Full Dome Software listing

Several new Full Dome software packages have been created lately,
and it might be useful to list and review them when possible.

Blendy Dome VJ

Blendy Dome VJ is an intuitive fulldome mapping tool that features a realtime dome slicer and 3D content viewer designed for fulldome VJ‘s. This next generation software can easily map dome surfaces using 3-6 projector outputs and 1 to 2 Matrox Triplehead  adaptors to distort and project on curved surfaces.

Blendy Dome VJ reads any Syphon Server playing domemaster medias and also allows you to preview content on a virtual 3D dome. Studio Avante and United VJs are excited for this new inexpensive VJ tool and are available for technical support around the globe.

Q Lab
qlab_screenshot_1QLab allows you to design and operate amazing multimedia performances from your Mac OS X computer. A single QLab workspace can control audio, video, MIDI, OSC, and more.

Vertical dome used for R & D.

Photo courtesy of Paul Bourke

Introduction to spherical mirror and projector usage

Full Dome innovator Paul Bourke has designed an inexpensive method of  using a spherical mirror to project onto a dome. Several of his applications are listed below.
Original paper presented at SIGGRAPH in 2005

Spherical Mirror research results by Paul Bourke
This is a collection of material related to the projection into a hemispherical dome using a spherical mirror, a projection technique developed by Paul Bourke in 2003 and variously referred to as “sphemir” or “mirrordome”

Warp Player
Quartz Composer patches to use with Mirror Dome (Mac).

Warp Patch
Warp Patch for Quartz Composer (Mac).

iDome
Used for spherical mirror projection

VLC Player
This is a combination of the popular VLC player and the custom mesh support by Paul Bourke. (Mac and PC).

 


Additional avenues:

Quartz Composer
Quartz Composer is a development tool for processing and rendering graphical data. Its visual programming environment lets you develop graphic processing modules, called compositions, without writing a single line of code. Quartz Composer is also a framework that lets you programmatically access, manage, and manipulate compositions created with the development tool.

World Wide Telescope
This amazing tool is an excellent way to explore the sky. It can work with mirror dome, fish eye projectors, or flat screen.

The Sky
This planetarium software accommodates a variety of adjustments for the projector architecture..

A busy year for the blog in 2013!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Perception: See Beyond the Illusion

Well it seems that I’ve been remiss by not informing my readers of a great Fulldome show we just closed. I’m sorry you missed it!  Perception: See Beyond the Illusion was a presentation by World Champion of Magic Jason Latimer and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
I’ve been scripted effects, shaping video and still images along with Jason’s producer Daniel Urbach. Jason and Daniel quickly grasped the FullDome concept and began using it in interesting ways.
This was a live stage presentation that combines the illusionist art, and FullDome visuals in a unique way. We flew to the edge of the Universe, went underwater, and turned the dome into a giant jig saw puzzle.
We added an extension to our small stage, and even removed the first two rows of seats to give Jason more room. The front row is now extremely close as he combines physics, psychology, chemistry mathematics and technology with his amazing effects. The dome is utilized to expand and illustrate the concepts from the stage show.
For several segments a camera and smaller video projector are used, allowing everyone a close up view. The camera shot is blended into a dome filling graphic of a beautiful theater.
Jason’s unique take on science and visual perceptions are the bedrock of this new and different show.
We were so impressed with Jason that we are going to make him our “Director of Impossible Science”. He will have his own space here to create a permanent exhibit.
Full_dome_on_stage

