In Response to Alex's comments:
> "in a unidirectional theatre, why would people want to turn
> around? If your
> storyline was gripping enough, then what was the reason to spend large
> amounts of money and time projecting images behind people's heads?"
Although we were the first to demonstrate a multiprojector edge-blended
video system for planetaria, Spitz has not pushed the full-dome systems as
hard as others, and for good reason. To start with, take Ryan's comment:
> It takes your production from 80% to 110% *if used properly* and can
> make the difference between a "good" show and a "I-gotta-see-it-again"
I agree. Some content looks 100% as good with a panoramic system,
especially when the full dome is "faked" with all skys. Other content must
be carefully produced to look as good, or the edge truncation effect will be
less than ideal. So why compromise?
Panoramic systems remain optimal in price/performance. For an occasional
20-30% increase in impact (depending on content), we are spending twice the
money on video equipment, and forcing productions to cost perhaps 3x as much
and take significantly longer to complete, assuming we attempt to achieve
equal quality with a full dome system. A panoramic system allows the show
producer to focus their efforts (and budget) where it counts the most,
within the viewer's most active field of view (wider fields of view have
diminishing cognitive effects). And it is a great stepping stone into the
world of dome video. Remember, most planetarians still use opaquing fluid
on slides, long for a computer that can run the latest version of Photoshop,
argue that digitally processing slides are too expensive, and remain
clueless about 3D rendering. Stepping stones are very important as we
transition the profession into the digital age.
Then we have the maintenance on those extra projectors and video channels.
I seriously doubt that every fulldome theater will be properly maintained
over time. Projectors will get bumped, will drift, and will age over time.
Color balancing 6-7 projectors is a daunting task. Maintenance budgets will
have to be increased significantly -- no video projector is as reliable as
an optomechanical machine. Not that this is reason not to buy fulldome, but
these factors must be taken into consideration.
Admittedly, a full-dome producer is still free to limit themselves to the
forward portion of the dome if they wish, while a panoramic theater must
stick to the panorama or use other projectors to work the entire dome (the
Purchasing a partial dome system now allows highly effective shows to be
more easily produced, and allows the staff to come up to speed on dome video
production, animation, projector maintenance, etc. without being
overwhelmed. In a few years, when they make the leap into fulldome, video
projection technology will be more robust, and fulldome show production will
be faster and easier to do, thanks to today's fulldome pioneers and
increases in processor speed and software developments. And it will be
easier to justify an upgrade, as the increase in performance will be
Not everyone wants to be a "bleeding edge" pioneer. For instance, we have
been offering SGI playback systems for 4 years now without a single sale.
That is partly because we warn prospective customers that they will be
pioneering new technologies. Likewise, successful use of a fulldome system
remains higher risk than a partial dome system, and we honestly convey this
to our customers. As our fulldome technology matures, as it indeed is, we
will promote it much more heavily to our clients. It is truly an exciting
technology, and one that Spitz is 100% committed to. Stay tuned for further
One reason to definitely go full dome is if your video system is also your
only star projector...
> I could see the logic if you have chairs on peds that can
> swing round 360
> degrees and perhaps thats the way to go...
One educator's experience with a 360-degree theater with swivel seats was
that students stopped swiveling after a few minutes and stared straight
ahead. We are conditioned too much by television and movies for this to be
effective, I am afraid.
Product Development Manager
U.S. Route #1
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
tel: (610) 459-5200 x27
fax: (610) 459-3830
home email: edlantz@...
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