View Full Version : Dead House Designs New Effects Preview

12-24-2012, 11:14 AM
Here is an early tech demo of one of our new products for the convention this year. This allows an actor to act as a digital character in real time. As always let us know what you think.



12-24-2012, 11:38 AM
Watched it 3 times...sorry, I do not get it????


12-24-2012, 11:44 AM

You've seen an xbox Kinect and someone dancing around in front of it and a character on the screen is following their every move. It's that with a scary monster.


12-24-2012, 01:39 PM
One thing to keep in mind is that you want to do things that replace actors not require an actor do be digital... I'm with the previous post I don't get it. I know that XBOX kinetic is cool and a lot of people are using it now to do different things... I was talking with a guy where we could use it so your customers could kill zombies but to time up tons and tons of people its almost impossible. I think its all cool but just my opinion I would stick with stuff that doesn't require an actor to do a job of a digital actor...if that makes any sense.

Our biggest cost now is labor ... I think the big wave was buy animations and replace actors. Reality is animations don't really replace actors especially when they break ever three seconds. Some companies products don't last for 2 hours, and others can last a lifetime but reality is there are so many things that go into animations like broken sensors that could shut them down. I've found I have to pay for a ton of people just to keep animations running so we've been mostly going with actors and phasing out animations that just don't work very well.

I think going forward I'll be looking at animations that make an impact ONLY and from there focus on actors, and for that costumes will rule the day. I think you guys do some cool stuff I would just focus on things that don't require labor to operate it!


12-24-2012, 02:28 PM
Well I think we can all agree that the ability of dimensional figures to replicate what an actor can do in a costume is a long way off to being affordable to this industry. There are plenty of vendors that provide simple animations for this industry and are exceptional at what they do. Furthermore there are vendors out there high quality figures but they are so far out of our budgets its unreasonable. So how can we find a middle ground where we can capture the intent of an actor and apply it to something an actor couldn't wear? That's why we approach it from the digital realm. When running it in real time think of it as a digital costume for an actor.

With letting an actor actually run it you gain the ability of interaction physically as well as audibly. The ability to engage the customers with a fully automated system effectively is something we will not see happening even from our large theme park brethren anytime in the near future. Putting a human in the loop allows that level of interactivity.

A video of a digital character is something at least one vendor in this industry offers and there are thousands of animation houses out there that will be more than happy to create a character animation for you. Again we are not trying to replicate that, instead to take your actor, whom you have trained, and is working from your creative vision is something you won't get easily from a canned animation. If you're really intent on just running a loop without an actor it is easy enough to capture a data stream from the Kinect and play it back, again allowing you or your actor to create the animation and then playing it back in a canned fashion thus preserving your creative intent and allowing you to change the animations whenever you see fit.

While digital systems aren't maintenance free they reduce the labor required significantly over physical systems, particularly animation. Even costumes require consistent repairs and upkeep etc... And many of them require fitting, makeup etc... A digital system can make anyone dressed in their normal clothes look like a zombie thing with no arms.

There is no singular solution right, as with everything its finding a mixture of different types of effects to get your intent across. Our larger theme park brethren are heavily integrating digital effects into their newest attractions and it seems natural that our industry will follow suite accordingly in our own way. Our primary intent as a company is to try and move in directions others aren't. That's why we focus so heavily on the interactivity side of things using real time processing instead of pre-rendered scenes.

And as with everything we do we do all of this in house and thus are pretty well versed in what we are creating. So if you Larry, or anyone else for that matter likes a direction we are going but needs a different spin on it to make it work in their business model just talk to us and maybe we can work something out. The ability to run canned animations with this systems for example.


12-25-2012, 12:57 PM
Maybe its because we also work with digital effects, but I like it! I see the potential in what you're creating here nad can see a lot of interesting applications for the effect. I think the lighting is the best part of the effect, by the way. By using such a harsh and directional lightsource the character steps out of the shadows in a really creepy and abrupt way. I think it could be very scary if the owner takes the time to implement it correctly. You guys always push haunt technology in new and interesting ways. I'm looking forward to seeing what else you've done this year!

