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Questions??

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  • Schmidt Mickey Civ 50 TS/CC
    All, I do have questions. I do need lots of information. I won t always know the best questions to ask so you may see many of these pleas for information.
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 27, 2000
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      All,

      I do have questions. I do need lots of information. I won't always know the
      best questions to ask so you may see many of these pleas for information.
      Maybe these questions will be useful to other readers so they could be
      posted on fulldome. If you are a vendor perhaps it would be best if answers
      were sent directly to me if you have ideas about fulldome systems. my email
      is mickey.schmidt@....

      I recently made a pitch for setting aside money to purchase an alldome
      system in the 3-5 year time frame. The presentation was very well received,
      a surprise to many here at the Academy. So maybe we are on our way to obtain
      such a system.

      So now I am in the research mode.

      Here are characteristics we are looking for.
      1. Full dome, full color, system.
      2. Real time, interactive, system.
      3. A system that can support some sort of flight simulation devices.
      4. A system that can support a (war) gaming scenario.
      5. A system that can accept alldome video from other sources.
      6. A system that can take output from NASA and research facilities
      and directly or with "simple" modifications be shown on our system
      7. A system that can be supported by Academy "in house" graphics
      artists. The academy currently has about half a dozen computer
      graphics artists using a variety of "common" graphics packages.
      8. Computer resources that "may" be available for flight simulators
      or other modeling or calculations.

      Here are some questions I have for now. I am assuming these are the current
      fulldome system providers. E&S, Goto, Spitz, Sky Skan, SGI, (Bowen)?
      (Zeiss)?

      1. What artisitc graphics packages are preferred or are being used
      by those of you who are producing orginal work?
      2. What kind of software is needed to take graphics from NASA or
      research facilities to make them into files compatible with
      your system?
      3. Is there a single (or a few) format that is compatable with all
      the systems now being used?
      4. If we obtain files from one of the exisiting sites what
      modifications must take place to convert it to any of the
      other systems?
      5. Are all systems using the same number of video projectors to
      cover the dome?
      6. By federal law our site is not able to charge admission and we do
      not have a budget to pay royalties or large sums for
      use or purchase, would any exisitng site consider co-production or
      some other form of sharing work on a project?

      To Carolyn, I'm trying to arrange a visit to your site.

      Mickey
    • Martin Ratcliffe
      Dear Mickey There are a lot of questions that you have that are best answered by visiting a number of different sites. I would recommend that you visit at
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 28, 2000
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        Dear Mickey

        There are a lot of questions that you have that are best answered by
        visiting a number of different sites. I would recommend that you visit at
        least one full dome playback system and one interactive system. Naturally I
        would like to welcome you here at Exploration Place where we have the
        StarRider system, fully interactive - plus a development studio called the
        Digital Design Studio (DDS) in a publicly visible area so that everyone can
        see the development of graphics as well as see the current show. While I
        understand that you would not need to have a DDS as such, I think you would
        find the clear-structured approach to what we have built very informative to
        your decision-making process.

        I would also be happy for you to spend a day with our team here to talk
        about many of the subjects you have questions about.

        Regards

        Martin

        Martin Ratcliffe
        Director, Theaters & Media Services
        Exploration Place
        300 N. McLean Blvd
        Wichita, KS 67203-5901 U.S.A.
        Tel +1 316 266 4255
        Fax +1 316 263 4545
        mratcliffe@...
        http://www.exploration.org

        "DISCOVER THE EXPLORER IN YOU"
        _______________________________________________________________
        NEW! Now available on newsstands is the 12-month review of the chief
        highlights of astronomical events for 2001 in "Explore the Universe 2001"
        published by Astronomy magazine written by Rich Talcott and myself. Also
        check the web site for quick reference month by month at
        http://www.astronomy.com
        _______________________________________________________________

        > All,
        >
        > I do have questions. I do need lots of information. I won't always know
        > the
        > best questions to ask so you may see many of these pleas for information.
        > Maybe these questions will be useful to other readers so they could be
        > posted on fulldome. If you are a vendor perhaps it would be best if
        > answers
        > were sent directly to me if you have ideas about fulldome systems. my
        > email
        > is mickey.schmidt@....
        >
        > I recently made a pitch for setting aside money to purchase an alldome
        > system in the 3-5 year time frame. The presentation was very well
        > received,
        > a surprise to many here at the Academy. So maybe we are on our way to
        > obtain
        > such a system.
        >
        SNIP
      • Ryan Wyatt
        Hey, Mickey. I ll take a stab at responding to some of your questions. NB that I don t represent any of the companies I mention below, and my info may not be
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 28, 2000
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          Hey, Mickey. I'll take a stab at responding to some of your questions.
          NB that I don't represent any of the companies I mention below, and my info
          may not be correct or up-to-date.

          >Here are characteristics we are looking for.
          > 1. Full dome, full color, system.
          > 2. Real time, interactive, system.
          > 3. A system that can support some sort of flight simulation devices.
          > 4. A system that can support a (war) gaming scenario.
          > 5. A system that can accept alldome video from other sources.
          > 6. A system that can take output from NASA and research facilities
          >and directly or with "simple" modifications be shown on our system
          > 7. A system that can be supported by Academy "in house" graphics
          >artists. The academy currently has about half a dozen computer
          >graphics artists using a variety of "common" graphics packages.
          > 8. Computer resources that "may" be available for flight simulators
          >or other modeling or calculations.