Fulldome Production News Issue 3

Hello,
Today I will look at the Fulldome industry, where it came from, and perhaps where we might be going.
I will refer to several industry resources and providers also.
But first, a short history lesson, sadly leaving many innovators unmentioned out of my desire for brevity.
Planetariums have had a long history of experimenting with new technology, combining not only the star projector, but projectors that were custom made for the dome environment, as well as multiple slide projectors.
This was back in the 80’s when the term “Multi-Media” was coined, and in the corporate world it generally meant not today’s definition of presentations on a computer screen, since computers were still pretty scarce back then, but multiple slide projectors. A very wide panorama could be created with 3 slide projectors fitted with wide lenses. A soft edge on the sides smoothly blended the images together. By utilizing additional projectors a logo or other graphics could be made to float over the background. This was a very cost effective method to create presentations with a LOT of impact. Electronic system were created specifically to program and control multiple slide projectors.
Planetariums and electronic venders were quick to adopt and to innovate in this field.
Planetariums started experimenting with video projectors in the late 1980s, as soon as video projectors were available. From a single video image to a multiple projector system was quite a natural leap, but it was not without difficulty. Alignment, synchronization, brightness and contrast matching were all areas that had to be controlled, and they still can cause problems.
Innovator Terrance Murtaugh at the Armagh Planetarium and his staff were pioneers in this area, and soon flight simulator/computer graphics engineers at Evans and Sutherland and planetarium designer Steve Savage at Sky-Skan developed dome covering video presentations.

Early video projector at the Armagh Planetarium

Innovator Terrance Murtaugh at the Armagh Planetarium

Terrance-early video
star_projector and video

http://www.armaghplanet.com/pdf/historical_panels/APL_Panel_06%20V2.pdf

Soon many of the larger planetariums began utilizing video in at least part of their shows.
IMAX developed in parallel to Fulldome, and experienced film companies created many amazing shows. A robust IMAX projector and a high powered lamp created a bright and stable picture.
Video could not compete in the early days due to the minimal resolution, low brightness, and technical issues. Eventually, higher resolution and brighter images allowed multiple or even single projectors to cover a large area.

So where are we today?
Well in 1998 this is where planetarium Director Jim Manning THOUGHT we would be!
Not too far off, Mr. Manning!

Currently multiple venders are selling Fulldome systems, often using off the shelf equipment. Entertainment venues are popping up that utilize this technology.
Though still primarily seen in museums and  planetariums, the immersive dome environment is being recognized as an amazing place to experience something.
The Giant Screen Association, formerly concerned only with film, has become very interested in Fulldome and is looking at one of its major drawbacks: the lack of standards.
The GSCA is currently working on that issue, just as had both IMERSA and the International Planetarium Association.

Mark Peterson of Loch Ness Productions has created an excellent summery he calls The 2012 State of the Dome Address.

This is an excellent survey of where we are now by an experienced individual.
http://www.lochnessproductions.com/reference/2012state/2012stateofthedome.html

To summarize his summery – a risky proposition but one I will tackle none the less – each year around 52 million people see a show inside a dome.
However Mark’s totals are vague if not impossible to verify as more and more home made systems and portable domes are utilized. I’d suggest (rather obviously)  that number is valid only for the reporting institutions.
Dropping prices on video projectors, new venders, the “maker” phenomenon that inspires technically capable and creative types to build their own domes and projection systems will continue to add to the uncounted numbers.
The vast majority of presentations are astronomically oriented. This is quite understandable given that most are in planetariums! But even planetaria are known to branch into other topics.
Cultural presentations, entertainment, and scientific visualizations of MANY kinds are also being created.
Video producers from other genres are introduced regularly at venues such a SIGGRAPH where Sky-Skan has set up a dome for many years. Domefest by David Beining is an amazing event and the show reel travels to other locations regularly. We presented the majority of the 2013 domefest reel here recently. For a complete list I will refer you to the links section at the end of this document.

We recently screened the finals for the SDSU film composition class of Dr. Joeseph Waters. In 2014 we will screen material from UCSD computer graphic students.
It was suggested that there might be a collaboration between the SDSU music students who had to search for full dome materials to compose their music to, and the UCSD students who are creating original videos.
This is an exciting period, an on-going time of creative and technical flux. While the Fleet was the proud owners of the second IMAX projector ever built and the first tilted dome for 40 years, we can no longer count on operating the same equipment for long periods of time. Fulldome technology is an on-going process of innovation and creativity and we are right in the middle of it.
Thank you for sharing the journey!