12-26-2012, 03:54 AM
I guess its me but I think if you make a digital character then just make it digital programed to do something, rather than buy the effect, then have to pay an actor to do it... seems counter productive. I think when you are trying to make these effects you want to appear to the mass majority of buyers and I think more buyers would want a digital effect that does whatever that scares the guests without having to pay an actor to do it, not the other way around.

Personally I can't relate to what Kip said because as an owner of a haunt I know how expensive labor costs have become inside a haunt... I'm not looking to pay actors to do something a digital animation should be able to do itself. Sounds cool just don't think it will appeal to the mass majority of haunt owners.

Just make a digital monster that attacks, eats flesh, and scares people with no actor needed... that I'm interested in! On the flip side I'm happy to see people using XBOX technology for uses in a haunted house, Distortions show has Microsofts show do something, you guys are doing something all cool stuff... bring on new technology but lets do it without an actor. How about more of what the customers do to make the tech work in the haunt.


Jim Warfield
12-26-2012, 05:32 AM
The customer sees the tv actor in costume, or with limbs missing or "genetically" modified , they become all engrossed in this incredible "costume",(which is not an actual costume at all)
Then the actor steps around the corner with the same face, the same voice but looks totally different otherwise!
(And those customers guessed it would have taken them a lot longer to get out of the costume than that!)
Threatening to get out of the costume could even be a part of the routine, followed by the actual physical presence of the actor.
I think anything CAN be made to work. As exampled by thestuff I use to "get" my patrons here, along with a creative design idea or storyline.

12-26-2012, 08:35 AM
I liked the digital bugs and maggots. Other than that I have yet to see a digital effect that I have found effective personally or even realistic looking enough to make me think I am not just standing in front of a digital effect, whether it replaces an actor or not.

12-26-2012, 08:39 AM
I think you could put these in the same category as the actor controlled puppets that Gore Galore has been putting out. You need an actor to control them, but the actor isn't actually what is interacting with the customer. Now sure, the puppets are different in a lot of ways but my point is a decent amount of people buy those puppets to make an actor's performance better. I think this product is aimed at doing the same thing.

12-26-2012, 09:53 AM
I think they are different and cool to a point. I just have not seen one where I can use it in my haunt and I have tried. They are to long and to me to get the effect they would have to stand and watch the whole thing. I need something thats 30 seconds and keep hoping that one will come out. I got to keep people moving in my haunt I really don't even have any dark mazes because we NEED TO KEEP FOLKS MOVING THROUGH and for them to stand there a minute or two would just cause chaos for me and my staff. The video he posted I don't get even though I liked the bugs and stuff and I have always loved Kips stuff. Shane and it's I would like to see more!

Greg Chrise
12-26-2012, 11:22 AM
The way to think about the Gore Galore puppets is they have a very elaborate costume, not that it takes up an actor to make it happen. Plus this same guy can leave that position and interact with people or turn around and interact with another crowd if the set up is planned.

Maybe if this digital thing was recorded it would make a nice back drop way back while so many other things are happening but not a stand alone effect. Using the actor to tape the end effect could become 10 zombies coming up to windows or something creepy.

12-26-2012, 12:57 PM
Open Mind, Insert Potential....

Obviously we're not privy to the whole picture here, but I think this is best meant for custom video effects on a recorded level. I can see a couple REALLY good uses for this IF the product is robust enough to be able to extend into advanced effects- like controlling multiple objects on screen at once/ backgrounds /characters etc.

If a "toolbox" of tools doesn't come with it then a lot of creative people will be left out by the difficulty in getting what they want.

I like it so far, but will it be priced for your average haunt budgets or for mega haunt budgets?

12-26-2012, 02:25 PM
I think there are several great points made on this thread and I hope this REALLY helps Dead House Design pick a direction... for the record I look forward to seeing their booth more so than any other. I can really relate to these guys because I'm a detail person, and a tech person... I started using CGI FX in my haunt before anyone ever started a company to sell such things... so understand I'm digging them 110%.

