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Re: Planetarium Market Survey

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  • Carolyn Sumners
    Greetings all Well, I finally feel the need to comment. First the research is on- going about the best compression for a particular computer, graphics card,
    Message 1 of 16 , May 9 11:29 AM
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      Greetings all

      Well, I finally feel the need to comment. First the research is on-
      going about the best compression for a particular computer, graphics
      card, and projector -- the answer is really not simple and there are
      many factors to consider in deciding the best image.

      But I take offense about this "craining their necks at unnatural
      angles and crawling into bubbles" comment. First we have made the
      door another foot higher (almost 7 feet) to minimize the crawling and
      be more responsive to the love we all have for a good meal. The
      spring line in a go-dome is at least 0.5 meter, so folks can sit
      below the screen -- perhaps in reclining beach chairs. And if chairs
      are your thing, you can order a portable dome with 4 or 5 rings which
      gives you a respectable 5 foot spring line for your comfy chairs. You
      can even lean back on the soft cushion-like rings. And you can fill
      the front with folks that are lying down.

      Besides the portable domes offer a welcomed intimacy and togetherness
      that we never achieve in our comfy reclining chairs.

      It's all a matter of perspective and positive thinking!

      Carolyn


      On May 9, 2008, at 12:28 PM, Mark C. Petersen wrote:

      > --- In fulldome@yahoogroups.com, "wanchain27" <wanchain27@...> wrote:

      >> Like rob (digitalis) mentioned before, if we count all the digitarium
      >> systems to the number from (Loch Ness Productions) there are almost
      >> 500 systems, then there is the Discovery Dome from E-Planetarium with
      >> another 43 Domes and a few other systems (Goto, Pacific Domes, Quim
      >> Guix�, Stargazer, Inflate4u, Cubex, Zendome, etc�)

      > Wups, not quite "almost 500". Today's number of listings in the LNP
      > Fulldome Theater Compendium ONLINE! is 385 -- and that includes all
      > the Discovery Domes.

      > As always, I encourage any and all readers to peruse the listings, and
      > provide update information. Here are the URLs:

      > <http://www.lochnessproductions.com/lfco/lfco.html>

      > <http://www.lochnessproductions.com/lpc/formflt.html>

      >> Would be nice to find out the exact number of portable planetariums
      >> out there.

      > You know, this brings up a point worth noting. In the Compendium,
      > portables and fixed theaters are tallied together. There may be 400
      > or so fulldome systems out there, but that doesn't mean there's a
      > market of 400 theaters.

      > Show producers (sorry, "content providers" :-)) may want to keep in
      > mind that many "audiences" will be sitting on a hard wood elementary
      > school gym floor, craning their necks at unnatural angles, inside a
      > blow-up bubble they crawled into. While there may be a fulldome
      > projector system inside, it's not the common and expected theater
      > experience, with comfy reclining chairs, surround sound, and all.

      > Given that, when calculating "market" for programs, the ever-unpopular
      > "butt factor" comes into play -- especially if the presentation is
      > longer than, say, 20 minutes.

      > >> Mark
    • Tom Casey
      ... I have to jump in here and as Ed Lantz always calls me, be somewhat the devil s advocate. There needs to be a better explanation here as to what those
      Message 2 of 16 , May 9 12:14 PM
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        On May 9, 2008, at 1:07 PM, Glendale College Tour Planning wrote:

        > I would like to add that currently, there is almost too much fulldome
        > astro content out there.

        > So I would say, while FDV is nice, it will, in the near future, pale
        > in the face of real-time shows.

        I have to jump in here and as Ed Lantz always calls me, be somewhat
        the devil's advocate.

        There needs to be a better explanation here as to what those almost
        500 domes represent. A huge difference of needs and goals...
        fulldome is nothing like the typical content markets, Imax or any
        other venue... and being so is pretty much impossible to view from a
        producer's standpoint in any traditional fund raising spreadsheet.

        There is no all-in-one-market distribution in place, no common need
        to be met across the many facilities. Each site acts totally
        independent, raising funds and creating shows it wants/needs. hoping
        maybe to license it a few times to recoup a small percentage of its
        costs. The hardware vendors offer content only to provide something
        to playback on the equipment they are selling.

        I'm not complaining here, but just facing the facts of what we
        currently have to live with. In essence, if the goal is purely
        educational in nature, the shear "for profit" motivations are not
        there and any producer entering the market must understand that as
        the realistic goal.

