Re: Multi-Media Interludes
- My initial rumination:
>>The problem with multi-media interludes is that they can seriouslyBrought a query from Mark:
>>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 conventionalTo have qualified my statement a little more, I should have written,
>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
"The *potential* problem with multi-media sequences..." To my mind,
whether the still images "pale in comparison" is more an issue of how
they're integrated into the flow of the program.
Juxtaposing still-moving-still sequences, IMO, invites problems.
Back when I programmed in a more traditional planetarium environment,
I became enamored of slewed video images because they allowed for
continuous motion in the scene, even if the video was a still image.
I could then decelerate the still image into position, cross fade it
into a slide, whatever. (Effectively like using a zoom-slew slide
As I said before, the domed environment at its best transports the
viewer to another place -- acting as the "space-time machine" that
David Beining described. One must take great care of the viewer
during the transitions (a reason I detest hard cuts in the dome, BTW,
'cuz those of us who watch this stuff all the time have become inured
to instantaneous transport between virtual spaces, whereas many
audience members have not). And the abruptness of a multi-media
interlude, particularly as I have seen them practiced, is what I
think "can seriously disrupt the continuity of that experience,
creating aesthetic and cognitive challenges for the viewer."
If I were programming multi-media segments into a fulldome show
(considering the definitions *not* to be exclusive), I would use the
same tricks that television producers have used for decades --
pan-and-scan and zoom -- as well as screens that exist in 3D space,
floating toward the viewer and preserving a sense of continuity.
One example that comes to mind is the elegantly composed sequence
from "Infinity Express" during which flat Mars Surveyor images fade
in and out in front of a structured mesh of faint lines. The still
images glide toward the viewer and float upward in the space,
maintaining a constant sense of motion within a vast space. A very
pleasing use of the fulldome environment that didn't rely on 3D
rendering per se: obviously, it's 3D, but it's "cheap" 3D in the
sense that it doesn't involve complex volumetric rendering or
ray-tracing work. From my perspective, that sequence succeeds nicely
and would fit in beautifully between 3D scenes.
>Pacing, flow, continuity -- they all have to blend together. HavingWell, it depends how quickly one is flying -- and I would describe it
>vibrant visual imagery fly past you while the soundtrack is pastoral
>(or the other way around) doesn't make for an effective presentation.
as the viewer flying through the space, rather than the imagery
flying at the viewer. While I like to think of 3D as "wow," it can
take on many tones of "wowness," from the thrilling to the delightful
to the sublime.
>Now, certainly one wouldn't want a roller coaster ofThe key word here is "jolt." If the transition(s) can be made
>wow-snore-wow-snore jolts during a show. Is this what 2D-3D-2D-3D
>does, do you think?
smoothly and effectively, then 2D-3D-2D-1D-3D doesn't matter. It's
an issue of storytelling constrained by technology.
To offer a distinct example... We ran into a similar problem with
the use of interactive technology at the Dorrance Planetarium in
Phoenix. When giving the audience a chance to vote on something,
many shows would simply grind to a halt (images would freeze or blink
out, soundtracks would click off), much pushing of buttons would take
place, and then everything would start up again. You could
practically hear the flywheels spinning up. Christine Shupla, Mike
George, and I worked on smoothing the transitions so the audience
experienced little or no "jolt" that would disrupt the flow of the
With all that said, I think there are didactic reasons why
maintaining the continuity of a 3D space makes sense. I outlined
those in my first message. Costs aside, I'd say keep things 3D.
Ryan Wyatt, Science Visualizer
Rose Center for Earth & Space
American Museum of Natural History
79th Street & Central Park West
New York, NY 10024