Hurry up for the fun in town! I mean…why KNOTT’s?

Knott’s Berry Farm Daytime Skyline (Photo by Knott’s Berry Farm)

For nearly one hundred years, Knott’s Berry Farm has been drawing fans from all over. What started as a small family farm in 1920 soon grew into a world famous destination thanks to Mrs. Knott’s legendary fried chicken dinners, boysenberries and an Old West Ghost Town. Since then, the once small family farm has grown into today’s 160-acre family fun destination; home to the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, Knott’s Soak City Waterpark and Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel.

Walter & Cordelia Knott at Berry Stand (Photo by Knott’s Berry Farm)

Knott’s Berry Farm has been a pioneer in utilizing VR technology to help promote their business. The first 360 degree video was captured in September 2016 on two of their roller coasters. The theme park fan website Theme Park Review was visiting Knott’s Berry Farm and lent them their GIROPTIC 360cam. The GIROPTIC was used to film 360 videos of the popular GhostRider and Silver Bullet roller coasters. “We are always looking for new and interesting ways to bring to life the experience of visiting Knott’s Berry Farm”,said Brad from Knott’s Berry Farm. “360 video provided us a great new marketing tool to do that.”

Knott’s Berry Farm has seen a substantial increase in engagement on the 360 point of view videos of their roller coasters, compared to the more traditional front point of view videos. The 360 videos are watched for a longer amount of time and receive more engagement through comments, shares and likes on major social media platforms. In addition to roller coasters, they have also used 360 videos to capture our Ghost Town Alive! interactive experience, a new Knott’s Soak City water slide and the terrifying journey through one of our Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween mazes.

GhostRider (Photo by Knott’s Berry Farm)

It is impossible not to love Knott’s Berry Farm’s 360 production Experience Ghost Town Live! after watching it. Many hours of pre-production and production went into bringing the Ghost Town Alive! 360 video to life. Ghost Town Alive!is a seasonal summer experience that brings the western themed Ghost Town area of Knott’s Berry Farm to life with over a dozen interactive actors. Guests participating in the interactive experience are part of the storyline and can influence the outcome by deciding whether to team up with the cowboys or bandits. Marketing such a unique experience was a challenge since the general public didn’t have a quick reference point to compare Ghost Town Alive! to. Roller coasters and many other new rides are much easier to explain in an image, traditional video or sentence. A 360 video would be the perfect medium to showcase and bring to life Ghost Town Alive! by making viewers feel part of the immersive story.

All of the actors, including Brutus the Donkey, are characters who are a part of Ghost Town Alive! at the park. “It was important for us to make the action depicted in the video as authentic as possible to the guest experience in the park. The actors were key to making the video believable and drawing viewers into the story.”A team of over 30 incredibly talented people (And one donkey ☺) worked together on this project. The team included members of Cramer-Krasselt, Knott’s Entertainment, Knott’s Marketing and Sean Teegarden Productions. The shoot was directed by Sean Teegarden with cinematography by Jeff Butcher and Matthew Givot.

Hoedown Dancing (Photo by Knott’s Berry Farm)

Knott’s Berry Farm’s parent company, Cedar Fair, was one of the first amusement park companies to test virtual reality on roller coasters back in 2014. One of the biggest takeaways from those tests was that providing an engaging, high-capacity VR experience on a roller coaster was a difficult challenge. There was more opportunity to create an engaging and truly groundbreaking VR experience by creating a standalone virtual reality attraction. VR Showdown In Ghost Town was created at Knott’s Berry Farm in an area of their Boardwalk Arcade that was previously utilized for laser tag. The creative teams at Cedar Fair and Knott’s Berry Farm partnered with VRstudios to develop the one-of-a-kind attraction. VRstudios provided all of the hardware and developed the 3D media using reference photographs from their real-world western themed Ghost Town area of Knott’s Berry Farm.

VR Showdown in Ghost Town (Photo by Knott’s Berry Farm)

Players go on a time traveling adventure in a virtual futuristic Ghost Town and come face-to-face with hordes of robotic enemies as you embark on a daring mission with other groups of players to defend the town. They blast, dodge and crouch through an interactive 360 degree VR world. VR Showdown In Ghost Town is the first and only permanent full motion virtual reality experience in a U.S. theme park. The one-of-a-kind immersive experience combines virtual reality and competitive gaming elements. Armed with state-of-the-art wireless virtual reality headsets and futuristic blasters, multiple players will compete against one another for the highest score and bragging rights, as part of this immersive adventure, while striving toward shared team goals. At the end of the VR competition, players are able to view and compare scores with their fellow opponents. Guests have thoroughly enjoyed the experience since it first opened in March 2017. The attraction lends itself to repeatability by their Season Passholders who come back to improve their score and see the many details contained throughout the world of the game.

Barber Painting Girl’s Mustache (Photo by Knott’s Berry Farm)

So what are you waiting for? Come to Knott’s Berry Farm to hang out, have fun, and create sweet memories!


Originally published at veer.tv on July 26, 2017.

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