WHALLEY — A crash jolts you to the right. An explosion shakes your whole body. Just when you think you’ve hit the height of intensity, you’re thrown left, then right, then left again as a car tumbles down a bank after flying off a cliff.
Mike Nielsen’s eyes light up like a kid in a candy store as he talks about D-Box, a Canadian company behind state-of-the-art technology that syncs seat movement to on-screen action, making you feel like you’re literally part of the movie.
The technology is delivered through motion-enabled chairs, a controller and a set of codes.
“Immersive – it’s just an immersive experience,” Nielsen explains. “You’re moving along with the space craft or the car or whatever. Even when people are fighting, you feel it, it throws you around in the seat.”
Though he’s had D-Box set up at home for five years, Nielsen recently set up a demo inside his Whalley store, Sprite Multimedia, on the corner of 108th Avenue and King George Boulevard.
He invites anyone who’s interested to come in and check it out; sit down and take in a whole movie, he doesn’t mind.
“We’re leaving a movie playing all the time,” said Nielsen. “People are just flabbergasted.
“For me, I love science fiction so I love all the science fiction movies. But they’ve done kids movies. ‘Frozen,’ for example.”
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Hundreds of hours of programming go into syncing just one film to D-Box. To date, there are more than 1,400 supported titles.
With more than 1,100 D-Box films on his wall at home, it’s hard to argue Nielsen’s a huge fan.
Opening weekend of the latest “Star Wars” movie, “The Force Awakens,” was record-breaking for D-Box cinema sales.
“All the D-Box seating sold out before anything else. It was a huge, huge success,” Nielsen said. “People that want the uber experience go, ‘D-Box? 3D? I’m in.’”
While D-Box began in the home theatre realm (costing about $15,000 for a regular setup), the technology has been in theatres since 2009, starting with “Fast & Furious.”
Now, the majority of the company’s business is in cinemas. They’re all over the world, in dozens of countries with thousands of D-Box seats across the globe.
Here in the Lower Mainland, Cineplex’s SilverCity Riverport theatre in Richmond was the first theatre to hop aboard in 2013. SilverCity Metropolis followed, and Cineplex Cinemas Langley (formerly the Colossus) was one of the later ones.
All told, D-Box motion seats are installed in 43 of Cineplex theatre’s in Canada, including five in B.C., with more to come.
It costs about $8 more to get a D-Box seat ticket in theatre and, according to Nielsen, it’s more than worth it.
But first, you can head down to his Whalley shop to get a taste of the latest and greatest in home theatre, for free.
“We’re much more than a computer shop,” Nielsen remarked.
Sprite Multimedia is located at 13597 King George Blvd.