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Unidirectional versus Concentric

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  • Ryan Wyatt
    ... I find this very interesting, and I would love to figure out a way to test how general your response is. AMNH may already have the data in hand, from
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 25 9:14 AM
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      On Aug 25, 2006, at 11:10 AM, Mark C. Petersen wrote:

      > I had an "eye-opening" experience at IPS, when I saw the New York
      > Hayden show "Cosmic Collisions". I had seen the show before -- in
      > New York at Hayden, where they have concentric seating. The
      > version shown in Melbourne had been re-rendered for unidirectional
      > seating, wherein all the action was moved "to the front."

      > I found it quite remarkable to note that -- for me, anyway -- the
      > unidirectional show was way, WAY more effective.

      I find this very interesting, and I would love to figure out a way to
      test how general your response is. AMNH may already have the data in
      hand, from surveys and such that we conduct as part of our funding,
      so I'd like to see if there's generally better comprehension and
      affective response in a unidirectional setting.

      Has anyone else created both concentric and unidirectional versions
      of their shows? Is there other content with which we could test this
      hypothesis?

      Before I joined the Rose Center team, I was a vocal proponent of
      unidirectional seating (now I'm simply not vocal), and I have to
      admit that my main positive feelings about the concentric environment
      have to do with the interesting challenges of working in the space.
      That said, one effect that truly works best in the space is rising
      (or sinking) vertically into or out of an environment -- e.g., rising
      off the ocean floor or landing on Mars in "Search for Life." Having
      the horizon surrounding the audience is a very powerful shared
      experience. Otherwise, concentric feels more like a liability than
      an asset.

      Of course, our theater also has to accommodate a star projector in
      the center of the theater, which demands a springline of a certain
      height, etc. The idea of having an omnidirectional theater in which
      the audience is pushed up into the sphere a bit more... I find that
      intriguing. Although it works perhaps more as a venue than a theater.

      Anyway, I'll keep y'all posted to see if I can mine any data from our
      surveys about the dome configuration. Or perhaps we can structure
      our next batch of surveys to see if we can get those kind of results.


      Ryan, a.k.a.
      Ryan Wyatt, Science Visualizer
      Rose Center for Earth & Space
      American Museum of Natural History
      79th Street at Central Park West
      New York, NY 10024
    • Ryan Wyatt
      Posted for Larry Ciupik: ... Hi -- At Adler, we have two theaters that have seating (typically) arranged in these two ways. Over the years we have done a
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 25 10:35 AM
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        Posted for Larry Ciupik:

        ===

        > Has anyone else created both concentric and unidirectional versions
        > of their shows? Is there other content with which we could test
        > this hypothesis?

        Hi --

        At Adler, we have two theaters that have seating (typically) arranged
        in these two ways. Over the years we have done a number of show
        evaluations in our older concentric-seating theater (the Sky
        Theater). These repeatedly found a major visitor complaint to be
        images that they could not see (or had difficulty seeing) due to
        images projected behind them (or at difficult to see angles), even
        without asking a leading question such as, "Could you see everything
        well?" We, therefore, reproduce our projected images on both sides
        of the dome whenever possible and that reduced the complaint (some
        still had trouble seeing "through" the Zeiss projector, though
        <<grin>>). Obviously, one usually cannot double images in the sky
        when one wants to create a scene on a planet, or in another
        "realistic" environment. However, since we have portable seats in
        the older theater, we could create a unidirectional environment.
        That would reduce seating capacity (and revenue) on the busiest days,
        so we have not taken that option.

        Note: Few complaints about seeing everything come from visitors
        seeing shows in the StarRider Theater, since it has unidirectional
        seating.

        Best wishes!
        Larry

        ***************************************
        Larry A. Ciupik
        Astronomer
        Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
        1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
        Chicago, Illinois 60605
        Email: lciupik@...
        URL: http://www.adlerplanetarium.org

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      • Ken Miller - GOTO USA
        Posted by: Ryan Wyatt Fri Aug 25, 2006 9:21 am (PST) ... Dear Ryan, Modern starball type opto-mechanical projectors don t demand any specific springline
        Message 3 of 15 , Aug 26 10:48 PM
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          Posted by: "Ryan Wyatt" Fri Aug 25, 2006 9:21 am (PST)

          > Of course, our theater also has to accommodate a star projector in
          > the center of the theater, which demands a springline of a certain
          > height, etc. The idea of having an omnidirectional theater in which
          > the audience is pushed up into the sphere a bit more...

