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Will they ever fix Soarin' distortion?

DisneyCane

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Ever since the change from Soarin' over California to the current version and the replacement of the original IMAX projection system with the digital laser projectors, the bending and distortion of the projection is horrible and removes any sense of realism (unless you are dead center).

The technology to remove the distortion has existed for many years and whatever patents IMAX had have got to be long expired. Is management or Imagineering aware of how terrible this looks? Is there any chance they will invest in the lenses (and likely re-rendering of the video to match the lens) to remove the distortion?

The Eiffel Tower is so bad that I almost burst out laughing but any scene with a tall object shows this effect.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Simple solution... Don't put anyone in the left or right seats. The center seats have "0" distortion and it's great. It will severely cut down on capacity and make the standby line a days activity but, they could also put up food stands every few feet for nourishment during the wait.

Seriously though if you go in knowing that your vision is what is causing the distortion you can quickly get past it and just enjoy the purpose of the show and flight. The original had distortions to but didn't have as many large single thin items items to focus on.
 

Pepper's Ghost

Well-Known Member
It would require doing a new film and not having a tall skinny object be the focus of attention. The films not distorted it is simply projected on a sphere if you “undistort” the edges you will distort the middle. The footage is unfixable.
I don't believe this to be true. Ever used a short-throw projector? It's built to project from very short distances, and is made to distort the edges from a short distance and at an angle to so that it looks correct.
Ever since the change from Soarin' over California to the current version and the replacement of the original IMAX projection system with the digital laser projectors, the bending and distortion of the projection is horrible and removes any sense of realism (unless you are dead center).

The technology to remove the distortion has existed for many years and whatever patents IMAX had have got to be long expired. Is management or Imagineering aware of how terrible this looks? Is there any chance they will invest in the lenses (and likely re-rendering of the video to match the lens) to remove the distortion?

The Eiffel Tower is so bad that I almost burst out laughing but any scene with a tall object shows this effect.
I don't agree with this premise. I totally agree that's horribly distorted, but I don't think it began with the change of projectors. I think the wild distortion was always present, but you didn't notice it as much before because the old video had few if any straight long lines. When you're looking at a desert landscape, a river, hang-gliding over open water, orange groves, etc. it's hard to notice distortion because there are no straight lines in nature for you to recognize distortion. The problem is they introduced a shape in the Eiffel Tower that is extremely recognizable, especially the correct shape which itself is curved, so it was easy to see the distortion.

That's my theory anyway. I think that's close to accurate.
 

Touchdown

Well-Known Member
I don't believe this to be true. Ever used a short-throw projector? It's built to project from very short distances, and is made to distort the edges from a short distance and at an angle to so that it looks correct.

I don't agree with this premise. I totally agree that's horribly distorted, but I don't think it began with the change of projectors. I think the wild distortion was always present, but you didn't notice it as much before because the old video had few if any straight long lines. When you're looking at a desert landscape, a river, hang-gliding over open water, orange groves, etc. it's hard to notice distortion because there are no straight lines in nature for you to recognize distortion. The problem is they introduced a shape in the Eiffel Tower that is extremely recognizable, especially the correct shape which itself is curved, so it was easy to see the distortion.

That's my theory anyway. I think that's close to accurate.
Are you projecting on to a spherical screen or a flat one? Soarin’s screen is an Omni-Max screen rotated 90 degrees. It is an illusion that the image you see on the ride is flat, it isn’t, it’s curved to fill your visual field.
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
I don't believe this to be true. Ever used a short-throw projector? It's built to project from very short distances, and is made to distort the edges from a short distance and at an angle to so that it looks correct.

I don't agree with this premise. I totally agree that's horribly distorted, but I don't think it began with the change of projectors. I think the wild distortion was always present, but you didn't notice it as much before because the old video had few if any straight long lines. When you're looking at a desert landscape, a river, hang-gliding over open water, orange groves, etc. it's hard to notice distortion because there are no straight lines in nature for you to recognize distortion. The problem is they introduced a shape in the Eiffel Tower that is extremely recognizable, especially the correct shape which itself is curved, so it was easy to see the distortion.

That's my theory anyway. I think that's close to accurate.
When they were showing Soarin' Over California at Disneyland last year, I specifically looked to see if there are any distortions... there certainly are, but as you noted, nowhere in the film is the focus of attention on a single large, elongated structure, so you only notice if if you specifically look.
 

Disney4family

Well-Known Member
Ever since the change from Soarin' over California to the current version and the replacement of the original IMAX projection system with the digital laser projectors, the bending and distortion of the projection is horrible and removes any sense of realism (unless you are dead center).

The technology to remove the distortion has existed for many years and whatever patents IMAX had have got to be long expired. Is management or Imagineering aware of how terrible this looks? Is there any chance they will invest in the lenses (and likely re-rendering of the video to match the lens) to remove the distortion?

