Full Dome Summit - IPS 2008
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Fulldome Summit at IPS 2008:
The Future of Fulldome

The International Planetarium Society’s Fulldome Video Committee, DomeFest, and the Adler Planetarium are co-sponsoring the second Fulldome Summit as a special session of IPS 2008 on Thursday, 3 July, at the Hyatt Regency and Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois.

See full program as PDF (832KB). Abstracts have been accepted for two paper sessions:

1) Emerging Fulldome Technologies - Papers of a deep technical nature are solicited on emerging fulldome technologies covering topics such as automatic multi-projector alignment, digital hemispheric live- action cameras, 4k x 4k production workflow, cutting-edge real-time applications, or stereoscopic fulldome systems.

2) Future of Fulldome - Papers focusing on broad-brush future directions for fulldome theaters are solicited covering topics such as networked domes, entertainment programming, content development consortiums, large-format film, fulldome convergence, etc.

Schedule Overview
Thursday, 3 July 2008

BREAKFAST Sponsored by Sky-Skan
DomeFest Registration
Hyatt Regency Ballroom AB

Welcome to Fulldome SummitR. Wyatt
Papers - Future of FulldomeChair: E. Lantz
Introducing IMERSAModerator: D. Neafus
BREAK Sponsored by SCISS
Hyatt Regency Ballroom AB

Panel - Future of FulldomeD. Cox, A. Diaz, I. McLennan, N. Ohta
Moderator: R. Wyatt
Papers - Emerging Fulldome TechnologiesChair: E. Lantz
LUNCH On Your Own
Hyatt Regency Ballroom AB

Papers - Emerging Fulldome TechnologiesPapers Chair: E. Lantz
Fulldome Standards Keynote
Sponsored by Global Immersion
Walt Ordway
Relocate to Adler Theater
Adler Universe Theater

Standards Roundtable with Walt OrdwayModerator: E. Lantz

Full Program
3 July 2008

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois USA

7:30 a.m–8:25 a.m.
BREAKFAST Sponsored by Sky-Skan

8:25 a.m–10:30 a.m.
MORNING SESSION 1—Hyatt Regency Ballroom AB

Fulldome Summit Welcome (8:25 a.m–8:30 a.m.)
Ryan Wyatt, Morrison Planetarium, California Academy of Sciences

Papers: Future of Fulldome (8:30 a.m–10:00 a.m.)
1. The state of the dome address
Mark C. Petersen, Loch Ness Productions
As perspective for pondering the future of fulldome as a medium and market, it might be useful to review its current state. Statistics drawn from Loch Ness Production’s "LNP Fulldome Theater Compendium ONLINE!” are presented and discussed, and provide some answers to the quintessential questions: "Who are we, where are we, and what are we doing?”

2. Trends in fulldome show production and distribution
Mike Bruno, Spitz, Inc.
This paper presents an introduction to what’s involved in creating, promoting and successfully distributing a pre‐rendered fulldome show. We’ll look at the business case for producing an original show (nearly 100 titles are currently available or in development), including an overview of "typical” show production costs and development cycles, creative and technology requirements, realistic distribution/revenue expectations and average license fees for a range of theatre types. Several recent partnerships and collaborative productions, including "The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather” and "Black Holes: the Other Side of Infinity” will also be discussed.

3. The perception of domed virtual environments
Peter Carss and Katina Hazelden, University of Plymouth, UK
The field of immersive domed virtual environments has not taken full advantage of research into other technologically mediated experiences. It is also true to say that fields of research centred on other mixed reality technologies have remained unaware of developments in dome based environments.
This paper reviews research on the role of experience, action, presence and affect in perceptual and cognitive processes. Our aim is to suggest how this research might apply to domed virtual environments—to begin to demystify ambiguities surrounding immersivity. Also presented are early attempts to apply research findings to content creation within an experiential learning context.
Domes can be defined as a shared virtual environment within the virtuality continuum. This concept provides a framework to understand the similarities and differences (perceptual, cognitive and social) that exist between domed virtual environments, their virtual and mixed reality cousins and reality itself. We investigate: research on habitualisation to virtual environments and alternatives to the ‘suspension of disbelief’ model; the claim that perception is 90% memory; the pursuit of realism in simulation; and the impact of social presence in virtual environments and its relation to collaborative learning.

