The Flyer – San Francisco
Elevating the Sound for The Flyer in San Francisco at Pier 39
The Flyer at Fisherman’s Wharf’s Pier 39 in San Francisco is a flyover theater attraction located in an iconic tourist spot in the Bay. The Flyer’s 3D flying experience gives both tourists and locals alike a bird’s eye view of the city using cinematic artistry and state-of-the-art HD film footage captured with drones and helicopters. The footage is blended with computer-generated imagery to create an exciting 3D look of San Francisco.
The Flyer’s intention, built by the Québec-based company, Triotech, was to follow a fast-paced point-of-view narrative that documents the city and brings it vividly to life using the same types of cameras employed by Hollywood blockbusters. When The Flyer experience begins, 28 seated guests, suspended on an active-motion platform, embark on an immersive, high-definition “flight” through some of the Bay Area’s most iconic landmarks and neighborhoods. Guests are transported to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Chinatown, and more. An energetic score propels this whole aerial experience to add more emotional flavor to the ride. Because of this big, energetic score, the ride needed a sound system to match the vibrant theme park experience.
The soundtrack and sound effects were written, created, and produced by Mathieu Vachon, Audio Director for Triotech, in conjunction with Montréal-based Solotech, who integrated the audio. Three coaxial L-Acoustics X12 loudspeakers were positioned in an LCR array across the front of the attraction’s theater, behind its massive 1,100-square-foot (50’x22′) screen. Two rows of tiny 5XT speakers are mounted on the rear walls for the surround elements—one pair per side, covering and upper and lower seats—while four SB18 subwoofers complete the discrete 5.1 system, powered and processed by two LA4X amplified controllers.
It took Vachon three months to envision, compose, record, and mix the extremely dynamic soundtrack. When he was on-site at Pier 39 and heard it played through the L-Acoustics sound system, he was blown away. With such a huge orchestral score, the loudspeakers make the ride come to life. The highs came through crisp and clear, and the subs delivered a nice solid low end fulfilling the team’s goals for a vibrant birds-eye view experience of San Francisco.
I thought, ‘Wow!’ It was even better than how it sounded in the studio. Combined with the video, the final result is breathtaking, and the L-Acoustics system is a big part of The Flyer’s success.
Audio Director, Triotech
- Three coaxial X12 loudspeakers were positioned in an LCR array across the front of the attraction’s theater
- Two rows of 5XT speakers are mounted on the rear walls for the surround elements—one pair per side, covering and upper and lower seats
- Four SB18 subwoofers complete the discrete 5.1 system
- Two LA4X amplified controllers power the system