LAS VEGAS -- Rolling out at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions annual trade show was an array of new photobooths and enhancements from Fantasy Entertainment. Seven new models, expanded Internet interoperability and support for Sony's state-of-the-art dye sublimation printing technology gave the Fantasy Entertainment team much to demonstrate and discuss at the firm's 2009 IAAPA exhibit.
Three coin-operated photobooths were introduced at the show: Foldin' Photos, StudioX and Foto Game Zone. The first offers Fantasy's most versatile output yet. The patron gets four poses and a choice of graphic theme, combining to yield eight full-color images on exclusive glossy perforated print stock. With each image showcased individually and within a group of four pictures, simply removing the prints' releasable backings and folding the photos back on themselves creates four durable double-sided photo cards.
Also new in the Foldin' Photos booth are two themes that add a unique entertainment dimension to the pleasures of photobooth use. "Strike a Pose" prompts each user to produce funny gestures and facial expressions; "Pop Art" is a filtering program that generates photos with a distinctively "Warhol-esque" appearance.
StudioX offers the patron an array of "intense" options for personalizing the output. The image can be edited by use of a range of texture, color and element themes, or by adding one of many "extreme" frame designs. After customization is complete, the built-in StudioX "graphic designer" uses the toolbar to render the completed picture before the customer's eyes. Prints are made on 4" x 6" glossy paper, using dye-sublimation printing.
Foto Game Zone is aimed specifically at "family-friendly" restaurants and entertainment centers, delivering unusual 8-1/2" x 14" prints that combine the highly prized Fantasy photobooth experience with a range of appealing activities such as puzzle pages, coloring pages and "fortune tellers" that keep young children engaged and involved. This booth's exterior can be customized to complement any decor and, if desired, promote brand awareness; the many available "activity pages" also can be customized with the location's logo and theme. According to the manufacturer, the machine's low operating and paper costs contribute to attractive profit margins and return on the operator's investment.
A centerpiece of Fantasy Entertainment's new-product cavalcade is the online BlabaBooth and companion website, permitting installation of a turnkey integrated social networking system. A session begins with the selection of novelty graphics to accentuate the perforated strips on which hardcopy images are delivered locally, and ends with video playback of the session on external monitors, allowing the fun experience to be relived and shared while the photos are printed. At the close of the session, photo and video content may be uploaded to the Internet by means of a cellular modem. The company also offers a cellular service plan.
At the bottom of each photo strip printed by BlabaBooth, the patron finds a unique code for use in claiming the photos and video from blababooth.com, the program website. This site is said to offer seamless integration with the most popular social networking, blogging and instant messaging services, so the customer's images are easily shared with friends, family and the "blogosphere" in general.
The BlabaBooth offers a choice of color or monochrome (black-and-white or sepia) prints, and delivers two strips to "Tear and Share." It displays an instant replay of the video while the photos are printing. The photos uploaded to the website may be downloaded in JPEG format for printing at home, and offers patrons the choice of keeping them private or making them public. The video captured during the photobooth experience can be played on the website, which also offers competitions, prizes and other incentives to visitors.
Also on display at the IAAPA show were the Legend and Retro photobooths, based on a new lightweight frame architecture. The novel structure, designated the "Mid-Size Frame" by the company, is formed of anodized aluminum, to which the plastic laminate and wood enclosure is assembled for a total weight of just 380 lbs. The midsize frame is fitted with "steerable" casters and can partially collapse for easy transport. The main cabinet and bench section can be separated, and the roof folds, for a collapsed footprint 36" wide x 26" deep -- slender enough to fit through a 28" door. When erected for service, the booth's footprint is 36" x 64". The structure is 73" high.
The booths based on this design, like Legend and Retro, feature bench-style seating (to accommodate groups) and extra legroom, when compared to the modular-style frame. Exterior panels may be branded or otherwise customized, and the design can support as many as three optional exterior monitors for video playback. Booths are supplied with a removable top sign and non-slip diamond-tread flooring. They are designed for operation at retail locations and events.
Fantasy Entertainment took advantage of the IAAPA Attractions Expo to discuss its support of the new dye-sublimation printer and paper technology developed by Sony Corp.'s Digital Photofinishing Systems. The new perforated paper permits fast delivery of high-quality prints in convenient "Tear & Share" form.
"We're pleased to participate with Fantasy Entertainment in this important announcement," said Belinda LoPresti, senior manager of marketing for the Sony business unit. "Their deep worldwide customer base will allow us to quickly and broadly deliver this innovative product." Moreover, she said, Fantasy photobooths will offer consumers around the world the chance to experience the outstanding quality of prints made by Sony's UP-CX1 printer in "historic photo strip form."
Fantasy Entertainment vice-president and general manager Steve White observed that 2010 will mark the 85th anniversary of the first photobooth patent, and the company takes pride in its continuing efforts to sustain the progress of the historic amusement and popular art form.
Fantasy Entertainment is based in Salem, NH, and maintains a website at fantasyent.com.