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  • KDConod
    It seems that most big theaters prefer 20 minute long shows. Presumably this allows the administration to ram as many people through as possible on the half
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 5, 2007
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      It seems that most big theaters prefer 20 minute
      long shows. Presumably this allows the
      administration to ram as many people through as
      possible on the half hour, every half hour all
      day long.

      Truth be told - people really don't like this! In
      our theater we run 30-35 minute shows with 5 to
      10 minutes at the end for sky tours and Q&A. We
      often hear comments from visitors that shows at
      other planetariums are way too short.

      It'd be nice if full dome shows were modular,
      allowing theaters to run shorts or longer
      programs depending on their schedule. Not sure
      how you'd do that but its something to consider.


      Kevin Conod
      kdconod@...
    • Jon Strawn
      At the Lodestar all our shows are about 45 minutes in length. Our live shows run exactly that length and our push-button shows usually run as double features.
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 5, 2007
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        At the Lodestar all our shows are about 45 minutes in length. Our
        live shows run exactly that length and our push-button shows usually
        run as double features. It works well because we have a "dyna-max"
        theater in the same building and their shows are about 45 min. as well.
      • Andy Dolph
        What we ve done at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, where I m an educator, is to standardize on a 40-50 minute show length - even when we are running shorter
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 6, 2007
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          What we've done at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, where I'm an
          educator, is to standardize on a 40-50 minute show length - even when we
          are running shorter fulldome shows. With the 20 minuteish fulldome
          shows we start with a live interactive part of the program, with some
          tie in to the the fulldome program - for instance , before Oasis In
          Space we talk about planets, which ones are viable in the sky if any,
          and talk about some of the planets that they'll hear more about in the
          fulldome part of the show. Then we finish with the fulldome show, and
          answer any questions people have just outside the theater. This lets us
          run shows hourly which seems to be a really good compromise for us.

          Our patrons seem to enjoy it, and be comfortable with that length, and
          having a show every hour (which is more then we had pre-fulldome due to
          setup times) has been a major benefit - people who arrive just after a
          show has started are much more likely to purchase tickets for the next
          show when it starts in less then an hour....

          So far (at lest from my perspective) this has worked very well for us.
          Of course YMMV.

          Take care,

          Andy
        • david
          ... Let me add a little to Jon s post. (Jon, btw is an amazing University of New Mexico media arts undergrad and L* interpreter/presenter. Beyond exceptional
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 6, 2007
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            > At the Lodestar all our shows are about 45 minutes in length. Our
            > live shows run exactly that length and our push-button shows usually
            > run as double features. It works well because we have a "dyna-max"
            > theater in the same building and their shows are about 45 min. as
            > well.

            Let me add a little to Jon's post. (Jon, btw is an amazing University of
            New Mexico media arts undergrad and L* interpreter/presenter. Beyond
            exceptional dome presentations, he's been making some wonderful montages
            and other mediated programs for our exhibit and pre-show areas. Nice
            having young talent working with us and getting involved in the fulldome
            community.) Anyhootie:

            As Jon pointed out, we run our shows on an hour turn, so show duration
            is about 45-minutes. Show schedule includes three live 'star' shows
            based in DigitalSky (utilizing the power of DS2 in all shows since
            10.06) and four presentations of a 'feature' show based in a fulldome
            playback lease (e.g. E&S's "Wonders", AMNH's "Search", NASM/Sky-Skan's
            "Infinity Express," Nanotoon/RPI's "Molecularium" and DMNH's "Black
            Holes:Other Side" currently.) The feature show normally run for a full
            year (principally due to the cost and availability of distributed shows,
            but that's another post another time.)

            Until the latest show changeover in November, we collaboratively and
            locally produced a fulldome prologue to the ~23-minute feature show (six
            shows since '01) to localize and extend the visitor experience. We did
            this for several reasons:

            1. We wanted to continue the planetarium tradition of community-based,
            live presentations--and importantly, differentiate from the IMAX/Iwerks
            LFT experience. Here we were looking for the best of both worlds:
            Audience interaction with knowledgeable presenter while having the
            immersive cinematic experience as well; both exploiting the power of
            fulldome, each portion with its own strengths. We also believed in the
            professional development this afforded our presenters and gave us a pick
            into the future of realtime in the dome for standing public
            presentations.