          Dear Ryan,

          Modern starball type opto-mechanical projectors don't demand any
          specific springline height. All that's necessary is that the center of
          the starball be at the center of the dome's curvature whenever it's
          expected to show an accurate sky. The dome can be high, low, 180º,
          165º, tilted, flat,... it really doesn't matter. It's generally an
          architect, doorway heights, an administrator's personal preference, or
          local building code inspectors that set springline heights, not the
          requirements of an opto-mechanical starball.

          By the way, my personal favorite dome is one I worked in years ago that
          has a roughly 5 foot high springline, and a single bench seat around the
          perimeter. The audience is free to stand, walk around, and experience
          the full sky to their own personal horizon whenever they like. And it's
          served by an opto-mechanical projector. (Pacific Science Center,
          Seattle, WA)

          Ken Miller

          =======================================================
          Ken Miller "See the new GOTO HYBRID PLANETARIUMS!"
          GOTO USA Liaison
          346 ILIMANO ST.
          KAILUA, HI 96734
          Toll Free from USA: 1-(888) 847-5800
          International: 1-(808) 254-1898
          Fax: 1-(808) 254-1502
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          =======================================================
        • Erik Roberts
          ... AMNH productions exploit the geometry of the dome for maximum affect on the viewer s sense of space. By obeying the geometry, the image should be more
          Message 4 of 15 , Aug 26 11:38 PM
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            > one effect that truly works best in the space is rising
            > (or sinking) vertically into or out of an environment -- e.g., rising
            > off the ocean floor or landing on Mars in "Search for Life." Having
            > the horizon surrounding the audience is a very powerful shared
            > experience. Otherwise, concentric feels more like a liability than
            > an asset.

            AMNH productions exploit the geometry of the dome for maximum
            affect on the viewer's sense of space. By obeying the geometry, the
            image should be more engaging. From an aesthetic point of view, the
            centricity of the screen is it's greatest asset.

            > The idea of having an omnidirectional theater in which
            > the audience is pushed up into the sphere a bit more... I find that
            > intriguing. Although it works perhaps more as a venue than a theater.
            >

            Ryan, would you also say that omni suits visual-music and other
            non-representational genres of fulldome - your two personal films,
            for instance?

            Larry Ciupik (Adler Planetarium) recently wrote:

            "At Adler, we have two theaters that have seating (typically) arranged
            in these two ways... Few complaints about seeing everything
            come from visitors seeing shows in the StarRider Theater, since it has
            unidirectional seating."

            I understand that certain shows have been released in two
            versions - uni and omni - to cater for both types of theaters. Do you
            think that this will continue to be the case? Is it viable to convert,
            say, a successful visual-music show like SonicVision, to uni? Are
            the creativity, time and costs involved in doing this prohibitive?
            If not, could this be a way out - to design for both formats... ?

            Thanks for any insights you can share,

            erik
          • Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby
            Ah yes Don... let us hope...;-) ... chronic underfunding and dominance of education only mindsets of the gatekeepers. ... David M.. thanks for the link to
            Message 5 of 15 , Aug 27 2:48 PM
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              Ah yes Don... let us hope...;-)

              >>Let us hope the potential of this medium is not allowed to stagnate due to
              chronic underfunding and dominance of 'education only' mindsets of the
              gatekeepers.

              >>Don Davis

              David M.. thanks for the link to Courchesne... any more like that??? I'm
              looking for ideas to share with my students... inspirations which are
              outside of the trad astronomy use, and which transcend the tendency to think
              in gimmicks.. work that has something to say???

              hue

              --
              Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby
              Multi Media Development Specialist
              ARTS Lab
              University of New Mexico
            • david mcconville
              ... Hue, As far as art projects using fulldome video, check out: Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium: http://www.blackshoals.net Celestial Mechanics:
              Message 6 of 15 , Aug 27 7:24 PM
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                At 05:48 PM 8/27/2006, Hue wrote:
                >David M.. thanks for the link to Courchesne... any more like that??? I'm
                >looking for ideas to share with my students... inspirations which are
                >outside of the trad astronomy use, and which transcend the tendency to think
                >in gimmicks.. work that has something to say???

