Author Archives: Ashley Nolan
Author Archives: Ashley Nolan
This mobile escape room adventure was commissioned by Magnify Entertainment for a publicity tour prior to the release of the motion picture The Purge Anarchy. It was designed to be an experience based on that movie. Two long truck trailers were joined side-to-side to create a single “house” filled with detailed sets, props, puzzles and a few scares. Two sets of these travelled to selected major US cities in the weeks leading up to and following the release of the movie. We were contracted to design and install a system to control lighting and multi-track audio playback to run both escape rooms simultaneously from a central control room. We also provided onsite technical support during the fabrication phase in New Orleans.
This fantail costume piece was designed exclusively for Katy Perry and was worn during her live performance of the song “Peacock” on the David Letterman Show. We worked directly with the costume designer to create a show that synchronized the 44 embedded neon lights to both the song and to Ms. Perry’s performance. During the live performance, lighting control was provided by our VenueMagic show control system, which also provided an audio “click-track” to help musicians stay in sync with the light show.
Situated on roughly 10 acres of land in Olney Maryland, Field of Screams is an award winning haunted attraction that benefits the Olney Boys and Girls Club. The park includes 4 separate attractions: a 4500 sq. ft. haunted house, a 30 min haunted trail with multiple buildings, a corn maze and a zombie-themed paintball excursion. We were tasked with designing all of the lighting effects, audio and prop control for approximately 40 zones that encompassed all 4 attractions. Everything was pre-programmed and controlled from central locations using our VenueMagic show control system. Starting and stopping each attraction was simply a matter of clicking a mouse button.
An old, abandoned theater in downtown Los Angeles was converted into a high-end haunted house just in time for the Halloween season. For 30 days, the Variety Arts Center was transformed into the Blumhouse of Horrors which included themes and “horrors” inspired by the motion pictures Insidious and Paranormal Activity. Blumhouse Productions, the designer and financer of the project, spared no expense creating an elaborate, horrifying haunt that spanned dozens of rooms and an 800-seat theater. Rooms included actors and an assortment of audio, lighting and prop effects with many hidden controls and sensors to create a frightening interactive experience. All lighting, audio, props, fog and other effects were programmed and controlled from a central location using our VenueMagic show control system. We were contracted to provide design consulting and technical support during setup. We also provided operations management throughout much of the time it was open to the public.
As part of its Peer 225 Sea Lion Show, the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, commissioned the creative artists of the Jim Henson Creature Shop to create characters for a preshow to accompany the main show. We were contracted by Henson to program all of the animatronics characters—a seagull, a pelican and some feeder shrimp—and to interface character control into the exhibits main show control system. Services we provided included animatronics programming and onsite installation and technical support.
Don Nolan, President and CEO of Entertainment Science Group, has enjoyed over 30 years of software development experience in a variety of industries, including robotics, factory automation, aerospace and telecommunications. He holds a degree in Engineering and Computer Science from California State University at Northridge. Don’s greatest love, however, has always been the entertainment industry, where he spent much of his early years working with his father doing motion picture visual effects work. In 1995, Don founded Entertainment Sciences Group, which has since been devoted to innovating software and hardware technologies related to entertainment applications.
At a very young age, Don became fascinated by dark rides, particularly the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disneyland. This fascination later led Don to develop a simple computer program to run haunted houses and other venues at the local schools. In time, this simple program grew into something much more sophisticated and VenueMagic® was born. Today, VenueMagic is used all over the world, not only by haunted houses, but also by theaters, live performers, museums, theme parks and even by DJ’s and night clubs. VenueMagic includes powerful animatronics programming tools and has been used extensively by companies such as Disney and Universal Studios.
Don continues to do contract work in the entertainment industry in addition to pushing forward the work of improving VenueMagic. Don also enjoys video production and music composition, incorporating these into as many projects as he is permitted to.
Ben Holmes joined the company in 2009, bringing with him a large assortment of colorful hats. Ben holds a degree in Information Systems and Technologies from Weber State University and is well versed in all of the state-of-the-art internet and network development tools. He is also expert in the installation of audio/visual, lighting, network systems, and in overall show control system architecture. And that’s just one box of the hats he wears. Another box includes hats for project management, webmaster, electronic design & manufacturing, 3-D CAD, CNC, servo control systems, quality assurance, customer support, carpentry, cabling and a plethora of other useful (often disparate) skills that greatly enhance the scope of the services we can provide for our customers.
Ben excels at onsite integration and support. His broad skill set combined with a strong talent for troubleshooting makes him an essential player in all of our contract work. His willingness to go the extra mile often finds him assisting other onsite contractors with their own technical issues just to make sure the overall project is completed on time.
Ben’s multi-role function as VP of Product Development and VP of Services puts him in a perfect position to keep the company well connected with the latest in technological innovations from a variety of industries and disciplines.
Ashley Currier has been with the company for 5 years and is also a wearer of several hats. When not acting as the main face of our customer support team, Ashley is our go-to person for product testing, web design, graphics design, photography, videography and in-house IT. She is also in charge of video tutorial production for our VenueMagic and ShowNodes products. When not working, Ashley loves listening to the waves and watching the sun set with her family
Barry Nolan retired from the Motion Picture Industry in 1993 where he had over 25 years of experience in special photographic effects. He has worked on close to 100 feature films. He is also credited as Visual Effects Supervisor on over a dozen features including King Kong (1976), Flash Gordon (1980), Dune (1984), Red Sonja (1985), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1986), SpaceCamp (1986) and Leviathan (1989). Barry was a pioneer in the development of electronic technologies for the visual effects industry and was the first to successfully introduce electronic compositing into a feature length motion picture in 1980 (Flash Gordon).
Barry works as a creative consultant and electronics design engineer. He also assists in video and visual effect production as needed on projects.