          Tough list! To the best of my knowledge, the only system that comes close
          is Hayden's (alas, I don't think anyone from that institution currently
          participates on the fulldome list), and by association, perhaps Denver's
          system-in-design. Dunno about Goto's Virtuarium. E&S could satisfy the
          requirements given a seamless merge between their realtime and playback
          (a.k.a. SkyVision) flavors of StarRider, but I'm not sure that's been
          accomplished just yet.

          The challenge is satisfying both 2 and 5... Depending on what you mean
          by "accept[ing] alldome video from other sources." I'm interpreting
          that as wanting to have a playback mode.

          >Here are some questions I have for now. I am assuming these are the current
          >fulldome system providers. E&S, Goto, Spitz, Sky Skan, SGI, (Bowen)?
          >(Zeiss)?

          I don't believe Bowen supplies a system (he's not on this list either, BTW),
          although he has created content, at least for Spitz's panoramic system.

          Zeiss/SGI is definitely a supplier, at least of realtime systems. I don't
          know if they work apart, and I believe Goto's system was based on SGI, so
          I also dunno how the relationship between Zeiss and SGI affects the
          relationship between Goto and SGI.

          > 1. What artisitc graphics packages are preferred or are being used
          >by those of you who are producing orginal work?

          LodeStar has committed to 3D Studio Max and Lightwave.

          > 2. What kind of software is needed to take graphics from NASA or
          >research facilities to make them into files compatible with
          >your system?

          Again, this depends on what you mean. We take still imagery from numerous
          sources and composite it into fulldome sequences fairly painlessly. The
          fulldome system you choose should provide a (probably proprietary) means
          of getting appropriately-formatted imagery onto your system.

          > 3. Is there a single (or a few) format that is compatable with all
          >the systems now being used?

          No. And the broader the meaning of "all the systems," the worse the level
          of compatibility!

          Sigh. I talked about standards at Carolyn's meeting in Houston. I even
          (quite dutifully) began to type up all my notes in HTML so I could post
          them to the listserve (as requested). Then I magically, stupidly deleted
          my extensively annotated work. Du'oh! I haven't gone back for a second
          swipe, but I'll try to do that soon.

          Anyway, I think there's a lot of territory to be covered in this realm,
          and the discussion, IMNSHO, should be framed in terms of standards for
          transfer.

          > 4. If we obtain files from one of the exisiting sites what
          >modifications must take place to convert it to any of the
          >other systems?

          This varies widely. Short answer: if the typical means of transfer for
          playback becomes the "dome master" or "polar projection," the most you'll
          have to do is "re-slice" the imagery for your projector set-up. On our
          SkyVision system, that takes place at approximately a one second per
          projector per frame overhead (much of which can be done in parallel).

          > 5. Are all systems using the same number of video projectors to
          >cover the dome?

          No. *Most* use six to cover the whole dome, but Hayden uses seven,
          and eight were required to cover the dome in Montréal. I believe
          Spitz's fulldome configuration would require seven projectors.

          > 6. By federal law our site is not able to charge admission and we do
          >not have a budget to pay royalties or large sums for
          >use or purchase, would any exisitng site consider co-production or
          >some other form of sharing work on a project?

          Short answer: yes.

          Hope that helps!


          Ryan.
        • webb@adlernet.org
          ... No problem ... No problem ... Do you mean custom input devices? That should be doable. Talk to people at E & S ... Talk to different people at E & S. ...
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 28, 2000
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            Mickey Schmidt writes:


            >Here are characteristics we are looking for.
            > 1. Full dome, full color, system.
            No problem
            >
            > 2. Real time, interactive, system.
            No problem
            >
            > 3. A system that can support some sort of flight simulation devices.
            Do you mean custom input devices? That should be doable. Talk to people at
            E & S
            >
            > 4. A system that can support a (war) gaming scenario.
            Talk to different people at E & S.
            >
            > 5. A system that can accept alldome video from other sources.
            If you already have a fully interactive, full dome system in place then
            having the capability of linear playback also should be fairly trivial.
            It's upgrading from linear to real-time that's hard. To get alldome video
            to playback you will need a playback source and a way to switch between
            real time and linear playback. I think any vendor that offers real time
            can set you up with a workable system. No one to my knowledge has done it
            yet but that doesn't mean that it's hard to do.

            Mixing the two at the same time is a subject for another time.

            >
            > 2. What kind of software is needed to take graphics from NASA or
            >research facilities to make them into files compatible with
            >your system?

            That depends. What is the format of the input file? What is the format of
            the output file? I am not aware of any software "Rosetta Stone" that
            translates anything to everything. The best tool you can have for this
            task is a PERSON who is talented at file conversion. The good news is that
            NASA and research facilities will usually be very helpful. If you know
            what you need as an end product they can help you get the data into that
            format.

            >
            > 3. Is there a single (or a few) format that is compatable with all
            >the systems now being used?
            Electricity seems to be compatible with all current systems. ;) Until we
            have standards the real question is: "How difficult is it to convert?"

            >
            > 4. If we obtain files from one of the exisiting sites what
            >modifications must take place to convert it to any of the
            >other systems?
            It depends, again, on the input format and the output format. Before
            committing to a system you should find out what kind of data format you
            need to have as a final product. Then work backward from that point to the
            common graphic formats or other formats that you will have access to. Get
            some samples of things you might want to convert and have the potential
            vendor convert them for you- with you present. That will give you a good
            idea of what's down the road for you.
            >
            >
            > 6. By federal law our site is not able to charge admission and we do
            >not have a budget to pay royalties or large sums for
            >use or purchase, would any exisitng site consider co-production or
            >some other form of sharing work on a project?

            Of course. I think almost everyone is willing to seriously talk about this.
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