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DOME-L Post: new toys to play with

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  • Ryan Wyatt
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 15, 2002
      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.

      Alex Barnett
      National Space Centre, uk
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