Just for Kicks -- a Wee Quiz
- During a phone conversation with another fulldome list member the other
day, we lamented the lack of discussion on issues relating to aesthetics.
Technology, technology, technology,... Let's inject a different thread!
So in the interest of generating some listserve chit-chat, I thought
I'd make a request:
Name your three favorite immersive video sequences -- or at least
three sequences that knock your socks off -- and describe what makes
them work for you.
And I suppose I have to start the ball rolling. In no particular order...
Mike Carroll's shanty film, with the rough-hewn cross timbers. I know
there's a better way of indicating which scene I'm talking about, but
it's one in which the observer truly feels transported to a terrestrial
location. The immersive quality complements a composition that uses
high contrast elements (the aforementioned timbers) to break up the
visual -- and to help conceal the seams between projectors!
Sybil Media's futuristic trip from the Earth to the Moon, created for
Houston's "Destination: Moon" program. It's a toss-up for me between
this and Sybil's brilliantly understated space station, as it appeared,
flying in from the rear of the theater with the Earth reflected on
its solar panels, in the 1998 IPS demo. I pick the flight to the Moon
for its complexity of composition and the double-axis rotation that
creates a strong sense of movement (and perhaps queasiness). Nice use
of the medium, and one of the sequences that argues strongly in favor
of a full dome of imagery.
Tom Casey's flight by Jupiter and Saturn. I like it mostly because
it's exactly how I envisioned using fulldome video to teach astronomy.
Especially if you bring something like this up immediately after
showing the terrestrial planets on small, single video projectors.
No, really, Jupiter is the *biggest* planet! Plus, Jupiter just keeps
getting closer and closer and closer till it fills the entire dome.
A pleasant feeling.
Hmmm. I guess this is my honorable mention section. I also really enjoy
Kevin Beaulieu's piece for the SkyVision Project, which captures a sense
of motion that's more energetic and playful than most content-oriented
pieces have the luxury of being. Hayden Planetarium's Orion Nebula awed
me, but more for its astronomical content than its aesthetics. And I like
Aaron McEuen's flight over the globe created for Evans & Sutherland, again
for its playfulness.
My apologies for the SkyVision bias, but it's easiest to talk about
what we know most intimately, I suppose.
Anyone care to chime in?
- Hi Ryan,
OK, I'll bite on your invitation to talk about the aesthetics of full-dome
programming. And, I'll try to inject another viewpoint...from Japan.
GOTO's Virtuarium generally renders in real-time, with input from audience
members actually giving quantitative input to the computer. The following are
my favorite items from Fujigawa, where a program takes visitors at a river
interpretive center on a virtual ride aboard a "transformer" vehicle on several
of the most famous rivers of the solar system:
1. The audience input device is a paddle, about like a ping pong paddle, with
reflective tape on it. An infrared illuminator shines down on the audience.
The audience member "paddles" in the air to reflect IR pulses to the computer's
camera. More frantic paddling = more speed on the raft/boat/rocket. Lots of
fun and laughs, and visible participation gets everyone into the act. (Other
inputs are more calm, simply holding your paddle up or not to vote on the next
river to visit, and there's also an audio input in one section, where shouts
direct the program.)
2. Wind effects when speeding, and even CO2 fog rolling down the tilted seating
deck during an Amazon River tour make the program truly multi-sensory.
3. At one point, after a flight from Earth to Mars and a loop around Olympus
Mons, etc. the craft makes a water landing on a river....we go speeding along,
zigging and zagging like a New Zealand jet boat, until suddenly, the banks of
the river start to grow on either side! Taller and taller canyon walls...until
you realize that the river level is lowering...and fast! Finally, we come
skidding to a stop on the bottom of the Grand Canyon of Mars, with (Japanese)
dialog explaining that while the disappearance of Mars' water probably didn't
happen that fast, the mystery of where. when, and how it went away still
remains. This bit provides some fun and an astronomical lesson well learned, as
we sit there on the bottom of the canyon, watching the stars slowly glide across
the gap in the canyon walls above.
I realize that not many have seen this program, but I urge you to visit Japan,
where there are hours of full-dome Virtuarium video programming now being shown
daily. We're working on getting some of it to the USA for display, but don't
wait for us to bring small sections of it to you. Go to Japan and see for
yourself! I'll be happy to suggest sites you'll want to visit, and my GOTO
colleagues in Japan will help you get the most out of your visit while you are there.
As for my other favorites, I'll vote with you on Tom Casey's engulfing Jupiter
effect. It just smacks of BIG! An excellent use of the medium.
After that, I'll vote for most any effect that enters from any direction in the
REAR half of the dome. I'm afraid that we are still thinking of ourselves
presenting on 3 slide screen areas, left/center/right, in our unidirectional
domes, and bringing most elements in front and center. Part of the beauty of
sneaking up behind people is that they will swivel their heads, move around a
bit, and truly enjoy the full capabilities of the dome. We've got a truly
unique environment in the dome, let's remember to use it!
Ken Miller USA Liaison
Goto USA Toll Free: (888) 847-5800
1525 Bernice St. In Hawaii: (808) 847-5800
Honolulu, HI 96817-0916 Fax: (808) 847-5850
E-Mail: <gotousa@...> Web: www.goto.co.jp
- Rather than rank them 1, 2, 3, I'll just mention three.
I liked the initial scene of "Dharmok's Gate", wherein the alien ship rises
*around* us. It's the full-dome medium's equivalent of the now-famous
"overhead battle cruiser" shot that opened the first Star Wars.
Similar to the Alien Oceans scenes, Spitz's Mars panorama with a spacecraft
model flying through it is noteworthy for its effectiveness and simplicity.
And several of the abstract art and "MTV style" pieces in the SkyVision and
Spitz demos are also captivating.
Mark C. Petersen mark@...
Loch Ness Productions http://www.lochness.com
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