Links:
Sign up for the Fulldome Yahoo Group in the digest mode to receive regular postings on all sorts of Fulldome topics.
A discussion on wide-screen to Fulldome conversion is on-going.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fulldome/


Wikipedia Fulldome article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulldome
Research Links:

The scientists at the Allosphere at UC Santa Barbara are busy imagining uses for dome and immersive visualizations.
http://www.allosphere.ucsb.edu/research.php

Calit2 and other academics are interested
http://www.calit2.net/research/index.php

particularly the electronic visualization laboratory
http://www.evl.uic.edu/

Industry Links:

IMERSA
http://www.imersa.org/

Giant Screen Cinema Association Digital specifications
http://www.giantscreencinema.com/MemberCenter/DIGSS.asp

International Planetarium Association has an ad-hoc committee facilitating communications
http://www.ips-planetarium.org/?page=fulldomecom
and a resource page:
http://www.ips-planetarium.org/?page=fulldomeresources

Domefest
http://www.domefest.org

Giant Screen Cinema Association Digital specifications
http://www.giantscreencinema.com/MemberCenter/DIGSS.aspx

The Full Dome Database is an excellent reference for shows and Fulldome events
http://www.fddb.org/

Mark Peterson of the Loch Ness productions company provides wonderful services – Here is their Show Compendium
http://www.lochnessproductions.com/lfsc/lfsc.html

And their Fulldome theater compendium
http://www.lochnessproductions.com/lfco/lfco.html

As well as their EXHAUSTIVE resource page. From laser shows to space artists, this page has it all.
http://www.lochnessproductions.com/reference/dome_resources.html

Fulldome Venders:


Evans and Sutherland

Sky-Skan

Spitz

Global Immersion

Digitalis


Fulldome Events:

Sentient:
May 29 2013 @ 6 PM
Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA.

Throughout the spring 2013 semester, The Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) students from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, have been exploring topics of scientific inquiry and expressing their curiosities and understandings in visual, auditory, and performative modes.
In less than 5 months these students collaborated on all aspects of storytelling, concept development, sound design, dome video production, and public relations to create an immersive fulldome environment exploring the creative, perceptive, and unexplored mind.
For more information about the project please visit the course website.
The organizers would like to invite you to the presentation of SENTIENT on Wednesday May 29th at the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA. There will be two free screenings at 6:00 and 7:00 PM.


Fulldome festival at Zeiss-planetarium Jena
Jena, Germany
From May 29th to June 1st the famous FullDome-Festival – now in its 7th year of existence – will again feature an amazing mix of professional full feature shows, experimental, student and short independant fulldome productions, plus talks and workshops.

The schedule for talks and presentations has just been completed. Check it out: Festival’s Program
The best of new shows in various categories will receive the FullDome Awards. A panel of experts will decide which show deserves which award. The list of jury members speaks for itself.
Program overview and tickets at the Festival’s website.


Digital Immersive Learning Academy
July 9 — 10, 2013 ■ 8:30 a.m – 3:30 p.m.
Como Planetarium ■ 780 W Wheelock Pkwy. ■ St. Paul MN 55117
To register visit:
http://www.informns.k12.mn.us/Digital_Immersive_Learning_Academy.html

Imiloa Fulldome Film Festival
September 5th to 7th, 2013
Hilo, Hawaaii
http://www.imiloahawaii.org/168/ifff
An international line-up of 25 new digital planetarium films available for licensing will be showcased.

Domefest is a wonderful showcase of Fulldome presentations
http://www.domefest.org/

UCSD Film Finals
Heikoff Giant Dome Theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
March 17, 2014
6 PM to 9 PM
Film students present material created in generative software such as Processing on the Heikioff Dome Theater
June 10, 2014
6 PM to 9 PM
Film students present additional material on the Heikioff Dome Theater

John Young

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
(619) 685-5731

Full Dome Production News – issue 2

Hello,
In this issue I would like to mention some resources.
I lean heavily toward free resources because I have a lot of students on this list, and who doesn’t like free? I will refer to some actual spending possibilities too.

