“FlyOver America,” a new special venue attraction directed by Sherpas Cinema recently debuted at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., with the $30 million attraction promising to give visitors the “ride of their life.”
Employing state-of-the-art technology, the attraction will give people the sensation of soaring across the country and seeing some of its most beautiful sites and landmarks. The Statue of Liberty, paddleboats on the Mississippi River, climbers in Alaska and surfers off the coast of California are among the nearly two dozen aerial sequences featured in the 8 ½ minute film.
Visitors are strapped into seats inside a domed structure more than 60-feet in diameter. Imagery is projected onto the dome’s curved surface. Seats move in tandem with the aerials. Sound, wind, mist and even smells are added to complete the illusion of flight.
Conceived by Soaring Attractions creative director Rick Rothschild and directed by Sherpas Cinema’s Dave Mossop, “FlyOver America” was more than a year in the making and involved numerous new filmmaking techniques. Aerials were filmed on 65mm via a camera mounted to the nose of a helicopter fitted with a fisheye lens.
“We had to innovate to adapt to the limitations of the camera set up,” Mossop explained. “It’s very unusual to shoot from a helicopter with a fisheye lens. You couldn’t zoom. There was no depth of field. We had to think of filmmaking in a new way.”
“The art comes in determining what feels best to viewers and how to tell a story of America,” he added.
The attraction is a sequel to “FlyOver Canada,” also created by Sherpas Cinema, that debuted in Vancouver in 2013. It has become one of the city’s major tourist attractions, playing to sold out audiences year round.
“People laugh, scream and cry,” said Mossop. “From the moment the film starts, you’re flying.”