        As far as realtime vs. playback, of course most will say realtime has
        the big future... it matches what planetariums have had as an
        operating path since the beginning. Get someone to fund your
        hardware purchase and turn the thing on... content magically
        appears... no additional cost.

        As for non-astronomy content, that's been a tougher sale and will
        pretty much remain in the playback side of content production. Even
        as the CPU's get better, realtime will still never match pre-rendered
        content that needs to compete with motion picture effects, requires a
        higher scripting undertaking... and will have a higher cost
        associated with it. A realtime dinosaur... not! Also, a lot of
        facilities are astronomy only schools and will not consider non-
        astronomy content.

        And as far as content becoming dated, isn't that the nature of any
        science as new discoveries/theories are put in place. We are doing a
        National Geographic project currently and my understanding is that
        now the Milky Way is a barred galaxy, not a spiral. Oops, looks like
        a lot of updating for all those astronomy shows out there.

        Tom




        ************************************************
        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
        412-391-8200
        mailto:tom@...
        http://www.homerunpictures.com
      • Karrie Berglund
        Hi all, The total number of fulldome theaters is actually close to 500, since more than 100 of our customers are not listed in the Compendium. Sorry that Rob s
        Message 3 of 16 , May 9 1:02 PM
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          Hi all,

          The total number of fulldome theaters is actually close to 500, since
          more than 100 of our customers are not listed in the Compendium. Sorry
          that Rob's post was unclear about that.

          By the way, we will ask our customers to sign themselves up, and
          hopefully a few of them will do so. Ed's (and other folks') points
          about the importance of knowing who is out there are well taken.

          Cheers,
          Karrie
        • Mark C. Petersen
          To be sure, no offense or criticism of Go-Domes was intended! They re about the best for fulldome display that I ve seen. That s why we re renting a Go-Dome
          Message 4 of 16 , May 9 3:28 PM
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            To be sure, no offense or criticism of Go-Domes was intended! They're
            about the best for fulldome display that I've seen. That's why we're
            renting a Go-Dome for our IPS booth this year. One with 2 rings will
            help on the height issue. :-)

            Just wanted to be sure that those who might see the number "500" when
            bandied about with regard to the LNP Fulldome Theater Compendium
            ONLINE! listings were clear on the concept that the "theater"
            experience can be relative in this context. Not every marketeer
            equates "theater" with "inflatable".

            >> Mark
          • Dockery James
            I m not officially in the dome projection / Planetarium market, yet. But I am a knowledgeable A/V tech with interests in creating media for dome /concave
            Message 5 of 16 , May 10 2:54 PM
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              I'm not officially in the dome projection / Planetarium market, yet.
              But I am a knowledgeable A/V tech with interests in creating media for
              "dome" /concave projection. To include, I'm a young and naive lurker.
              So please forgive me if I seem a little crass.

              From what I can gather, the hardest part of your industry is
              the standardization for content. Everyone uses different screens,
              projectors, cameras etc. for dome projection. The only standards I can
              see are that the majority of screens are in planetariums.
              I think that's why most [audiences] ask for "Astronomy" based content
              because it's expected from a planetarium.

              I understand dome screens tend to be huge. So the format needs to be
              huge, to fit and look good. However most content providers can't work
              in that large format. That's why most content is experimental and
              rarely worth watching.

              I know that we all want the best content that our audience has ever
              seen. But- In a nut shell, reading all these posts I wonder if your
              industry's standards for content are too high.

              Dock
            • KDConod
              One point that should be made for potential program producers that drop in here is that they should have a realistic idea of the market. Fulldome should not
              Message 6 of 16 , May 10 5:46 PM
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                One point that should be made for potential program producers that drop in here is that they should have a realistic idea of the market. Fulldome should not be confused with Imax in one area - budget. Impact is certainly just as exciting. But I do worry when a potential producer starts out thinking fulldome is possibly a new "Imax" with the same production budgets and potential for income.

                This is very true...recently someone told me a price on a two-year show
                license and it was 8 times my normal production budget and equaled our
                planetarium's entire operating budget for a full year!

                Kevin Conod
                kdconod@...