First: The Electronic Music Marathon on April 11th was a success! 

50 student creations were shown. There were 18 full dome and 32 flat screen presentations and all were highly imaginative. This was the final for Dr. Joseph Water’s SDSU film composition class, so the visuals were primarily there to inspire and drive the musical creative process. Creative they certainly were! The students and staff, as well as several members of our board of directors were all very pleased.
I love inspiring students and this project is dear to my heart!
We even had the opportunity to present 2 of the students works on UT-TV during the Roger Hedgecock show, and will return there this Friday.

This event will be held here again!

We learned a LOT during the process of getting the students material ready – What exactly did we learn? 

1. Lesson one – Drive formatting. BORING – I know you are tempted to skip this right away, but it’s important if you ever want to put something on the dome here: Fat32. All of the work done in Dr. Waters classes was done on Macs and had to be MOVED onto a drive that was formatted so that it could be read on my PC workstation.  This was VERY time consuming. So please, use Fat32 even if you are on a Mac.

2. Lesson 2 – Eliminate invisible (or hidden) system files. This problem was also provided by the Macs.  See & eliminate them all with the Tinker Tool linked below. Hidden files actually prevented my slicing tool from seeing the .PNG image files I need to work with.
It also doubled the length of time to copy the files in lesson 1. This was also very time consuming.
The problem files all started with a period as in this example –  “.showfile0001.png”. They were copies of the graphics files – the same size too!

Tinker Tool
http://www.bresink.com/osx/TinkerTool.html

But why are there hidden files? Here is why, in gruesome detail.
http://www.westwind.com/reference/os-x/invisibles.html

Other lessons learned involved the conversion of rectangular formatted images onto the dome and I think everyone will have to experience this with their own material as it is a very visual thing.

MORE THAN JUST MUSIC, THIS IS SCIENCE!
On April 26th and 27th Dr Waters work with his group Swarmius will be presented at the interestingly named New West Electric Arts and Music Organization festival.  Many other talented artists will be performing there also.
Don’t let this be one of those events you kick yourself for missing.
We are  holding this this event here at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center next year on March 23rd !

NWEAMO in the Reader
http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/out-about/2013/apr/21/nweamo-2013-emotional-circuits-electric-animals-in/

Neuroscientist Dr. Jaak Panksepp will lecture on affective neuroscience, and the many musical presentations are sure to tickle your brain.
Times, dates, schedule are all here:
http://www.nweamo.com/HOME/NWEAMO-2013-Emotional-circuits-Electric-animal.lasso

Brett Stalbaum of UCSD isplanning to present their finals here for the department of Visual Arts.

Audio tools
Reaper
Reaper is not free, but it is available as a trial that is ridiculously long. If you like it and want to buy, it is only $60.00. It compares favorably to Pro-Tools, the high end software used commercially.
“REAPER is digital audio workstation software: a complete multi-track audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering environment.”

http://reaper.fm/

REAPER


 

 

 

 

 

 

C-Sound
C-Sound Is something of a throwback, because at it’s heart it is a text based audio programming language.  It is worth the effort to learn in my opinion, but then one of my hobbies is programming. The audio quality is amazing, and it never fails to impress. There are many examples, and a good community with support.

