SALT LAKE CITY, USA -- At the 2014 IMERSA Summit in March, key stakeholders in specialty cinema discussed the convergence taking place between giant-screen film domes and digital dome theaters (aka fulldome theaters, or digital planetariums). The dialog moved representatives of leading fulldome system providers Sky-Skan, SCISS and Evans & Sutherland to form a new special interest group: AFDI, the Association of Fulldome Innovators.
Leading fulldome system providers Sky-Skan, SCISS, RSA Cosmos and Evans & Sutherland form a new special interest group; AFDI, the Association of Fulldome Innovators.
The field of immersive, media-based experiences got a boost when IMERSA welcomed some 200 professionals to its annual Summit, March 6-9 in Denver, to share creative tools, information and business models for planetariums, science centers, and visitor attractions. IMERSA is a nonprofit founded in 2008 on a vision of the potential of digital dome video (“fulldome”) to drive the future of immersive media and digital cinema. The sectors of media production, computer graphics, giant screen cinema, virtual reality, themed entertainment, science education and multimedia arts were all represented at the 2014 Summit.
(Above: In the Gates Planetarium dome at IMERSA Summit 2014. Photo: Mie Kosaka)
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By positioning the fulldome niche within the larger context of family leisure offerings, IMERSA strives to help dome theaters and content creators become more competitive. Over the past 15 years, hundreds of planetariums around the world have replaced or supplemented their opto-mechanical starball projectors with sophisticated multi-projector, 360 digital dome video (“fulldome”) systems - quietly growing an international network of high-end specialty theaters that keep pushing the technology envelope – some all the way to 8K stereo 3D at 60 frames per second.
The Jena FullDome-Festival wants to encourage people from planetariums, fulldome theatres, universities, museums, creative artists, digital dancers, pioneers, vendors and visionaries to explore and embrace fulldome as an immersive art form, educational tool and mind altering experience for all the senses.
The grand opening of the 8th FullDome Festival on May 21st will feature a special theatrical performance (“Kometentanz”) in the dome of the Jena Planetarium. From May 22 to 24, full-length feature shows, short films and clips will be presented and assessed. Friday night, May 23 will feature creative productions by students from Germany and abroad. The festival brochure, to be published shortly before the Festival, will detail the whole program with shows, short films, student works and workshops.
The 2014 Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) Film Expo took place in Austin, Texas, at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, March 24-25.
Of late, the GSCA Film Expo has also been a digital technology showcase. Within this specialty sector, the changeover to digital technology is taking longer than it has in mainstream cinema, because of the challenges for to achieve a satisfactory digital replacement for the high visual standard of 1570 film plus the sheer size of the screen.
Some giant screen theaters (mostly flatscreen) now have digital projection, but a goodly number still rely on film projection, and so the GSCA screening venue must accommodate 2D and 3D projection in both film and digital. Attendees were supplied with two different sets of 3D glasses (RealD and IMAX). This year’s digital projection system was a temporary installation furnished by Electrosonic in collaboration with RealD and Christie.
Right: Tammy Seldon, GSCA executive director. Photo by James Neihouse for GSCA. ©GSCA 2014.