                Hue,

                As far as art projects using fulldome video, check out:

                Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium: http://www.blackshoals.net
                Celestial Mechanics: http://www.cmlab.com
                Dream Temple: http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/itoi/itoi11-20-01.asp#1
                Cupola: http://www.icinema.unsw.edu.au/projects/prj_cupola.html

                I'm also an admirer of media artist Michael Naimark's work -
                http://www.naimark.net Though he works in many forms of immersive
                installations, he created early "outside-looking-in" dome experiments at
                MIT and has some great writeups about Omnimax and other things.

                Buckminster Fuller was a major proponent of the power of dome-based
                environments for relating large volumes of in short amounts of time (aptly
                referred to as "visual bandwidth" by Ed Lantz) in a concept he called
                "Geoscope". You can hear a podcast about this concept at
                http://www.stranova.com/ourcurrentpodcas.html

                I would greatly appreciate hearing from any of you about other dome
                experiments that have happened within artistic and non-astronomical
                frameworks...

                cheers,
                david


                --------------------------
                david mcconville
                http://www.elumenati.com
                612.605.0826 x5
              • Erik Roberts
                Here are several short extracts from an an art project outline by UK sonic artist Pip Greasley, who is no stranger to the dome. I think most people would agree
                Message 7 of 15 , Aug 30 10:23 PM
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                  Here are several short extracts from an an art project
                  outline by UK sonic artist Pip Greasley, who is no stranger
                  to the dome. I think most people would agree that his
                  soundtrack for "Astronaut" is a tour de force and gives the
                  vision a shifting emotional layer that augments the whole
                  experience very effectively. Here he is speaking out loud
                  about his impressions of full-dome. The more you think
                  about his observations the more perceptive they appear,
                  for me anyway. It suggests that, ultimately, the issue
                  about blurring the boundaries between cinema and immersive
                  video and the supposed threat of the planetarium profession
                  lowering its standards may be unfounded. Pip is saying what
                  I have always believed - that the dome is a whole new
                  medium - we don't really understand its psychological and
                  perceptual properties just yet.

                  (The last thing I want to do is offend any one on this
                  list, so please forgive my unbridled enthusiasm and sense
                  of hope that full-dome fills me with.)

                  cameraderie

                  http://www.subtletechnologies.com/symposium/Greasley.html

                  It's unlike any conventional format 00 even 180, and
                  because it's fully immersive, there is no fixed frame, no
                  spatial reference point around which to wrap sound. It's as
                  though the envelope of the dome takes control of the space
                  and the once static viewpoint is free to roam. It's flipped
                  conventions; where once image defined viewpoint, sound now
                  guides the viewer through the field of vision.... As I was
                  being transported by the smart CGI imagery into a new
                  spatial infinity, I was still aware of the physicality of
                  architecture around me. It was though the building would
                  materialise and dissolve away revealing an alternate
                  fictive space..... So, the strangest phenomenon of all was
                  an almost hallucinatory sensation where neither fictive nor
                  real worlds were quite in focus. Somehow the soundtrack was
                  reading as a real acoustic space whilst the projected
                  imagery seemed to become embodied within the domed surface.
                  (Pip Greasley, composer of "Astronaut")
                • Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby
                  yes yes yes! Our domes are story telling (I use the term VERY loosely... just because we include a temporal element) spaces which, in a way, predate the
                  Message 8 of 15 , Aug 31 9:49 AM
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                    yes yes yes!

                    Our domes are"story telling" (I use the term VERY loosely... just because we
                    include a temporal element) spaces which, in a way, predate the frame...
                    these spaces relate more to the campfire... and the dream... and what
                    happens in our heads when we "hear" a story or an idea or a description of a
                    place or an experience... the way we build ourselves into such a mental
                    image...

                    I like to think of our domes as magical cauldrons... or as the outer
                    extension of our craniums... I look up into my empty dome and in a very
                    visceral way I "feel" the underside of the top of my skull filling with the
                    ideas I want to see on the dome...

                    and I really believe that we are not just inventing... but RE-inventing how
                    to tell a story (or poem, or idea, or exeprience)... getting back in touch
                    with the pre-frame imagination...

                    hue

                    --
                    Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby
                    Multi Media Development Specialist
                    ARTS Lab
                    University of New Mexico
                  • Erik Roberts
                    ... Hi Hue, so helpful to have these glimpses of how you think about designing / producing for the dome - these are wonderful analogies and your idea that
                    Message 9 of 15 , Aug 31 10:06 PM
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                      > .. getting back in touch
                      > with the pre-frame imagination...

