Re: Content providers
- It's ironic that someone had to bring up slide
projectors in order to get the discussion going.
I think everyone's comments so far have been good.
I would like to propose that a fulldome show with
sections that are multi-media is not a fulldome show.
It is, instead, a multi-media show with fulldome
sequences in it. New theaters that have been created
for the purpose of presenting fulldome are likely to
have limited capability (to varying degrees) for
reproducing the non-fulldome content. It would be a
little embarassing to say that you can't run a
fulldome show because you don't have enough slide
On the other hand, Infinity Express, and
demonstrations of various systems, have shown us that
most of our old tricks can be imported to the new
medium, and usually improved in the process. My guess
is that if Carolyn, or anyone, made the decision to
market a hybrid media show as "fulldome" then they
would in the end wind up making some concession toward
translating the multi-media content into dome masters.
This is an intriguing idea. It meets the production
constraints that Carolyn spoke of while keeping the
compatibility advantages of fulldome intact. In
essence you would be distributing a piece of all sky
artwork. The user would need a utility that would take
the single frame and copy it with sequential frame
numbers. (Would you want to slice the single frame and
then copy, or copy and then slice up the duplicated
master frames?) This would make the hybrid show truly
fit within a stricter definition of fulldome.
Perhaps such a utility already exists. (Kevin?)
- Hello all
Sometimes I need to speak more clearly. I'm thrilled to say good-bye to
slide projectors - something that both the D3 and SkySkan's Digital Sky
allow us to do. But, there is still a reason to have 2D segments within a 3D
product. "Slide" collages, especially of historical images and videos, can
be zoomed in and positioned anywhere on the dome and placed on top of
full-dome "wall paper". This is not a volumetrically rendered scene, but is
very effective and can be produced at a fraction of the volumetric
rendering. These "multi-media" scenes allow us to set up a full dome piece
so that audiences can understand what they are about the experience. We have
done this in the full-dome "Force Five" show, for instance.
If an old theater has lots of slide projectors and an all-sky, this effect
can be produced with these projectors. However, the "multi-media" effect can
be created with D3 and Digital Sky.
What we are experimenting with in Houston is outputting the collage created
in Digital Sky to high resolution dome masters that can be shared with other
theaters in playback mode.
So our final product is a continuous sequence of dome masters, but only
about half of this sequence is real volumetric rendering (3D Studio, Light
This is the form of "multi-media" I was recommending -- recognizing that 2D
imagery artistically collaged and manipulated, including video windows - say
in a space ship window - can work effectively and make a significant
difference in our rendering costs.
Back to you gang.
>===== Original Message From "Mark C. Petersen" <mark@...> =====Oh, I don't know. I have done it and gotten positive feedback from those
>If so, this is actually the same point LNP has tried to make when
>people want to insert video (standard one-screen video) clips into
>some of our slide-based planetarium shows. Since the show's
>provided images are static (because they're slide-based), throwing
>in a shot or two of video motion would be visually jarring -- very
>out-of-context with the style of visual choreography we've conceived.
>Certainly there wouldn't be moving music to accompany the
>dynamism created by animated images.
who turned in written responses - noone mentioned "jarring" or
"out-of-context" that I recall. Really depends on how it is done or
what is shown.
J. Scott Miller, Program Coordinator Scott.Miller@...
Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium
University of Louisville
- Hi all...
I have been reading the thread about the multi-media approach and
thought I would toss in an angle of my own. Even though Home Run's
content has been heavy on 3D rendering, we have always been using 2D
techniques and most are barely perceptible in the overall sequences
when creatively intermixed with the general 3D stuff we do.
Some things are just too complex to effectively render out to
all-dome in true volume spacial context, but are desirable for scene
creation. It is much easier to create some elements in normal video
aspects and then "map" onto planes in the standard all-dome camera
renders. The trick is to create the "maps" with a certain
dimensional flare that completely fools the viewer into believing
they are seeing in true 3 dimensional quality... and combined with
the technical knowledge of how to constrain the planes so they do not
give away their 2D reality is a very efficient way to produce
dramatic sequences for the dome. In reality, it's what we are doing
anyway, by fooling the audience into believing they are not looking
at the surface of a dome anyway.