I think digital FX has been something new and different for the haunt industry and when done right can really add a cherry on top of the ice scream! LOL

However I'm going to agree on some of the points made... for one I don't agree they are like a gore galore costume. A gore galore costume can chase you down a hallway no digital fx can do that. A gore galore costume can go outside, inside, move around and go where ever you'd like it to. I don't see the relation there... I also agree with Shanes point as well!

Haunts are FAST MOVING so anything you do has to be quick and to the point otherwise they don't get seen at all. So most digital fx you can't really use if you all about high output... on tour driven haunts which btw there are very few of these things are the best! I'm not going to buy something that is seen by maybe 10% of my customers because whats the point... see the point.

I'm also going to agree with another poster who said chill out we don't know exactly what the FX will do because he's right... however if we are left to assume then it will be an FX stationed in one place and it will be on a TV or projector and with fog in the haunt, low lighting, and everything else I just can't imagine it being what haunts need from the xbox technology. But going back to what that poster said he's right we don't know exactly so we could be wrong.

Bottom line and hopefully all these points help DHD to pick a direction to provide something we all could want and use. And like I said I look forward to seeing their booth the most ... I like how they are trying new things! Kudos! However just make the right thing!


12-26-2012, 02:51 PM
It's a good idea however it depends on it's price point, implementation, and parts.

01-09-2013, 09:41 PM
This would be great for giving out back story for a haunt or even reading off the rules .....and if you have some jackoff in the crowd making it hard for others to hear you could call them out .....it such a better idea than having your customers watch a TV for this
this has so much potential you just need to think a lil deeper into it...........

01-10-2013, 02:53 AM
This definitely has fascinating possibilities.


Dark Tiki Studios
01-24-2013, 03:24 PM
This is LIKE a puppet, but just think about how much further this takes the concept! The animated "puppet" can be almost ANYTHING. A zombie with a complete hole through its chest, HALF of a walking corpse, a giant made of branches, a dragon... ANYTHING that can be created in the digital world. And if you put your "puppeteer" actor in a position to see/hear your guests, just imagine the interactivity that is possible! A floating witch torso that can ask your guest why he wore that awful shirt. An animated skeleton that can call out a guest's name! The animated "puppet" could even feasibly point at guests, or towards objects of interest... in REAL TIME. This IS a leap forward in entertainment technology. Disney has invested heavily in this same type of technology over the past few years, and they use it at their parks, to great effect. This is the future. Its uses are only limited by your imagination.

damon carson
01-24-2013, 03:44 PM
Im with the haunt owners perspective. How bout you reverse what it does if possible. Cut out the actor! If this is at all possible or not. But how bout a monster or character used w the kinect that could react with the customers movements? They step back it moves forward at them. They dont run it does something interactive like appears to tiptoe or sneak up on them. Something a bit more interactive and realistic. And saves the haunt owner an actor or two?! Just a thought.

01-24-2013, 06:25 PM
It can do all three. You can have an actor running it real time. You can pre-record motions and play them back. And you could turn it around and point it at the crowd and let them have fun with it.

Our job isn't to tell you what to do with it or how to use it. Our job is to provide a platform that offers as much freedom as we can reasonably cram into it and then let your imaginations run wild.

Trust me guys your suggestions are being heard. We will incorporate as much of them as possible within the constraints of time and resources. We really hope this is an effect guests can enjoy and will give you as an operator/owner a new tool with which to tell your story.


01-24-2013, 10:12 PM
Good deal! I think you guys are really creative but I'd like to see you guys hit a home run with something. The one thing I told Patrick Magee many years ago ... keep in mind he's probably the best sculptor in this entire industry. I told him that he's too creative he just hops over peoples heads. You can't make things at least if you want to sell them, you can't make things that you like you have to make stuff for the people who will buy them. The mass majority of haunts are what? They use what? They do what?

Then its what is the average they are willing to spend what are their constraints... you factor all this in and spit out the product.

You don't want to get so creative you pass the market by... you guys have some serious talent I believe! Just figure out what the majority of the industry would want first and foremost.