Re: Staffing requirements
- Hello All
This is in response to the staffing question related to full-dome. Before I
describe our situation, I'd like to express my enthusiasm for Wonders of The
Universe. Terence Murtagh has a knack for the right mix of narration and
special effects. The public has responded very well to the experience and we
highly recommend this E production.
Now about the staff:
We have run a full-dome system successfully for 2 years. The
Astronomy/Technology Department is larger than the Planetarium, but here's
the staff whose salaries are allocated to the planetarium.
Planetarium Manager (Carl Huffman) - 100% time
Responsibilities: staffing, working one day of weekend, Digistar
programming, Spice programming, about 2-3 shows per day. (Carl also helps in
the Challenger Center if it's a crisis)
Planetarium Animation Producer (Tony Butterfield) - 100% time
Responsibilities: management of the full dome system including aligning
projectors as well as maintenance of computers, transfer of files, handling
of render farm and program storage. Tony also produces 10-30 minutes of
animation for shows each year.
Planetarium Chief Operator (Jason Zermeno) - 100% time
Responsibilities: all slides, special effects, sound system, etc. Jason
also works one day of the weekend and handles 3-4 shows per day.
Planetarium weekend (and weekday in summers) operators - 12 hours per week
On days when we run full schedules (12, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 4, 4:30 and
5 shows) we bring in one part-time operator to do 6-7 of the shows.
Planetarium teacher (James Wooten) - 50% time
Responsibilities: school shows on weekday morning, coordinating with
schools, monthly starchart handouts, teaching 2 shows each day.
Director of Astronomy (me) - 30% time
Responsibilities: writing shows, coordinating with shows we bring in or
have produced off site, program planning, teaching one school show each day.
Our planetarium show schedule is significant:
weekdays: 9:30, 10:30, 11:20, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00
weekends and summer: (optional 10:00 and 11:00), 12:00, 1:00, 1:30,
2:00, 2:30, 3:00, 4:00, 4:30, 5:00
The 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 4:00, and 5:00 shows are the full-dome feature.
The 1:30, 2:30, and 4:30 shows are a prescripted live/taped product
The 3:"00 show is an old-fashioned star show.
9:30 and 10:30 are school shows (live and interactive)
12:00 is a live school show targeted for young audiences
11:20 and 1:00 are full-dome features
2:00 is the prescripted live/taped product
3:00 is the old-fashioned star show.
In the full-dome category, we have offered
Destination: Moon and Powers of Time (over 50% full dome) - we produced
Alien Oceans (100% full dome) - we produced
Wonders of the Universe (100% full dome) - from E
Force Five (starting in June - 100% full dome) - is being produced in
In the prescripted category we have offered
Where is Carmen I
Sailing by the Stars - we produced
Stars of China (beginning in March) - we are producing
Carmen II (beginning in June)
It has taken us two years to get to this point and this schedule does work.
It has allowed us to remove the laser show from our venue - except for a
Holiday Lights show which included full dome segments as well.
The mix of shows has been necessary because there remains a market for the
old-fashioned star show and for specialty shows that complement exhibits. It
would be much too expensive to create these specialty shows in full-dome.
Our goal this year is to do as well without lasers as we have done in the
past with them. We are slightly revenue positive. We do not have an
advertising budget, which has made it much more difficult to change public
awareness of our new system.
In summary, we added Tony Butterfield when we brought in full-dome, but we
have lost our laser person when laser went away. So the net is about the
I hope this helps. Please give us a visit if you want to see a staff in
- Is the all dome community in hibernation or are we all simply busy?
A few stills from some all dome animations of mine can be seen in an
All were rendered on Macs, using 'Electric image' animation software.
In regards to perhaps being able to pay for program developement. As you
may know I am looking at a program dealing with solar space weather and its
influence on earth, magnetosphere and space hardware. Do you have any art
related to these topics available? As our plans, the USAF Physics Department
and the Military Aerospace Class instructors decide exactly on the content
we'd like we can talk about specific art and graphics.
- I truly appreciate inquiries about commissioning work, however such
messages should be directed to my private E-mail address and not placed
on the listserve. My sincere thanks, and I look forward to seeing more
happen in this wonderful medium.
'May the projectors be banished from the best seats in the house'
[Your preference is noted. I actually considered forwarding the note
to you alone, but just hit "approve" instead. I'm sending this to the
listserve as well, just so folks know. I'll try to catch such stuff
in the future, though. --RJW]