‘Sharknado 2′ 4D Technology to Take On-Screen Storm to Next Level


Sharknado 2: The Second One will premiere on Wednesday, July 30, on the SyFy channel and many viewers are anxiously waiting to see if it will live up to the original over-the-top 2013 film that created a social media storm. But it turns out the follow-up film will already have a built-in advantage over the first flick, besides word of mouth. In order to celebrate the premiere of the sequel to the unlikely pop culture phenomenon, SyFy has teamed up with Phillips lighting company to create an app-controlled ambient lighting soundtrack made to enhance the audience experience.

Basically, viewers who have both the SyFy Sync app on their iPhones or iPads and Phillips Hue bulbs will be able to watch Sharknado 2, starring Tara Reid and Ian Ziering, with a specially designed “visual soundtrack” that each company says will take the movie to whole other level. According to the press release from SyFy, the app detects audio cues from the movie and links them to the light bulbs in your home over Wi-Fi. In addition to simply turning some bulbs off, the Hue system can also create other lighting effects, such as changing the color or hue of certain bulbs to match the increasingly high winds and stormy conditions portrayed in the movie.

The feature is a new way to promote fan interaction and it’s actually a nationwide first. The Sharknado 2 premiere will mark the first ever U.S. broadcast to introduce 4D technology that allows a viewer’s television to control the lighting in their room.

“With a fan base that’s always looking for new ways to interact with our content, we’re happy to give them an innovative way take it to the next level,” Matthew Chiavelli, SyFy’s Vice President of Digital Media & Strategy, said while announcing the feature. “Syfy Sync has always been a multiplatform play, and now the action makes the leap from the television and second screen to an even more immersive Sharknado viewing experience with Philips Hue.”

Fans who can’t catch Sharknado 2 during its television premiere can also still experience the lighting cue track for themselves. The feature also works with the first Sharknado film, so viewers can try it out while catching it during one of its regular plays on the SyFy channel or — as many already have it — recorded on their own DVR.

While the pairing may seem odd at first, it actually makes sense that Sharknado would be the film to debut this TV-mobile app feature. First of all, as viewers of the first movie know, it has no shortage of loud scenes with the huge, deadly shark-filled tornado and all. That makes it easy for the app to pick up on audio cues. Secondly, the films already boast a highly interactive audience. So many viewers took to social media to talk about how “so bad, it’s good” the first film was (as Rotten Tomato puts it), that the movie ironically ended up garnering a real cult following. In fact, SyFy is so confident in the franchise that it has already signed on for a third Sharknado movie.

In any case, the 4D technology might be worth trying out for fans who have both required systems and are looking to take the cinematic event that is Sharknado 2 to new heights. The movie premieres on SyFy on Wednesday at 9 p.m.

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