In 1982, Peter Beale became President of Showscan – a revolutionary high-speed film process first used in World Fairs, tourist destination theaters and ride simulators.
This was in collaboration with Showscan’s inventor and the visionary special effects technician, Douglas Trumbull, widely known for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek. This proprietary 70mm film format played back st 60 fps and incorporated holographic sound. The combination of these technologies resulted in an experience that convinced the audience they were watching a live event – not a projected image.
The realism was further enhanced by the combination of synchronized film and motion simulation – a technology later used in the Disneyland Star Wars ride.
To achieve these ends, Showscan developed its own cameras, projectors, sound systems, special effects equipment and simulators. The engineers won an Oscar for technical achievement for their development of new camera technology. Showscan pioneered the use of long-form digital animation on film.
Other Showscan attractions included rides for Futuroscope in France; Pavilion films; and a submarine simulator at Osaka Vancouver and Seville World Fairs.
Peter then became the President of Illusion Inc. joining a team of engineers that pioneered virtual reality experiences for multi-person military applications.
Under Peter’s leadership the company developed a multi-person immersive parachute, F1 and Indy Car simulators for entertainment companies; multi-use simulators for the armed forces and hand-held command and control systems for military and civilian emergency applications. Illusion also made a number of hi-tech videos for the Pentagon.
The company also designed the presentation and set for the King Faisal Foundation’s Annual Prize (the Arab equivalent to the Nobel prize) and the opening ceremonies for the first sky scraper in Saudi Arabia, the “Faisalia”.