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • cm@cmorrow.com
                What is a ballpark range for dome productions and licenses? Is there a market for short productions to be used between or with larger shows? Why not bring in
                Message 7 of 16 , May 11 12:28 AM
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                  What is a ballpark range for dome productions and licenses?
                  Is there a market for short productions to be used between or with larger shows?
                  Why not bring in guest curators from your instition or others? There are business models for that including bundling curator fees with program. package.

                  Charlie Morrow

                  Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: KDConod <kdconod@...>
                  Date: Sat, 10 May 2008 17:46:35
                  To:fulldome@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [fulldome] Re: Planetarium Market Survey

                  One point that should be made for potential program producers that drop in here is that they should have a realistic idea of the market. Fulldome should not be confused with Imax in one area - budget. Impact is certainly just as exciting. But I do worry when a potential producer starts out thinking fulldome is possibly a new "Imax" with the same production budgets and potential for income.

                  This is very true...recently someone told me a price on a two-year show
                  license and it was 8 times my normal production budget and equaled our
                  planetarium's entire operating budget for a full year!

                  Kevin Conod
                  kdconod@yahoo. <mailto:kdconod%40yahoo.com> com
                • Tom Casey
                  ... This is always a question that comes up and no one wants to answer. Probably because there is no good answer... no answer that has any kind of solid
                  Message 8 of 16 , May 12 3:44 AM
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                    On May 11, 2008, at 3:28 AM, cm@... wrote:

                    > What is a ballpark range for dome productions and licenses?
                    > Is there a market for short productions to be used between or
                    > with larger shows?

                    This is always a question that comes up and no one wants to answer.
                    Probably because there is no good answer... no answer that has any
                    kind of solid historical basis similar to what other content markets
                    have... ie... motion pictures, broadcast documentaries, Imax, etc.

                    As I mentioned in a previous post, historically, planetariums had
                    what you could call "real-time" playback built in to hardware
                    purchases since the beginning, so show production budgets were
                    minimal. Along comes fulldome video and no one is sure how to
                    produce content... there is no history to look to.

                    Larger shows are typically premier shows... a time when the content
                    can be piggy-backed with the initial purchase of fulldome hardware.
                    The same is true with small portable domes. You have this new tool
                    and need content... it's just like the early vhs tape players, you
                    needed movies to get people to buy the hardware.

                    Remember that the historical model here is to secure a grant for
                    funding an educational outreach of some sort... fulldome being the
                    tool in a permanent planetarium setting or in the case of the
                    portables, taking it to the audience. So you include content needs
                    as part of the hardware needs in the educational plan.

                    After this, what do you do? The permanent facility needs constant
                    content, the portable wants new content to go out again. You chase
                    further grants to fund further educational outreach.

                    If you see a pattern here, you are getting it. There is no typical
                    "for-profit" market model... no "return on investment" history. If
                    anything, the return on investment is in the education you are
                    providing.

                    So when outside producers see this great new medium and ask about
                    production budgets, licensing history and return potential there is
                    no good answer.

                    At least not yet.

                    Tom



                    ************************************************
                    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
                    412-391-8200
                    mailto:tom@...
                    http://www.homerunpictures.com
                  • KDConod
                    I remember in the distant past, a good rule of thumb for planetarium production was $1 per minute. Later that went up to something like $2 per minute. What is
                    Message 9 of 16 , May 12 10:05 AM
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                      I remember in the distant past, a good rule of thumb for planetarium production was $1 per minute. Later that went up to something like $2 per minute.

                      What is it for full dome? Hard to say - depends on a number of things...resolution, number of staff working on the project, how much is CGI vs how much is fulldome capture?

                      Kevin Conod
                      kdconod@...



                      ----- Original Message ----
                      From: Tom Casey <tom@...>
                      To: fulldome@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 6:44:53 AM
                      Subject: [fulldome] Re: Planetarium Market Survey

                      On May 11, 2008, at 3:28 AM, cm@... wrote:

                      > What is a ballpark range for dome productions and licenses?
                      > Is there a market for short productions to be used between or
                      > with larger shows?

                      This is always a question that comes up and no one wants to answer.
                      Probably because there is no good answer... no answer that has any
                      kind of solid historical basis similar to what other content markets
                      have... ie... motion pictures, broadcast documentaries, Imax, etc.

                      As I mentioned in a previous post, historically, planetariums had
                      what you could call "real-time" playback built in to hardware
                      purchases since the beginning, so show production budgets were
                      minimal. Along comes fulldome video and no one is sure how to
                      produce content... there is no history to look to.
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