                      > domes as magical cauldrons... or as the outer
                      > extension of our craniums...

                      > spaces which, in a way, predate the frame..

                      > the campfire... and the dream

                      > .. I look up into my empty dome and in a very visceral
                      > way I "feel" the underside of the top of my skull filling
                      > with the ideas

                      Hi Hue, so helpful to have these glimpses of how you think
                      about designing / producing for the dome - these are
                      wonderful analogies and your idea that painting, theatre,
                      photography, and cinema have taught us to see and think
                      within the box frame is brilliant - can I please quote you?
                      This raises very interesting theoretical issues, doesn't
                      it, as well as pointing to a uniquely intimate way of
                      working that you, Pip, Don and others are pioneering -
                      almost like listening to the dome and letting it tell you
                      what it wants. Using this "visceral" approach of yours
                      there is every likelihood that people who see your work
                      will feel that connection you have with the medium and be
                      transported just as you want them to be - does this make
                      sense? It's all about empathy, (with the medium's form -
                      it's distinctive nature) is that what you are saying?

                      It's interesting because what you are hinting at is that
                      the planetarium theatre is like a giant "brain-womb" and
                      full-dome experience can engage / evoke ancestral memories
                      - affinities with nature we have forgotten that we have???
                      Could you correct me here, or say a little more - you have
                      me most intrigued... (also, the analogy between the dome
                      and the brain suggests that it would make a natural subject
                      for a full-dome show - sure to be some funding somewhere.
                      Has it already been done? The prelude to Astronaut suggest
                      how exciting it could be.) I'm sure it would help everyone
                      to understand how the creative mind conceives, immersively
                      speaking, for this fertile new medium.

                      Thanks, Hue.

                      cameraderie
                    • Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby
                      can I please quote you? ... I d be honored... thanks erik pioneering - almost like listening to the dome and letting it tell you what it wants. Using this
                      Message 10 of 15 , Sep 1, 2006
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                        "can I please quote you?"... I'd be honored... thanks erik

                        "pioneering - almost like listening to the dome and letting it tell you what
                        it wants. Using this "visceral" approach of yours there is every likelihood
                        that people who see your work will feel that connection you have with the
                        medium and be transported just as you want them to be - does this make
                        sense? It's all about empathy, "

                        absolutely... I always start with an idea... but the dome very quickly takes
                        over and leads the project in and through... suggesting, surprising,
                        refusing, rolling around to a different view... (paper and canvas do the
                        same thing...;-)

                        and my only hope is that the viewers will connect on a visceral level and
                        find their own stories within the images I present...

                        "brain-womb"... I really like that...

                        in fact... as I was walking to work this morning, I passed a garden I have
                        been walking by for 20 years... and admiring... she has something I've never
                        seen before this year... Hyacinth Beans... lovely, fragrant, stunningly
                        beautiful vines covered with deep purple maroon pods and tendrils, and tiny
                        violet pea flowers... as I walked on, I was imagining a dome piece... dark
                        and dream-like, shimmering subtle colors, lots of transparency, glass-like
                        surfaces... (think diatoms... gems... smoke tendrils)... a stylized human,
                        head and hands, semi transparent, shimmering... the hands cup a Hyacinth
                        bean tendril, sniffing the flowers, observing the pods, the shapes and
                        colors and scents... and the brain, now visible thru the transparent skin,
                        begins to collect the information...

                        we then show, both thru brain activity (shimmering colors indicating degree
                        of activity in the proper brain areas) and images (within the brain?
                        surrounding the person? slipping over corresponding areas of the dome?)...

                        the idea being to present the interior experience of encounter, association
                        and memory... how when one encounters something like this plant, with it's
                        scent and colors and shapes, and all the associations these can present in a
                        human mind, there is a sequence set off in the brain... certain areas become
                        active in certain orders as we experience the encounter.... areas to do with
                        color, scent and shape recognition... memories, emotions, curiosity,
                        learning....

