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Just for Kicks -- a Wee Quiz

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  • Ryan Wyatt
    During a phone conversation with another fulldome list member the other day, we lamented the lack of discussion on issues relating to aesthetics. Technology,
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 4, 2000
      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?

    • Ken Miller
      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.
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 4, 2000
        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
      • Mark C. Petersen
        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
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 6, 2000
          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
          Mark C. Petersen mark@...
          Loch Ness Productions http://www.lochness.com
          __________________________ GEODESIUM _________
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