“Csound is a sound design, audio synthesis, and signal processing system, providing facilities for music composition and performance on all major operating systems and platforms.  Its use is not restricted to any style of music, having been employed for many years in the creation of classical, pop, techno, ambient, experimental, and (of course) computer music, as well as music for film and television.”
http://www.csounds.com/

Pure Data
Not a Star Trek character, Pure Data (PD to it’s users) has a simple graphic user interface that hides it’s power. From simply oscillator patches that start a person understanding electronic music to fiendishly complex time modulated interactive creations, it shines. The extended version incorporates visuals as well, making this one hard to categorize. It is Object oriented programming, so audio and control information is routed by literally drawing lines from one object to another. The objects are things like oscillators, filters, envelope generators and other things for generating and modifying sound. This is great fun, and reminds me (old timer warning) of when each box of code  was a literal metal box in a rack, and the audio was an actual cable.
“Pd is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing… The core of Pd is written and maintained by Miller Puckette and includes the work of many developers, making the whole package very much a community effort.”
http://puredata.info/

Miller Puckette teachs at UCSD so if you like PD you can learn directly from its creator.
http://crca.ucsd.edu/~msp/

puredata_gem

 

 

 

 

 

Other Visual tools
Processing is a fascinating visual language and helps you learn computer programming and express your creative flair. A few lines of code can create 4K frames.
http://processing.org/

Java gives immediate access on-line to a LARGE number of already created processing “sketches” so you can get an immediate idea of what processing is all about. Learn from whats been done before, change it, and expand your visual lexicon.
http://sketchpad.cc/


Blender
Blender is a 3/D design and animation platform. It has an advanced GUI and an excellent community with a large body of work.

blender


You can do amazing work with Blender as shown in the gallery.
Forum specifically for using Blender in a planetarium
Classes in using Blender in a dome environment

Mandelbulber
“Mandelbulber is an easy to use, handy but experimental application designed to help you render 3D Mandelbrot fractals called Mandelbulb and some other kinds of 3D fractals like Mandelbox, Bulbbox, Juliabulb, Menger Sponges, and more!”

mandelbulber-example

 

 

 

Source code:
http://www.mandelbulber.com/download.php

Documentation, presets, everything you need to get started exploring the world of fractals that include depth.
A new algorithm has changed the fractal world quite a bit and this tool allows you to experience this.
These are much easier to render than they used to be especially with the faster computers we have now.
http://www.mandelbulber.com/

 

Chimera
A biology visualization package that makes is fairly simple to use the MANY models in the Protein Data Base.
There is a Fulldome plug-in available for this.
http://www.cgl.ucsf.edu/chimera/

 

semliki

Semliki forest virus. The bowl of smoke is a 9 angstrom resolution density map from electron cryo-microscopy. The density map is sliced in half with colors from red to blue showing low to high density values on the cut surface. A capsid protein forming a shell inside this enveloped virus is shown in blue, green and pink. The virus structure is described in Mancini EJ, et al., Cryo-electron microscopy reveals the functional organization of an enveloped virus, Semliki Forest virus. Mol Cell. 2000 Feb;5(2):255-66.

The density map is EMD-1015 from the Macromolecular Structure Database. The Protein Data Bank model of the capsid is 1dyl.

 

 

 

 

NIGHTSHADE
Astronomy software that is top rate. A fulldome version is available also.
“Nightshade Astronomy Simulation is free, open source astronomy simulation and visualization software for teaching and exploring astronomy, Earth science, and related topics. Nightshade is a fork of the award-winning Stellarium software, but tailored for planetarium and educator use.”
http://nightshadesoftware.org/projects/nightshade

UTILITIES
Have YOU even needed to e-number a few thousand files?


Tinker Tool

http://www.bresink.com/osx/TinkerTool.html

Thank you,

John Young


Full Dome Production News – issue 1

Hi, and welcome to the bi-weekly issue of Fulldome production news.

This may be a bit more technical than your average blog because it is intended for students and individuals who are interested in creating for a dome.

The “Democratization’ that has taken place over the last few years has taken what was a exclusive and expensive vocation – film making – and changed it in a similar fashion to the desk top publishing revolution some years before. relatively inexpensive digital non-linear editing tool, compositing tools, even CGI platforms that are completely FREE have changed the nature of film making. Now that revolution has come to the Fulldome world.

Today I have many links and references to Fulldome resources. and a special invitation to see and hear the first results of the recent invitation to create for our dome.