4. Future directions for research: Media aesthetics and fulldome filmmaking
Ka Chun Yu, Gates Planetarium, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Although a relatively young medium, immersive fulldome theaters have seen growth not only in numbers, but also in the types of programming that are being developed for them, from astronomy and other scientific disciplines to art and music. Basic research is now being done to understand how audiences learn within these environments, including the general cognitive benefits of the visualizations themselves as well as the displays used to show them. In this paper I will argue for a direction for future research lying not in cognition but in the affective realm, looking specifically at how creative filmmaking choices in the presentation of specific media elements can result in emotional reactions in the viewer. These media elements have been studied as media aesthetics in traditional cinema, but have never been properly applied to the fulldome realm. Research in traditional communications studies shows that affective responses to media can lead to concomitant changes in viewer interest, attention, and learning. This suggests powerful ways in which the fulldome medium itself can directly impact viewer response for both scientific and artistic discourse.

5. Xraying for rack space: creating a fulldome production environment at the California Academy of Sciences
Ryan Wyatt, Morrison Planetarium, California Academy of Sciences
The oldest scientific institution in the West, the California Academy of Sciences, has reinvented itself inside what will be the largest green building in the world open to the public. When the Academy reopens in September 2008, it will feature a completely rebuilt, purely digital Morrison Planetarium. Furthermore, the planetarium will be fully integrated into a visualization studio that will also support creation of stereoscopic and high–definition video content throughout the institution. The production environment incorporates both a traditional approach based on Autodesk Maya and Pixar RenderMan tools as well as the use of SCISS Uniview software for specifically astronomical content; hardware and software tools are being developed to streamline this hybridized pipeline. Assembling production resources while creating a show and opening a new facility is not recommended practice, but the Academy has attempted to capture the vitality and enthusiasm of a unique moment in its history to embark on an ambitious development project. This paper will summarize the specific hardware and software choices made at the Academy, and it will describe the production process undertaken for the opening show.

6. How to turn your full dome into a highend immersive, interactive experience
Philippe Chiwy, de pinxi
The presentation will focus on the upgrading of existing projection architectures into high‐end entertainment venues. We will introduce both infrastructure challenges for system retrofitting and content strategies. Budget issues as well as ease of implementation and operation will be covered. Furthermore, the presentation explains the added value of the introduction of special effects, spatialized sound and interaction into these audiovisual entertainment environments. Case studies and actual achievements are presented including pictures and video clips.

Introducing IMERSA (10:00 a.m–10:30 a.m.)
Meet the IMERSA Founding Committee and find out how you can support this important community effort. Immersive Media, Entertainment, Research, Science & Arts is a professional association founded to advance and promote the art and science of large‐scale digital immersive media and immersive group experiences including (but not limited to) surround digital theaters and digital (fulldome) planetarium theaters. Mandated to raise the profile and professionalism of its members, IMERSA bridges many disciplines including managers, researchers, artists and technicians. IMERSA is a driver and nexus for communication, collaboration, experimentation, education and promotion of digital immersive media in a variety of formats and functions. IMERSA founding committee members:
Dan Neafus, Gates Planetarium, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Ed Lantz, Visual Bandwith, Inc. and Spherical Media Group
Ryan Wyatt, Director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences and Chair of the IPS Fulldome Committee
David Beining, Associate Director of Immersive Media, LodeStar Astronomy Center, University of New Mexico and founder/organizer of DomeFest
David McConville, Elumenati

10:30 a.m–10:45 a.m.
BREAK Sponsored by SCISS

10:45 a.m–12:30 p.m.
MORNING SESSION 2—Hyatt Regency Ballroom AB
Panel: Future of Fulldome (10:45 a.m–11:30 a.m.)
Ryan Wyatt, Morrison Planetarium, California Academy of Sciences

