You might recall reading in our 20th anniversary article that in 2014, the founder of our company, Cecil D. Magpuri, decided to better position Falcon’s in the marketplace by clarifying its message and offerings. Falcon’s Treehouse was well established by that point, and soon, his other two companies would have an equal level of identification.
Through sessions that branding experts facilitated, we evolved into Falcon’s Creative Group. Falcon’s Treehouse and the freshly named companies - Falcon’s Digital Media and Falcon’s Licensing - continued business operations within the same office space in Orlando, Florida, but we had a new image that fit our messaging better.
Here’s the breakdown of the overarching services that Falcon’s Creative Group synergistically blends for the perfect recipe:
Treehouse = master planning, attraction design and executive production
Digital Media = cutting edge content creation, sound production, and interactive experiences
Licensing = pioneering attraction systems, a film library, and groundbreaking new solutions to engage audiences around the world
There are times when one Falcon’s division works independently on a project that doesn’t require input from one of the other two. While we still create amazing experiences in those cases, nothing quite matches the level of satisfaction we enjoy when we get to bring multiple disciplines together. This is partly because we know we’re creating something that has likely not been seen or experienced before. That’s what usually happens when we combine our dynamic teams.
Some of you out there might be thinking, uh-oh, too many cooks in the kitchen. Who’s really calling the shots? Let me assure you, there is a clear distinction for who handles what. Boundaries and roles are clearly defined. Our imaginations, however, have no boundaries. In order to continue capturing the imagination of others, we must innovate, and because we have a multi-disciplinary studio, we have no real constraints to do just that.
The speed at which technological breakthroughs are now occurring is mind-bending; being able to keep up with the breakneck pace is crucial for survival in the themed experience space. That’s why Falcon’s Creative Group has become a trusted leader in our domain. We’re not just merely keeping up, though. We’re the pace car.
We are establishing new trends because we work efficiently within our own house and tap into our various areas of expertise so easily. No designer, artist, editor, producer, writer, project manager, supervisor, or executive needs to walk further than a few hundred feet to have a meaningful face-to-face conversation that might lead to the next big thing.
The process of taking those concepts from a sketch to reality would’ve been a lot more challenging without the in-house talent to help flesh them out, put CADs together, and talk about logistics of bringing them to the marketplace. The cycle works so well because Cecil’s limitless imagination has a toolkit to match it…his own team.
Falcon’s is a true turnkey entertainment design studio because we can utilize our own internal resources to imagine the whole experience, taking audiences on immersive, narrative adventures via our own sophisticated technology. Problem-solving is inherent in our process, and we’re always asking questions. This inquisitive nature provides a smoother path to the end goal.
One example of how all of our services work so well together is IMG Worlds of Adventure, the second-largest indoor theme park on the planet. Falcon’s Treehouse master planned the entire 1.5 million square foot space. Rides, attractions, retail shops, and themed restaurants are spread throughout four zones, all with their own unique identity. Two of those zones feature popular IPs - Cartoon Network and Marvel.
Falcon’s Treehouse designed the attraction experiences while Falcon’s Digital Media created content for a large percentage of them. Falcon’s Licensing introduced the world to CircuMotion® Theater with Hulk: Epsilon Base 3D. The media component in Hulk is what transformed this world-class attraction, and others at IMG Worlds of Adventure, into living, breathing entities.
It was a luxury for all teams within the studio to be able to talk things over on a regular basis with the staff members who provided the stories, drawings, assets, models, videos, sound effects, and other elements that had to come together to open this attraction and all the others inside the imaginative entertainment destination in Dubai. Falcon’s business model is all about diversification. Yes, we design rides and attractions for theme parks, but we also delve into themed restaurants, retail locations, water parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, and location-based entertainment.
Falcon’s Treehouse reimagined the design and layout of an existing building where these amazing astronauts’ stories were to be told. The architectural design begins telling the story, in a way. A sleek, curved ramp that leads into the attraction conveys that this structure is much more than a queue. Making their way up, guests soak in a spectacular view of the rocket garden, an awesome site that sits adjacent to the Heroes & Legends building. People can reflect upon the importance of the space race and the proud legacy it produced.