FIRST – SOME ADDITIONAL REFERENCES NOT ON THE ORIGINAL EMAIL ( Sorry to yell )
Video panoramas
a site for the hemispherically obsessed
Arts lab – I don’t know how I missed this before
A great company of Fulldome creators


Here is a good talk from Michael Daut, Director of Show Production/Marketing at Evans and Sutherland.
The talk was held at IMERSA, a major player in organizing Fulldome producers and venues.
http://www.fddb.org/fulldome-production-pipeline-by-micheal-daut/

Michaels talk is featured on the Fulldome database site: a good source of information about shows, tools and events.
http://www.fddb.org/

DOMEMASTER Photoshop action pack – I can’t wait to try these out!
http://www.fddb.org/domemaster-photoshop-actions-pack-overview-video/

STANDARDS   “We love standards – that’s why we have so many of them!” JY
IMERSA: “Celebrating and promoting immersive digital experiences for education and entertainment in planetariums, schools, museums and attractions”.
http://imersa.org/
Fulldome STANDARDS
http://imersa.org/standards

And so, here are MORE standards – even more stringent – but don’t be dismayed if your dome is less than 60 feet or you have less than 16 audio channels… These are LARGE screen standards.
http://www.whiteoakinstitute.org/digss_1.0.pdf

From the planetarium world
Here are a few good articles on Fulldome production in the Western Alliance of planetariums newsletter.
http://www.wacdomes.org/gwoarchive/GWO2013-03.pdf

Excellent astronomy visualization/planetarium software – the flat screen version is free, fish-eye/dome is not so free.
http://www.nightshadesoftware.org/projects/nightshade

Finally, the most amazing news – Dr. Joseph Waters Film Composition class at SDSU picked up the gauntlet we threw down at the Immersive Dome Theater Showcase we presented here on February 27th. I have 18 student videos to be presented on April 19th in the Heikoff Dome Theater. 45 minutes of material!
Think about it – in a bit more then a month his students used many of the Fulldome tricks I presented at the event. I also sent out some more detailed instructions, and they have really run with this thing. If you want the Fulldome production materials just let me know! (on-line soon).

I have long admired the talented David Beining and his yearly Domefest event, especially his association with the NMSU students and now we have our own version of this long running event here.

We screening part of domefest 2012 recently, and will do so again. Unfortunately, these are not public screenings, unless a huge groundswell of requests arrive…

Learn about Dr. Waters here:
http://music.sdsu.edu/newsite/index.php/faculty_bios/waters and here http://www.josephwaters.com/

You might want to attend Dr. Waters event the New West Electronic Arts and Music festival on the 26th and 27th of this month (2012!) too

 Next year we will hold this amazing, original content event at the Fleet on the 23rd of March, and the day before it will be at the Hillcrest First Unitarian Church.

http://www.nweamo.com/

John Young
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

(619) 685-5731

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Heikoff Dome Theater to Premiere Digital GSX™ System from Global Immersion in February

Description: Description: logo_color_md
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                            Media Contact: Susan Chicoine
619-685-5743 / 619-325-9416
 
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Heikoff Dome Theater to Premiere
Digital GSX System from Global Immersion in February
 
Monthly Planetarium Show “The Sky Tonight” Returns February 1;
Daily Planetarium Show BLACK HOLES: The Other Side of Infinity
Opens February 4 for an Open-Ended Run
 
State-of-the-Art GSX Giant Screen System Promises to
Transport Audiences to Infinity  ~ and Beyond!
 
 
San Diego, CA  January 20, 2012— The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is delighted to announce that final preparations are underway following installation of a new, state-of-the-art, giant dome screen digital GSX system from Global Immersion.  The GSX system will augment the existing IMAX® projector in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Dome Theater with one of the most comprehensive and powerful fulldome experiences available today.
 
The celebration begins early next month: on Wednesday, February 1; our popular “The Sky Tonight” live monthly planetarium show will return; followed by a new daily planetarium show, BLACK HOLES: The Other Side of Infinity, running in conjunction with our new exhibition “Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists”; both open on Saturday, February 4.
 