The Eiffel Tower is so bad that I almost burst out laughing but any scene with a tall object shows this effect.
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DisneyCane

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It would require doing a new film and not having a tall skinny object be the focus of attention. The films not distorted it is simply projected on a sphere if you “undistort” the edges you will distort the middle. The footage is unfixable.

Are you projecting on to a spherical screen or a flat one? Soarin’s screen is an Omni-Max screen rotated 90 degrees. It is an illusion that the image you see on the ride is flat, it isn’t, it’s curved to fill your visual field.

The original version was filmed and projected with Omnimax lenses which allowed for the projection onto a curved screen without distortion. The current flat image could be digitally altered and re-rendered into the anamorphic version needed and projected with the complimentary lens to un-squeeze the image. Some brightness would be lost both due to losses in the lens the fact that parts of the frame aren't used at the edges.

When they were showing Soarin' Over California at Disneyland last year, I specifically looked to see if there are any distortions... there certainly are, but as you noted, nowhere in the film is the focus of attention on a single large, elongated structure, so you only notice if if you specifically look.

That showing was with the digital projectors. When Soarin' Over California was projected from film on the Omnimax system, there was no noticeable distortion. I notice things wrong with visuals as an instinct and rode the original at least 100 times and never noticed distortion. There were some tall objects like the tower on the aircraft carrier that would have distorted. If seated off to the side, Yosemite Falls would easily show the distortion on the current system like the Castle, Monument Park structures and Pyramids do. SSE turns into an egg shape.

They managed to create the visuals for FoP in a way that there is no distortion of the image and the projection part is similar technology.
 

Pepper's Ghost

Well-Known Member
Are you projecting on to a spherical screen or a flat one? Soarin’s screen is an Omni-Max screen rotated 90 degrees. It is an illusion that the image you see on the ride is flat, it isn’t, it’s curved to fill your visual field.
Oh, I get it. My point is that the distortion existed before too. I just re-watched a SoC video I downloaded several years ago (for that occasional fix) and there is distortion visible. I never paid attention before, but when I watch it looking for distortion I see it in SoC.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Probably not, unless they decide to do a refurb and theres money allotted. Right now it is an issue with us who want Disney kept to a higher standard but the run of the mill guest that makes up the majority of visitors could care less. They experience the ride and probably never think of a distortion. They get on, they watch they get off. No big deal that theres a bend in the depictions.
 

ChrisFL

Premium Member
There's IMO plenty of things they could digitally do to fix it. Or, since they've already OBVIOUSLY done it in other parts, just make it CGI
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Note these old posts from the days of the original film (emphasis added):

Being from California I can speak from seeing it first hand. For months, and on occasion still happening, the ride is almost a walk on for the first hour the Park is open, sometimes less. Then as the day wears on, the line get longer and longer and longer. By late afternoon the line is hours long, and there is really no covering from the sun or rain except right at the entrance. It's really not worth the wait. Here's why:

Personally, after riding it twice, I don't see the repeat ride value at all. It's just a big mechanical lift system that is very neat and all that, but still it a movie on a round inverted dome that when run long enough starts to get scratched and dirty and unless they perform major maintenance those tiny marks are blown up 10 times bigger on that big Imax-like system. After riding it once or twice what's the point of doing it again. It never changes, and trying different seats is not going to make it better. The only perfect seats on the entire ride are center section, front row. The left and right front row sections make the screen image distorted. The middle row, and back row are aweful as you are not dead center, have people feet from the first row, if you are in the second row, and second row for those in the third row, dangling in you field of vision. Plus for you guys, what's the point of Soarin' Over California?

I was really looking forward to this ride when DCA first opened, but after two rides, that was it. Never went again.
Tricky...

I could never class Soarin' as a break through. Whilst I enjoy the ride I cant get over the fact that it just isn't all that immersive. The distortion on the screen is a real spoiler for this effect and a little part of me hates that the scene changes are nothing more that a straight forward cut.

EE is a great ride with a nice trick but again, not really cutting edge.

Mission: Space - probably more innovative than the others but still not cutting edge

To be clear, I'm not denying that the distortion is more obvious with the new film, but it's not new.
 

Ricky Spanish

Well-Known Member
It would require doing a new film and not having a tall skinny object be the focus of attention. The films not distorted it is simply projected on a sphere if you “undistort” the edges you will distort the middle. The footage is unfixable.
They’re gonna have to do a new film soon.
That theme park at the end of the current film doesn’t quite look the same.
 

WondersOfLife

Blink, blink. Breathe, breathe. Day in, day out.
They’re gonna have to do a new film soon.
That theme park at the end of the current film doesn’t quite look the same.
Or just switch out the last scene? I doubt Disney will replace that entire "expensive" scene due to just the finale being dated.
 

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