As to how those 2D elements are created really doesn't matter... with
a 3D program, from a slide or video sequence, from some other
application that does something it does very well... they all can be
effectively used if you do it right... and that's the key... doing it
I would say that this is just an extension of how things have been
done for years in planetarium shows. Combining the various
capabilities to produce the desired storytelling. In fact, I would
go further and say that a complete show's concept should call for the
proper use of any of the tools available to the planetarium as a norm
and not be restrained to any one technique.
H o m e R u n P i c t u r e s
President and Creative Director
100 First Avenue, Suite 450
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Re: Multi-Media InterludesI like Ryan's comment of keeping it 3D... yes, and it's because it's our primary tools here at Home Run Pictures... but I thought I would add one more thought to the pacing concerns.When we were producing "Microcosm," we were stuck with the need to create a film-style-like edit because of the storytelling we were doing... this meant lots of cuts to different camera views. Besides the technical problems we had to overcome to create some of the human body scenes in all-dome format there were the visual flow issues. Necessary to tell a story without losing the audience.The dome is an amazing environment, but the challenges of creating for the format are many... when telling a story, traditional film-making rules do not always apply. All the rules about not crossing the 180 line with the next view, moving from left to right, etc. are entirely different. To effectively tell a story in a way that audiences have learned from their experience with motion pictures and television, it is now necessary to address the audience's frameless "free" viewing of the scene and come up with ways to direct their view to communicate important storyline events. And the dome must not be treated like a circle shaped viewport or the potential of the immersive environment is lost... and the dramatic view becomes tiresome to the eye.So even if you stick with all 3D all the time, there are the same issues Ryan has mentioned if you want to keep your audiences awake and not confused. So as I mentioned in the previous post, it's great to employ all the different tools in some fashion, but getting it to work together is prime, even if you stick to one tool it can be difficult.Tom--
......................................... >..........................................H o m e R u n P i c t u r e sTom CaseyPresident and Creative Director
100 First Avenue, Suite 450
Pittsburgh, PA 15222412-391-8200412-391-1772 -faxmailto:tom@...http://www.hrpictures.com......................................... >..........................................
- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Mark C. Petersen" wrote:
> At 08:13 AM 3/27/2003, Ryan ruminated:If he hasn't already Ryan will no doubt add his voice to this thread, but
> >The problem with multi-media interludes is that they can seriously
> >disrupt the continuity of that experience, creating aesthetic and
> >cognitive challenges for the viewer.
> Ryan, is your point that 2D still frame images or even conventional
> planetarium all-skies and pans "pale in comparison" when put up
> against/with 3D 30fps fulldome animation scenes *in the same
> program*? You could well be right -- I just want to understand your
let me jump back into the fray from my simplistic storytelling POV. I see
(and entirely agree with) Ryan's point that mixing design schemata
within a show can, if one's not careful and purposeful, detract viewers
from their 'suspension of disbelief.'
If you can suffer my taxonomy of fulldome experiences a bit more, it's
an issue of how the audience perceives the experience; or for the
facility/hardware-minded crowd, how viewers see the dome/theater.
For example, taking an audience from a 'time-space machine'
experience to a 'canvas' experience is asking them to believe they're
'really out there' first (no dome/theater exists), then asking them
to return to the theater for the second experience (place yourself
within this images/vision.) If you're not careful working within multiple
schemata, you produce a 'where the hell are they taking me?' response
What intrigues me about IE is that is largely succeeds in moving
between styles in what I describe as a 'journey through space and
mind.' The show's story is about intellect/science (the question-info-
knowledge feedback loop) and the objects associated and it uses
the schemata--with the sounds--accordingly and with transitions other
than cross fades. The viewer can understand why she's seeing what
she is and can be comfortable with where the story is headed.