At the heart of GSX is a combination of technologies called ImageFusion which combine the power and resolution of four of the latest Sony® 4K resolution cinema grade projectors to offer audiences an entirely digital, truly immersive and pixel-perfect giant screen experience.  The Heikoff Dome Theater (76-feet in diameter) provides a 168° (vertical) by 360° (horizontal) field-of-view immersive experience which envelops the audience in the 314 seats in the house.
 
The GSX system at the Fleet uses four powerful Sony® SRX-T420 digital cinema projectors, expertly adapted by Global Immersion to project a single-displayed image onto the specialized surface of the hemispherical, curved dome screen.  Each projector offers 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution that, when combined as the GSX system, converts a total of 84,000 lumens and over 32 million pixels into a full screen image to offer audiences a stunning immersive visual experience.
 
Each of the four digital cinema projectors is the size of a small refrigerator and produces a significant amount of heat and noise.  Combined as one GSX system in the heart of the Heikoff Dome Theater, the projectors are specially mounted inside an insulated steel enclosure, fitted within the existing instrument floor space near Dome center.  This enclosure, supported by a custom engineered precision projector mounting solution, has been designed by Global Immersion as part of the GSX system to precisely monitor and maintain the temperature of 20 °C/ 68 °F and provide acoustic insulation.
 
Also housed inside the projector system is a proprietary combination of GSX components each required to seamlessly integrate the system and deliver the best possible performance.  The ImageFusion for GSX features a range of hardware and software technologies including custom lenses, image processing and optimization tools, geometric laser alignment systems and performance monitoring and diagnostics.  A total of eight high performance servers power the GSX system, which delivers lucid, high resolution and superior quality digital video.
 
Returning on Wednesday, February 1; the fulldome digital GSX system will take the Fleet Science Center’s popular “The Sky Tonight” live planetarium shows to unheard-of levels, featuring stunning visuals and incredibly realistic simulations of cosmic phenomena.  As always, a professional astronomer leads backyard astronomers through the universe; presenting the sky in San Diego as it can be seen on the night of the show, twice nightly. Weather and operational requirements permitting, the San Diego County Astronomy Association provides free telescope viewing outdoors on the Prado in Balboa Park.
 
There’s a place from which nothing escapes, not even light, where time and space literally come to an end.  BLACK HOLES: The Other Side of Infinity, our new daily public planetarium show, opens Saturday, February 4.  Academy Award®-nominated actor Liam Neeson is our narrator and guide through other-worldly wormholes to experience striking animations of the formation of the early universe, the collision of giant galaxies, the violent death of a star and a simulated flight to a super-massive black hole lurking at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy.
 
The new fulldome digital GSX system is an indicator of the evolution of giant screen cinemas and the need to provide improved content to audiences.  The Fleet is delighted that their state-of-the-art system will set a new quality benchmark for digital dome video, with the flexibility to present a wide range of media and show experiences.  Innovative planetarium shows from all over the world and other high-definition multimedia productions will enable Fleet visitors to enjoy incredibly bright, colorful and high contrast images on the Fleet’s iconic 76-foot tilted dome NanoSeam screen.
 
Conventional dome theaters, with their application-specific, hemispherical shape, have mainly been used throughout the world to teach astronomy.  The Fleet continues to offer informative and educational sky-based experiences, but now has the flexibility to extend programming to a wider range of formats and subject matters.  GSX is designed as an ‘open’ format with the emerging DIGSS / Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications in mind; allowing the widest possible programming, including live streamed events and musical experiences.
 
Digital experiences in the Heikoff Dome Theater will set the stage for an inclusive visitor experience, expanding upon hands-on exhibit content found in the galleries.  Creative visualizations can take audiences on a tour of the universe, or probe inside a human cell.  The new digital system in the Heikoff Dome Theatre will offer the power and flexibility to reflect and expand on content and concepts found on the exhibit floor and galleries.  The Fleet also looks forward to partnering with local scientists, musicians and artists in innovative projects.  The installation of the GSX system will advance the non-profit organization’s mission to inspire lifelong learning by furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology.
 
