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Re: Content providers

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  • Brad Thompson
    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
    Message 1 of 16 , Mar 28, 2003
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      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
      farm. ;-)

      It's nice to see some discussion on production aesthetics here!

      Brad Thompson - bthompson@...
      Digital Animation and Design - Spitz, Inc.
    • Todd Slisher
      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
      Message 2 of 16 , Mar 29, 2003
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        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

        Todd K. Slisher
        Director of Theaters
        Detroit Science Center
        5020 John R Street
        Detroit, MI 48202
        Tslisher@...
      • Aaron McEuen
        Folks, 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
        Message 3 of 16 , Mar 30, 2003
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          Folks,
          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
          results.

          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.

          Aaron McEuen
          Producer/Lead Animator
          Clark Planetarium
          SLC, UT 801 456-4934 (This number is different from my last)
        • Michael V. Magee
          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
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 7, 2003
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            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 Magee

            Michael V. Magee
            Planetarium Director
            Flandrau Science Center
            1601 E. University Blvd
            University of Arizona
            Tucson, AZ 85721

            Voice: (520) 621-3645
            FAX: (520) 621-8451
            email: mvmagee@...
            http://www.flandrau.org/
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