                        hiho... it was an interesting walk... glad I didn't encounter too much
                        traffic in the next couple of crossings while I was away in dome land!...;-)

                        yes... I'd love to see a "brain" -"dome" correlation...;-)

                        --
                        Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby
                        Multi Media Development Specialist
                        ARTS Lab
                        University of New Mexico
                      • Erik Roberts
                        ... This is how (I m sure) most of the great directors - Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Orson Wells, Andrei Tarkovsky, Fellini (et al) worked - allowing the
                        Message 11 of 15 , Sep 1, 2006
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                          > absolutely... I always start with an idea... but the dome very
                          > quickly takes over and leads the project in and through...
                          > suggesting, surprising, refusing, rolling around to a different
                          > view... (paper and canvas do the same thing...;-)

                          This is how (I'm sure) most of the great directors - Sergei Eisenstein,
                          Dziga Vertov, Orson Wells, Andrei Tarkovsky, Fellini (et al) worked -
                          allowing the medium to dictate its own terms (rather than the cookie-
                          cutter feature film production process of script to screen in the
                          quickest possible time. The concept has to grow organically, as it were,
                          if it's going to "entrain" (is that the right word?) the audience -
                          entrancement is not "falling asleep" or a state of involuntary hypnosis
                          but a state of being gripped by the enigmatic - it is a state of feeling
                          most alive - wouldn't you agree? Like when you saw those vines.

                          > as I walked on, I was imagining a dome piece... dark
                          > and dream-like,

                          The darkness (artificial night) corresponds to that primordial state
                          you referred to in your previous post...

                          > shimmering subtle colors, lots of transparency, glass-like
                          > surfaces... (think diatoms... gems... smoke tendrils)...

                          this translucency would work well as a method of shifting (gradually)
                          between inner and outer p.o.v.... because that is the central problem -
                          how to represent / depict two coexistent realities on the dome at the
                          same time... it this correct?

                          > a stylized human, head and hands, semi transparent, shimmering...
                          > the hands cup a Hyacinth bean tendril, sniffing the flowers, observing
                          > the pods, the shapes and colors and scents... and the brain, now
                          > visible thru the transparent skin, begins to collect the information...

                          Wow! The entire psycho-biological phenomenon of an ordinary event.
                          This is what full-dome was invented for (as well as astronomy, of
                          course, although, having said that, if it's true that we are all stardust,
                          everything is astronomy-related - what is the human brian but the
                          crowning achievement of the universe?)

                          > we then show, both thru brain activity (shimmering colors indicating
                          > degree of activity in the proper brain areas) and images (within the
                          > brain? surrounding the person? slipping over corresponding areas
                          > of the dome?)...

                          There is a lot of good research data on brain behaviour during sleeping
                          and dreaming - perhaps this could come into the story somehow - you
                          could actually see the changing brain patterns over the 90 minute sleep
                          cycle. The "plot" could be either a walk down the street or "a day in
                          the life of a brain"... or you could do two short pieces - the brain
                          awake and the brain asleep - like bookends.

                          > the idea being to present the interior experience of encounter,
                          > association and memory... how when one encounters something like this
                          > plant, with it's scent and colors and shapes, and all the associations
                          > these can present in a human mind, there is a sequence set off in the
                          > brain... certain areas become active in certain orders as we
                          > experience the encounter.... areas to do with color, scent and shape
                          > recognition... memories, emotions, curiosity, learning....

                          Apologies in advance if I wander off-topic... I guess I want to just say
                          here that such an important topic requires us to ask - what does the
                          average person want to know about themselves - about how their brain
                          works - if this theme was handled well enough it could "fast-track"
                          human potential in people who are predisposed to a deeper understanding
                          of how life works. I'm thinking that if you got it right, Hue, it could
                          be very enlightening - it would give people a new perception of
                          themselves - like "Passport" did for me when I first saw it. You've hit
                          on a full-dome subject that is screaming out to be done - even if it was
                          only 5 - 10 minutes duration.

                          Thank you for a stimulating reply.

                          This link was recently sent to the iota forum - it is a well-written
                          paper on "live cinema" and may have relevance to full-dome
                          practitioners.
                          http://www.rupture-online.net/04citaoic01.htm

                          cameraderie
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