            2. We've been building our local community of fulldome producers and
            the shorter, live presented prologues offered opportunity to involve
            many , keep costs exactly where we need them (read as nil), give us (L*
            and other producers) audience feedback on approaches and techniques,
            give producers an audience and screen-time (ego), provide community
            service (values), and portfolio items (professional growth). These
            fulldome prologues ran the experimental gamut of a VR-ish (wireframes,
            animated graphical information overlays) orrery by Hue Walker et at at
            UNM's ARTS Lab which presented used to introduce the solar system before
            E&S's "New Horizons" , to a series of immersive virtual toys
            (ViewMaster, Bug's Eye View--picture a ViewMaster flying into the dome
            and cover the collective eyes of the audience, then a run thru the
            easily updated wheel of images) to extend NASM's "Infinity Express" with
            very current updates of IE's topics, to Dr. Carl Diegert's 'ultimate
            home movie by a national lab scientist" (read as smart good-hearted
            people with incredible tools) for "Molecularium" in which he took
            audiences on a tour of Sandia National Labs as he kept halving and
            imaging a penny in a sort of powers-of-two story as he tried to get to a
            single copper molecule in the obsolete currency unit. (That one had it's
            own soundtrack by Carl so it was push & play, but also unmistakably
            local and fun. Shot entirely in HD via camera and microscope; augmented
            with motion graphics and produced with Sky-Skan's AE plug-in. Crazy fun
            with a chunk of copper...)

            3. The third reason for prolog development and show length we've
            instituted --following well behind LodeStar's values and development--is
            financial or at least price positioning. We're unique in competing with
            an 8/70 Iwerks theater. That LFT, run by another agency co-located in
            the same building/institution, keeps the money they bring in through the
            gate while we keep LodeStar's. So there's no greater good. I wanted
            our dome programs to be equally priced and valued so we kept our ticket
            prices equal to the "DynaTheater" and kept our visitor experiences
            equal--at minimum equal. In retrospect, the better fulldome shows
            running at ~23-minutes alone had more value than most of the (limited by
            8/70 format) LFT offerings running 40-minutes at the same price. But
            we're here to serve, support and grow both our visitors and UNM/art/sci
            communities, so I stand pat by the decision.

            I stand pat and proudly on these decisions, but I should note I did
            attempt to move to a half-hour show schedule to include two live shows
            in DS2 and two feature (leased/produced) playback shows. I proposed
            this to increase show offerings and hopefully gate revenue, diversify
            programmatic topics, accommodate visitors' specific interests, and focus
            our production and presentation resources to specific areas. What I
            proposed was to create two very focused live 'star' shows in DS2 (one
            'Moon & Planets" and one "Stars & Beyond" shows to start, each beginning
            with the night's sky) and offer two playback shows, an "A" show running
            and marketed more frequently than a "B" show, based on the slight
            increase in the quality and quantity of shows being produced here and
            through the fulldome community.

            That plan was vetoed by our titular partners in this state/private/UNM
            shared institution, the non-UNMers crying unfair competition. So right
            now we've focused on the live DS2 shows as 45-minute live show which is
            giving us time to train staff and explore the insane breadth of
            programming opportunities. For the playback show, we're offering a
            double-feature to ease operations and focus on distributable show
            productions while keeping most of our standards for our visitors--a 40+
            minute experience that frankly blows the LFT away (if only we had the
            marketing to communicate it sufficiently). So we're running a
            double-feature of "Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity" with our
            version of "Wonders of the Universe" with our locally produced
            soundtrack which received huge numbers and acclaim when we first ran it
            in 2001.

            Sorry for the sloppy tome, but thought some might be interested. Long
            story short: the ~23-minute prerendered show has great flexibility and
            is a good standard in many ways. However, domes resting on
            push-and-play are missing two-thirds the fun and power of fulldome as
            well as a giant part of its tradition and its future as realtime keeps
            evolving.

            bueno,
            d

            david beining
            director
            LodeStar
            1801 Mountain Road, NW
            Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104
            dbeining@...
            505.841.5985
            505.362.2614 (cel)
            www.lodestar.unm.edu
            www.domefest.org (news soon!)
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