ADJ Lighting and LED Video Panels Create The Perfect Storm for Unique Theme Park Attraction

Beat The Storm is a thrilling interactive attraction that allows participants to fight their way through a hurricane. This experience is enhanced by intense lighting effects, created using ADJ LED-powered fixtures, which simulate overhead lightning flashes. In addition, the backdrop to the attraction incorporates a video wall, constructed from ADJ’s Vision Series high pixel pitch led panels, which displays synchronized visuals of swaying trees and blowing debris to add to the realism of the adventure.

Created by Ingus Augstkalns, who has 18 years of experience in the wind tunnel industry, Beat the Storm is a self-contained experience designed for amusement parks, science centers and museums. Suitable for a wide range of participants, aged between 4 and 80, the simulation offers three levels: ‘Wind’, for toddlers; ‘Storm’, for children and teenagers; and ‘Hurricane’, for older teens and adults. At its top wind speed of 165 km per hour (over 100 miles per hour), the experience is equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane. The first installation of the attraction opened in July 2022 at Universe Science Park in Denmark, and Ingus is now offering the concept as a turnkey solution for deployment both indoors and outdoors at locations worldwide.

Alongside the patented horizontal recirculation wind tunnel technology designed by Ingus, Beat the Storm also incorporates lighting, video, and audio effects to enhance the visitor experience. These were designed and supplied by Unique, a specialist AVL company based in Riga, Latvia, led by CEO Rihards Rubenis. The attraction’s signature lighting effect is an arrangement of ADJ Ultra Hex Bar 12 linear LED fixtures that are positioned above the glass ceiling of the wind tunnel and laid out in the shape of a lightning bolt.

“There was not a lot of space behind the glass ceiling,” explains Rihards, “so we needed a compact fixture to create the lightning effect. We also needed power, so that the effect would be visible even in the daytime. The Ultra Hex Bar 12, with its 10W per LED, was powerful enough to do the job and even more it has the UV element so all of the UV-active painted attention and direction signs are always well visible, as we use UV as background light for all light scenes. With DMX we can make very fast lightning strobes that don’t just flash on and off but are pixelated to simulate a realistic lightning strike. The lightning runs from the start line, all over the playground, up to the finish line and looks very cool in person, unfortunately pictures just don’t do it justice! Our customer also demanded only manufacturers that are known worldwide and have good after-sales service with the option to get spare parts fast. With ADJ there were no questions, as the brand is represented in many countries all over the world. In fact, the first customer for the attraction, ‘Universe Science Park’, already had ADJ fixtures installed in their other simulators.”

In addition to the lightning effect, other ADJ LED-powered fixtures are also used for general wash lighting and illumination of the décor elements of the attraction. 5PX HEX par fixtures, which feature the same 12-Watt HEX LEDs as the Ultra Hex Bar 12s, as well as MOD HEX100 pars, which utilize high output 15-Watt HEX LEDs, are used to highlight specific scenic elements. Finally, UB 12H linear fixtures, powered by 6-Watt HEX LEDs, illuminate wall sections, ensuring the attraction shines brightly after dark or when installed indoors.

To further enhance the visual aesthetic of Beat the Storm, Rihards and his team integrated an LED video wall into the backdrop of the attraction. This is constructed from 20 of ADJ’s VS2 LED panels, which each feature a 168 x 168 array of SMD2121 RGB color mixing LEDs, delivering a pixel pitch of 2.97mm. With a brightness of 1000 NITS and contrast ratio of 5000:1, the panels render exceptionally vibrant video reproduction. For the storm simulation, the video surface is used to display a series of vivid backdrops. Each scene depicts the effects of the same winds that participants are experiencing; with shaking trees, fluttering flags, and flying dust adding to the realism of the experience.

“For the LED video screen, we made a lot of tests, as initially there were several brands on table as possible options,” comments Rihards. “Some brands we canceled because of low refresh rates, as that made phone camera videos flashy and low quality, this was not a problem with the ADJ VS2. The support from ADJ was also the best, Joseph [Chardon, ADJ International Sales], in particular, was very fast in providing all the details and feedback on the tech side that we needed for the screens. Most importantly, ADJ could deliver the panels on time. The delivery was made within a month, when other brands couldn’t manage three! I also have to say that both the customer and myself have been very impressed by the LED panels’ build quality, as after a year of working we have zero dead pixels. We all know that even the most expensive screens will have some broken pixels after the first months of use, but here it’s solid as rock. That is something unseen in our industry.”

While the unique physical experience of Beat the Storm’s wind simulation is thrilling in itself, the immersive video content and engaging lighting effects designed and implemented by Rihards and his team undoubtedly enhance the attraction. The impressive lightning effect, paired with the vibrant ambient lighting and custom visuals displayed on the high-resolution LED backdrop not only increase the intensity for participants but significantly enhance the esthetics of the attraction. This serves both to attract more visitors to take part and to portray the attraction well on the inevitable social media posts made by participants.

Beat the Storm

Ingus Augstkalns

Lighting Supplier & Integrator

Project Manager (Lighting, Video and Audio)
Rihards Rubenis