At the top of the ramp, guests are pulsed into a cylindrical show space and presented with an opportunity to discover what the word “hero” really means. Our media team shot video, person-on-the-street style, to capture thoughts from a wide variety of individuals who were asked questions about heroes, like, “Who is your hero?” Their responses are projected along the wall of the circular theater, completely surrounding the standing audience.
Guests then make their way into the main show’s theater, an innovative space that features a giant compound-curve screen that wraps 220° around the guest. Standing on a “floating” platform in the middle of a massive room, guests are transported back in time. Breathtaking 3D visuals accompany emotional spoken memories from several astronauts. A soaring musical score booming through an amazing sound system and theater effects such as wind, mist, and scent, create a powerful experience that can only be described as out of this world.
Falcon’s Treehouse and Falcon’s Digital Media worked on the concept and script for the 7+ minute film. Our media team then shouldered the production workload. Many hours of archival footage were sourced while new interviews with dozens of astronauts were shot and edited in-house. And that was just for one film.
The rest of the exhibit features many more hours of content that guests can enjoy after leaving the main theater. Again, Media and Design worked together to create the best guest experience for these interactive elements. Objects on display tie into the overall heroic theme established earlier. There are also items honoring the legions of behind-the-scenes heroes – scientists, engineers, and mathematicians - who played an integral part in the success of America’s space program.
Our Falcon’s Vision™ augmented reality headset, a patented product developed by Falcon’s, is the perfect marriage of hardware and media. The two products, if you will, have to work in harmony to provide a solution that exceeds expectations and provides an impactful wow moment
That’s exactly what we saw when we introduced it to the public for the first time at the Becoming Jane exhibition at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. Visitors use the AR device as if it’s a pair of binoculars. Through the lens, they are able to view animated content that we produced in-house that shows some of Jane Goodall’s most important discoveries of chimpanzee behavior.
Our team set out to create a revolutionary device that was durable and robust that could easily be used in high-throughput settings and wasn’t cumbersome for the user. Once we had a working prototype, our vice president of global licensing and business development, Daryl White, studied its functionality and marketability. Because of his background, he knows exactly what will sell and what adjustments need to be made. Developing a product like Falcon’s Vision™ headset takes multi-disciplinary skill sets working together, feeding off each other’s ideas, to bring it to reality.
Take the Jurassic Island superflume ride at Trans Studio Cibubur as an example. Falcon’s Digital Media was contracted to provide the 3D media component, but we were able to utilize Treehouse’s environmental storytelling and character design capabilities to support our pre-production efforts. Leveraging our experience in immersive theater design, our team worked closely with Simworx early in their design process to create the compound-curve media screen that would maximize guest sightlines.
We tackled Battle for Eire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in a similar fashion. Falcon’s was the turnkey provider of the AV and media solution, which needed to maximize throughput of a VR experience in a motion simulator. While Falcon’s Digital Media was responsible for producing all of the content, Falcon’s Treehouse was a part of the project team that designed the headsets, which ultimately led to a groundbreaking new solution for VR experiences like this.
Projects are normally kicked off when someone concisely communicates the initial intentions. This helps all of us gain a general understanding of the vision and what we are committing to. We can’t expect each person across all disciplines to be intimately familiar with every detail of a project, so we rely on the people who are at the center to act as shepherds. These staffers are often the ones tracking the deliverables for the various communication tools we utilize to share progress with our clients.
One such tool is an architectural visualization. To give the client a practical understanding of how our early concepts will translate into the physical space, our media team creates an arch viz based on the design team’s drawings and CAD work. These videos show every aspect of the building, queue line, attraction, and all other relevant components.
Tools like these are an indispensable part of development and help our internal team and the client equally. They also allow us to better gauge the facility impacts and determine how to handle integration. They even help us more accurately budget scenic, construction needs, and the like.
Producer / Writer