Papers: Emerging Fulldome Technologies (11:30 a.m–12:30 p.m.)
7. Emerging fulldome technologies and the future of fulldome
Martin Howe, Global Immersion
What are recent digital dome growth trends telling us? How do we stay ahead of the quickly evolving digital cinema industry; creating and sustaining fulldome environments that appeal to a wider audience? The fulldome industry is seeing an ongoing exponential development of digital technologies; advancements in large format theater design, hybrid immersive environments and combined real–time/pre–rendered solutions are taking us onto the next level of fulldome. In the process of morphing together former film–based environments with fulldome VR solutions, the coalescence of high performance graphics, increased fidelity, gaming technologies, true–to–life texture mapping and sensory interactivity is geared toward improving the visitor experience. But the challenge is how to further heighten these experiences… what happens next?

8. Development of a liveaction fulldome digital camera
Tom Kwasnitschka, AllSky.de
Fulldome live–action capture based on analog and digital media has long been treated as a marginal effect in commercial productions for the medium. This talk examines the possibilites of live action in general and looks at some past and present solutions to its realization.
Emerging camera technologies, such as the RED One camera, have given rise to the possibility of producing 2.3k, 30fps live–action sequences at a reasonable cost compared to average production budgets. While these single–camera technologies still lag behind the current resolution standard for large productions, they allow important practical experience in addressing questions such as integration of the photographic look into existing CG production workflows, production for multiple formats regarding dome tilt, issues considering the projection quality in connection with scene composition and the development of a working filming language for a polar panoramic format, considering that the audience needs to accept the captured reality.
Acknowledging the fast technological advance of capture devices within the restrictions of the industrial norms of the movie business—namely in the field of sensor formats–the construction of a modular adaptor based on beam splitting technology shall be advocated. By this way the resolution of the dome master image shall be increased to at least 4k, feeding two exchangeable imaging devices off a single optical path. The proposition of technical specifications shall be a call for a group effort of interested parties to create such a device and develop a business model for it under the coordination of IMERSA.

9. Frickin’ video beams attached to their heads! Digital dome music entertainment programming
Mike Murray, Clark Planetarium
The fusion of art, music, lasers and conventional planetarium effects enjoyed a period of novelty and experimentation in the 1970’s and 80’s, but quickly waned in popularity in the 90’s as more complex forms of entertainment choreography hit the scene. The introduction of digital fulldome animation has provided a much wider palette to paint the dome sky with, and the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in "music entertainment” programs. Many more innovative styles and artistic interpretations are now possible, providing more than just "rock ‘n roll” experiences under the dome.

10. Cosmix: a community building project
Claudia Cumbie–Jones, Lance Ford Jones, David Steiling, Ringling College of Art and Design
Jeff Rodgers, Bishop Planetarium
In April of 2008, Ringling College of Art and Design partnered with the South Florida Museum’s Bishop Planetarium to create Cosmix, an installation/performance event. This was conceived as a community–building project. The title, Cosmix, suggested works that might be cosmic in their aspirations and mixed in their media. In addition, the event was oriented around the theme of the cardinal directions, in this case seven directions—East, South, West, North, Up, Down, and Inward. Several classes were involved in creating installations within the space of the museum and in crafting a final evening event within the planetarium’s full dome.
Our contribution to the Cosmix final show was called "Dreamcatcher”. Through some innovative programming on the part of the planetarium director, rather than rendering it as a fulldome piece, we were able to feed seven separate mpeg2 files into each of the projectors of the Sky–Scan system. We created a previsualization tool using MAX/MSP/Jitter allowing us to synchronize our seven video and audio tracks prior to seeing them on the dome. We believe that this is a model for a lowcost way of working with educational institutions as well as independent new media artists in which other planetariums may be interested.

12:30 p.m–2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m–3:30 p.m.
AFTERNOON SESSION 1—Hyatt Regency Ballroom AB
Papers: Emerging Fulldome Technologies (2:00 p.m–3:00 p.m.)