[Sky-Skan/NASM, I'll stop my IE deconstruction/interpretation
now--before the libel suits start flying!]
Suspension of disbelief, as far as I can see, is also intimately related
to production values and media employed. The classic example is
the starfield; we want the finest possible depiction in order to help
viewers believe they're under a real night sky so they can glean as
much enjoyment and learning from the experience as possible.
A dome with a few fuzzy dim stars limits the illusion/experience.
Similarly, Rose's impossibly stunning Orion scene wouldn't steal
viewers' breath if seen as a framed image covering a portion of the
dome. Pretty, yes. But the image's edges would impair the illusion;
audiences wouldn't entirely forget they're in a theater. Conversely,
flying an audience through a fulldome/frameless nebula that looks
like something from 'Tron' isn't going to suspend their disbelief.
(That's the case even if you do tell them-like too many shows
do--that it's a beautiful nebula they're seeing, but that's another
My point is that we (or at least the L* team) need to produce within
abilities and with design schemata (and the related animation/rendering
techniques) that carry/support the story we ready to tell--and with the
production values that our audiences deserve. (From my experience,
audiences instantly demand excellence from fulldome; once they see the
medium they understand the potential and want it served in generous
portions.) Of course, that goal holds for whatever medium one is
employing, but the immaturity and costs of fulldome make it paramount.
For what it's worth,
LodeStar Astronomy Center
1801 Mountain Road, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
- Hello all,
In response to the 2-D vs. 3-D discussion going on here, I think
we may be getting a bit hung up on vocabulary. In my mind, it's not
the technicality of whether you used 2D techniques or 3D techniques
or both to create your frames that creates a "jarring" impact on
the viewer (we use both techniques in every single scene we produce
here), the risk comes from breaking visual continuity.
I know a lot of planetarians shutter whenever anyone tries to draw a
comparison between a hollywood movie and a planetarium production
but I'm going to do it anyway. Imagine you went to your local multiplex
on a sunday afternoon to see __insert name of interesting film here__.
You're happily sitting in the dark theater really being drawn in by the grainy
35mm film flickering away in front you and wondering just how mr. lead
film hero is going to escape the clutches of the evil mastermind this time,
when suddenly and for no good reason, the remainder of the film is
presented to you in the form of an animated cartoon. Maybe the film
makers ran out of money to pay the actors mid way through the film and
decided that animation was cheaper, but this isn't explained. The point is
that you were ejected from the film-reality that was established in the
beginning. You were drawn in and immersed in the story and then ejected
when an unexplained visual shift occured.
Full-dome video, by it's very nature, creates an immersive environment
and lends itself best to content that emphasizes that strength. There are
lots of ways to break the reality of the environment that you establish in
the dome, whether that reality is 2.5D, 3D, or abstract. I agree with Brain
that hard cuts are one of those ways. So is non-purposeful or non
meaningful mixing of visual styles. I believe that mixing media CAN be
done effectively, but it's much easier to do badly by simply not paying
careful attention to art direction.
Also, this is nit-picking and I understand this this isn't a discussion list
only for 3D computer graphics artists, but to 3d guys like myself, the term
"volumetric rendering" has a very specific meaning that is very different
from how I've seen it used here. If you hired a 3D animator and told him
that you want your animation volumetrically rendered, you'd likely be
waiting a long loooong for your frames to come back from the render
It's nice to see some discussion on production aesthetics here!
Brad Thompson - bthompson@...
Digital Animation and Design - Spitz, Inc.
- Just to put in a comment from a dome that doesn't (YET) have
a full dome video system. We've effectively taken Carolyn's "Night
of the Titanic" program which contains some full dome sequences
and rendered out the dome master images for our dissolving
all sky pairs as crossfading stills. This has been very effective
for this type of program which does mix 'fulldome' all sky sequences
with other still and video imagery. We also did some pretty effective
work with using all sky 'frames' for square video formats, putting
items in windows within an all sky image. In this show, which has
a lot of historical content, we used some literal picture frames.
