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RE: humour me!

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  • Ed Lantz
    ... Although we were the first to demonstrate a multiprojector edge-blended video system for planetaria, Spitz has not pushed the full-dome systems as ... I
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 20, 2000
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      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"
      > show.

      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
      usual approach).

      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.




      Ed Lantz
      Product Development Manager
      Spitz, Inc.
      U.S. Route #1
      Chadds Ford, PA 19317
      tel: (610) 459-5200 x27
      fax: (610) 459-3830
      email: elantz@...
      home email: edlantz@...

      *********** Advancing the Science of Awe *************
    • csumners@hmns.org
      In response to Ed s comments: We have been very pleasantly surprised about how well behaved our Barcos have been -- especially considering their different
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 23, 2000
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        In response to Ed's comments:

        We have been very pleasantly surprised about how well behaved our Barcos
        have been -- especially considering their different ages. Don't worry about
        bumping. An earthquake maybe, but a bump will hurt you more than the
        behemeth projector. We have two of our Barco's on carts in the front of the
        room where I thought they'd be knocked all the time. But they're staying
        right where they're supposed to.

        If you have a technical person now, that person can maintain a SkyVision,
        and I suspect a Spitz, system. You probably won't need another person for
        that. Just a few rules: (1) when the installer aligns the projectors, pay
        attention and take notes. Regardless of the quality of the maintenance and
        tech support, nothing beats watching and repeating. (2) if you live in a
        hot humid area, don't let the money-saving maintenance folks turn off your
        air conditioning at night. Projectors, computers, and everything in between
        hate the heat and a condensing atmosphere is not good either!

        We still have external fans blowing on some equipment where the air
        conditioning doesn't cool enough when the theater is full.

        The nice thing about SkyVision, ElectricSky, and I suspect the others, is
        that we're using equipment that is used lots of other places. There's a
        reliability to off-the-shelf equipment.

        BUT, the most important thing, once the projectors are projecting, is
        PRODUCT. Cool graphics are as important as cool projectors!

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