11. Methods for sharing audio among planetariums
Leslie Gaston, Peter Dougall and Curtis Connelly, Department of Music & Entertainment Industry Studies, University of Colorado
In 2006, Operations Manager Dan Neafus of Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science approached the Recording Arts department at the University of Colorado Denver about collaborating to explore solutions for sharing audio with other planetariums around the world so that audiences have similar immersive audio experiences, and audio engineers can easily create those experiences. The on–going research considers: acoustics, production, delivery, equipment, seating arrangements, current and future audio technology, and what similarities and differences exist between planetariums. This paper highlights a 2007 survey of over 100 planetariums worldwide, describing current audio methods and practices. This significant work will be presented at the 2008 AES (Audio Engineering Society) convention, and supports the community’s movement towards audio standardization and dissemination of best practices for immersive audio production.

12. The future of sound for fulldome environments
Rene Rodigast, Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology
Regarding the complete immersion of the audience, increasing quality requirements of video for fulldome systems and new standards for audio quality are expected. To realize this immersive feeling and to lead the audience into new worlds, a visual envelopment and new forms of listening are needed. On every seat in the listening area the audience shall perceive the full spatiality of sound and realize the movement of video and sound objects as real. In order to cope with these demands, future systems for the acoustic irradiation of domes have to be very different from the current conventional sound systems.
Finding a compromise between high definition video projections, applicable dome acoustics and high sound quality presents a real challenge and shall be described in the lecture. Furthermore, in future full dome projections, content must be exchangeable and scalable for every dome size. The lecture will give an overview about applicable solutions for sound reinforcement in full domes and also gives an outlook on future audio systems.

13. Fulldome presentation and content development tools
Toshiyuki Takahei, Orihalcon Technologies, Inc.
This summer the first public stereoscopic full–dome theater in Japan will open at Japan Science Museum. This new theatre will feature pre–rendered and interactive content, not only for astronomy but also for the wider field of science visualisation, art, entertainment and more. We also developed an intuitive, easy–to–use presentation tool allowing the full–dome environment to be used for interactive talks and content development. In this talk I’ll demonstrate the latest results of the original content and software development.

14. Realtime tools for fulldome production and presentation
Marco Silva and António Pedrosa, Navegar Foundation
New tools for real–time manipulation and previewing of fulldome content are presented. The advantage of these new tools is the ability to directly bring content under production using third party software to the dome. This is a new approach that has huge advantages in the workflow, increasing efficiency in production and testing. The projection of content in the dome is also possible, through different solutions, mainly focused on single projector solutions. Manipulation of images and video in real–time fulldome presentations is also possible. The rather simple philosophy of the software brings new possibilities, and we would like to present and discuss some of them, in matters related with input content, control and projection.

Keynote Speaker: Walt Ordway (3:00 p.m–3:30 p.m.)
Walt Ordway was Chief Technology Officer at Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) from July 2002 to September 2005, where he led the creation of the DCI digital cinema specification. The DCI consortium was founded in 2002 by seven major Hollywood Studios to develop the digital cinema specification now used in over 5,000 theaters worldwide. Prior to that, Walt worked 30 years for Hughes Electronics, where his primary duties had been in the areas of program management and business development. While in the commercial satellite segment of Hughes, he developed the Hughes Digital Cinema business plan and an end–to–end architecture utilizing a satellite delivery system. He also served as VP at DIRECTV domestic, and as Director of the Development Lab at DirecTV International where he was involved in two major international DirecTV satellite broadcast systems. Sponsored by Global Immersion.

Relocate to Adler Planetarium

4:00 p.m–5:00 p.m.
AFTERNOON SESSION 2—Adler Planetarium, 3D Theater
Fulldome Standards Roundtable, Concurrent with DomeFest (4:00 p.m–5:00 p.m.)
Ed Lantz, Visual Bandwidth, Inc.

Thanks to the many volunteers who made the Fulldome Summit possible!

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