Although not full dome video, this has been very effective for our
audiences and just reiterates the point that mixed media can be
very effective IF DONE RIGHT! Jump cuts and hard cuts are
something to be avoided no matter what the media. There should
always be an effective transition between scenes, 3D - 2D,
Video - Still or any other transition, but if this transition is done well,
I see no problem with mixing full dome and other media.
In fact, audience reaction this Planetarium show is knocking the
socks off our IMAX Titanica show, which could tangentially be
considered a fully 'full dome' show as it takes place in our IMAX Dome
theatre. (As you might guess, we have the Titanic Artifact exhibit right
now). Audiences prefer the Planetarium show to the multi-million
dollar produced IMAX movie. (It probably doesn't hurt that this
certainly isn't the best IMAX film every made...)
Just my $0.02
Todd K. Slisher
Director of Theaters
Detroit Science Center
5020 John R Street
Detroit, MI 48202
I want to comment on volumetrics, editing and Hollywood.
The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket (SCR) is now complete. In
this show, we have designed cut edits, dissolves and wipes etc. So far,
not a single person has ever made a negative comment about them. In
fact many comments have come our way about how well they have
worked, much to our surprise. We felt it was a risk for us to take this
approach for many of the same concerns that have been mentioned
on this discussion(s). But we went with it and are pleased with the
I find it funny that people shy away from volumetrics. I even
have to laugh at the folks on Newtek's listerv when they complain that
a 640x480 frame has taken 12 hours to render. Obviously, there is no
profit in that. We have built into SCR 5 major scenes at about 30-45
seconds each with volumetrics. We build them at 2200x2200. Many
of these have been re-rendered a couple of times. The rocket has
volumetric thrust throughout the show.
I find volumetrics a necessary evil. Volumetrics are useful, if
done right. I also think they are necessary in order to accomplish a
very important feel and look.
As for Hollywood, I really can't wait for this community to get
a listen to our new soundtrack. It is currently under production at
Skywalker Sound. The first tests have been heard and the reaction is
very positive. There is a totally different sound, much like anyone
would here at the movies. Our rocket has been graced with the sounds of
Buzz Lightyear's rocket pack, the helicopter sounds from AI and not to
mention effects that you would here in a 'Star Wars' space movie.
Although we know that planets don't 'Hummmm' in space, it sure adds to
the experience that I think our customers are after.
May I remind everyone that the Western Alliance Conference is
being held at the Clark Planetarium this October. Keep an eye out at
www.rmpadomes.org for all the latest. The web page isn't up yet. We are
opening in 1 week so give us a little bit. The hotel is selected. The
rooms are under $100. All the events are located in downtown SLC. We
look forward to you being our guests.
SLC, UT 801 456-4934 (This number is different from my last)
- I would like to thank everyone who responded to my inquiry about
fulldome content providers several weeks ago. I had many replies both
on and off list and they were all very useful. A number of people
wanted to get copies of my compiled list of content providers once I
get it together and I intend to do that. I had not planned to post it
to the Fulldome list so if anyone else is interested please drop me a
note and I will add you to my list to receive "the list".
Right now I am in the process of clarifying some of the information I
received and filling in some of the blanks for vendor systems and the
appropriate credits for each piece of content. I had originally
planned to create only a list of providers but I have expanded the
list to include vendor name, system(s) they provide, content, and
format(s) (fulldome, partial dome, panoramic, etc.). I have not
included contact information at this point but I may choose to do
that before the list is done. I may also include some pricing
information but that seems to be somewhat more of a variable than can
easily fit on this type of list. I'm using an Excel spreadsheet to
keep it all organized and readable.
Thanks again for all the help.
Michael V. Magee
Flandrau Science Center
1601 E. University Blvd
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
Voice: (520) 621-3645
FAX: (520) 621-8451