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Inside the Illuminarium, the $30 million spectacle that’s like walking into a film

A $30 million spectacle is opening in Atlanta next month that proposes a new kind of post-pandemic experience. Blurring elements of film, immersive environments, and theatrical design, the space, called Illuminarium, hopes to bring visitors together indoors in a room that can be transformed through video projection, lidar-based interactive digital elements, sound, and special effects to replicate any place in the world—or beyond.

The concept is something like walking into a high-definition documentary film, which is being projected on walls 350 feet wide and 22 feet tall and also on the ground, creating an immersive space not just to watch but to move through and interact with. The first experience produced for Illuminarium is a safari across Africa, taking visitors into the bush and savanna to see lions and leopards up close. A second experience, now in production, will put visitors on the surface of the moon, where their footsteps across the venue will appear to kick up moon dust.

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