The $5 million project, led by Fleet Science Center executive director Dr. Jeffrey Kirsch, has been under development for more than five years; installation of the new seamless Dome screen marked Phase 1 of the project, along with the sound system and the interior refurbishment.  Supporting the efforts of the Fleet Science Center, a dedicated team of volunteer expert technical advisors – including Tei Iki, William Bleha, Robert Hardacker, Jack Schmidt and Dave Eccles – carried out a comprehensive search for the highest quality immersive theater system suppliers and established the overall specifications for the system.
 
The installation of the digital dome signals the completion of the Fleet’s five-year capital campaign, “Creating Possibility, Inspiring Tomorrow.”  The major donors for the Heikoff Dome project are Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Weingart-Price Fund, Don and Maryann Lyle, Patricia Carter, Joseph Cohen and Martha Farish, The Hervey Family Fund, The Nierman Family Fund, Mrs. Audrey S. Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Fund, The Helen K. and James S. Copley Foundation, Chuck and Judy Wheatley, Margie Warner and John H. Warner Jr., Eric and Peggy Johnson, and Nancy Robertson and Mark Cookingham.
 
Looking forward, the Fleet has plans to introduce a digital production studio that will develop educational content in cooperation with multiple institutions, including the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD’s CALIT2, and others.  Shows produced will use scientific data collected and interpreted from partner institutions to take the public on astonishing immersive journeys from inside the theater into a human stem cell, an atomic nucleus or virtually any environment imaginable.  Moreover, local scientists, students and artists will be invited to use the Fleet Science Center’s digital projection technology to present data and other visualizations on the giant tilted-dome screen.
 
Our team comments on the project thus far:
 
Dr Jeffrey W. Kirsch, Ph. D., Executive Director, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center commented “We are delighted to have worked so closely with our technical experts and with Global Immersion on premiering the new digital fulldome GSX system in the Heikoff Dome Theater.  It will launch a new era for the Fleet, not only enhancing our planetarium capabilities but expanding the possibilities for sustainable institutional programming that could include evening programming with cultural content of various kinds.  We will be the first Giant Dome Theater in the country to share a digital planetarium with an IMAX Dome theater.  In a sense it is reminiscent of our beginnings in 1973 when we introduced the world to a  tilted dome (analog) planetarium system and IMAX in a shared venue (the original Space Theater).”
 
Martin Howe: Chief Executive, Global Immersion “Working in close collaboration with the Fleet, Global Immersion has developed GSX specifically to meet and exceed the high standards and performance demands that exist among the world’s giant screen theater network.  This project has provided us with a fantastic and highly knowledgeable customer to work and consult with; ultimately ensuring the new GSX Digital Giant Screen Theater range would exceed expectations and offer giant screen theatres a digital system which fully realizes the demands of such a theater in the modern age.  It is hugely exciting for us to have the Fleet as the premiere venue for the showcasing of our new giant screen solution, GSX.”
 
Alan Caskey: Director for the Americas, Global Immersion “We are delighted to be working with the team at the Fleet on such a unique, energized and ambitious project.  This visionary digital giant screen theater follows months of design, innovation and planning – we are very excited by the prospects of a continued partnership with the Fleet, and ultimately the public premiere of the new GSX experience.”
 
 
About the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
With exhibits to touch, IMAX films to experience and planetarium shows to watch, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (“the Fleet”) offers an educational, entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.  Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd, the Fleet is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology.  For information regarding current admission prices, please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at http://www.rhfleet.org
 
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IMAX is a registered trademark of IMAX® Corporation
GSX and ImageFusion are trademarks of Global Immersion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Susan Chicoine
Public Relations Manager
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
P.O. Box 33303
San Diego, CA 92163
(619) 685-5743 office     (619) 325-9416 cell