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Re: "meaningful media"

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  • Tom Casey
    Now Ed Lantz once called me devil s advocate Tom, and I guess that s where this post might be heading in regards to what I m reading on the list this
    Message 1 of 59 , Oct 1, 2006
      Now Ed Lantz once called me "devil's advocate Tom," and I guess
      that's where this post might be heading in regards to what I'm
      reading on the list this morning.

      All this discussion about fulldome's role/future in regards to IPS
      or Siggraph and what is needed to march forward in a "meaningful"
      way... Ed mentions that "there is power in numbers." Both IPS and
      Siggraph represent numbers, but those numbers have very distinct
      differences. Both represent an initial desire to exchange knowledge
      of some sort, but the differences are the key. Siggraph is a mix of
      education AND that other nasty world, "for profit." Without that
      side, Siggraph would probably be the size of IPS.

      Having been involved in Siggraph since way back in the early 80's I
      can say that although the educational part of Siggraph has always
      been there with it's rather open exchange of information, it was the
      connection to the "for profit" side that pushed things forward.
      Why? Because all things in reality have a cost involved, or should I
      say things get done faster/better if there is a profit to be had.

      What Siggraph has been able to accomplish is mostly in part due to
      the driving force of the "for profit" side, fostering the educational
      side's goals, not the other way around. Now some will jump in and
      scream foul and other purists will cringe saying we don't want that
      for IPS but the truth is fulldome, because of its cost nature, will
      struggle until a larger pot of funding can be found. And because
      funding now for planetariums/science centers is strongly routed away
      from a "for profit" model, IPS may NOT be the best home for any
      organization striving to further fulldome.

      Now, I'm not saying there should not be a subgroup within IPS where
      fulldome capable facilities can exchange whatever makes sense, but
      the kind of limitations/concerns I've been hearing discussed on the
      list and elsewhere point out this barrier. And any kind of barrier
      at this point can mean the difference between future success and
      "same old, same old" for fulldome.

      Now what this means, I will leave to further discussion, but we have
      to recognize this and face its realities. Fulldome has enormous
      potential that currently is held captive in the planetarium world
      because that is where it was born. You could say it's like a fashion
      model working in my little city of Pittsburgh verses one that
      ventures off to Paris. You know, the "big fish in the pond verses
      the one in the ocean."

      I love what fulldome's tools can do to educate and inspire. But,
      fulldome has a much higher cost associated with it than what has
      typically been maintained in the planetarium world... skirting around
      that with words is not going to further fulldome's future.


      H o m e R u n P i c t u r e s

      Tom Casey
      President & Creative Director

      100 First Avenue - Suite 450
      Pittsburgh, PA 15222
    • Mike Murray
      My own feeling is that the evolution of fulldome production and funding models can (and should) help to advance the professionalism and diversity of what IPS
      Message 59 of 59 , Oct 4, 2006
        My own feeling is that the evolution of fulldome production and funding
        models can (and should) help to advance the professionalism and diversity of
        what IPS does. Securing larger budgets and establishing effective
        collaborations are a part of the picture, but they are also a matter of
        perspective. Museum and planetarium staffs have a long history of finding
        ingenious and resourceful ways of producing content - you don't need a
        million+ dollars to do a good show. It's about finding good talent and
        developing an efficient way to do it right, which leads me to a thought I
        want to share about content creation...

        When the infusion of slide and special effects projectors exploded into
        planetariums in the 60's and 70's, suddenly everyone wanted to be a "show
        producer." Unfortunately, most staff at the time (me included) had academic
        or technical backgrounds but that didn't stop us from thinking we could
        produce great programs. In many cases, we were wrong. Scientific training
        did little to teach us good communication skills or the basics of visual and
        aural literacy. I only learned because my father was a stage actor/radio
        personality and my mother was an artist! And even then I produced a lot of
        crap before getting reasonably effective at it.

        My point is this: We can learn a lot by opening our doors (and minds) to
        other professional organizations and companies that produce similar kinds of
        media. I'm not talking about emulating the inefficient Hollywood model, but
        pulling some of the fundamental elements of cinematic writing and
        visualizing and reshaping them for the dome environment. The planetarium
        business needs to be less like a closed door incestuous industry and more
        "connected" with the larger media world. IPS has already made some great
        strides in that direction by developing closer relationships with NASA, ASP,
        AAS and others thanks to the forward-minded efforts of Martin Ratcliffe, Jon
        Elvert, and Jim Manning. The leaders of fulldome can do a lot to pull IPS
        along in other crucial areas, including those that are not purely
        "educational." I believe it can and should be a symbiotic relationship.

        For what it's worth,

        Mike Murray
        Programs Manager
        Clark Planetarium
        110 South 400 West
        Salt Lake City, UT 84101
        (801) 456-4949
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