DOME-L Post: new toys to play with
- Ryan made some good points. For folks looking at all these
technologies I do have a comment to make.
If, as a theatre, you don't match your kit to the operating budgets
and the audiences you have, then you'll be continually frustrated and
not getting the best out of the stuff you have.
If you're in the market for stuff, then be driven by what you can
afford to run and maintain (and replace), not what you can afford to
buy upfront. Remember that content costs money too - not only if you
license it, but if you decide to do it yourself, thats staff and
equipment costs you need to remember. If the money is burning a hole
in your pocket, use it to create an endowment to fund that extra tech
or producer you're going to need, or to buy spare parts or a library
of shows upfront!
And I might add that you don't need to the whole hog and go full
dome....There will be lots of pressure to. But don't be afraid that
you're somehome 'uncool' if you decide not to and want to dip your
toes first. THere are quite a few of us out here!
We have a partial dome system and with the great content we produce
(come to our mini theatre at IPS!) we manage to wow our audiences -
both public and schools. We could have afforded to push towards full
dome when we opened, but at the time we did the figures, we couldn't
afford to produce for (or license programmes in) or indeed to have
enough technical support to keep all the projectors at their best. We
decided that we wanted to make sure we could maintain a quality
We also couldn't afford the long term replacement cost. Do the sums.
We run our CRT's a good ten hours a day, seven days a week. They
aren't going to last forever. We hope that they don't all go at once!
We can put funds aside each year to go towards the replacement of the
three of them, but thats based on assuming they'll all have to be
replaced within X years. We simply couldn't afford to assume that
double the number of projectors would need replacing in that time -
our budgets just don't have that kind of cash. We hope that the money
we put aside will allow us to get the next generation system by the
time we have to replace - technology and costs being what they are,
but we can't guarantee that.
In addition, we opened last year, so right in the middle of all this
major revolution. So there was a reluctance to commit really big sums
when we weren't 100% sure where things were going and we didn't want
to end up in the betamax/VHS position!!
So in the end we went for a good mix of tried and tested and new
technology. We chose not to put images behind peoples heads, figuring
that if the storyline was good enough, then they shouldn't be craning
their necks to look around anyway....and just invested in very good
seats (!), and being creative with allskies, surround sound and using
the partial system in cunning ways.
Our system works well for us. Its well matched to our budgets - both
staffing and technical - and the system capabilities are well matched
to our needs - public, educational and corporate. I'm looking forward
to seeing all the new toys out there, but I won't be buying them
because I want to play with them, I'll buy when I find the stuff I
have has limitations that are preventing me from delivering the
messages in a way that will captivate and inspire my audiences - they
pay the bills! And its always worth remembering that whilst you may
think something is old hat, your audience may not have encountered it
before, and will experience the same wow you did when you saw it for
the first time.....
Gosh this is long. Apologies.
National Space Centre, uk