ride shuts down we lose a generation of memories, this show helps us share these experiences with the world and create a record for future generations.” Said Zika.

Stephan Grambart, the first VR director to win an Emmy said of the project “Joel’s use of 360 video to capture this vanishing piece of theme park history presents an ideal use case for this technology. As access to these rides becomes a rarity, the best means of capturing the full experience is through virtual reality.”

The team behind the project, including Joel Zika, plan to showcase the first episode of American Dark Ride, in both HD and VR formats, at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in 2018, where Zika will be discussing not only the VR project but also the history and impact of haunted rides on new media storytelling.

A trailer for American Dark Ride is available to view below.

VRFocus will bring you further news on American Dark Ride as it becomes available.

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