Full Domed Cinema


Lying nearly horizontal, managed to catch some 180 degree immersive films recently, at the Melbourne Planetarium as part of MIFF.

Under The Dome
The Melbourne Planetarium (at the Scienceworks Museum in Spotswood) features a ’16m domed ceiling, reclining seats, a stereo surround sound system and has recently been upgraded to incorporate Sky-Skan’s DigitalSky projection system’. In practice, this means craning your neck around everywhere to see what’s happening beyond your peripheral vision. MIFF featured 3 compilations of dome films, and I opted for the experimental collection – which could’ve been called screensaver collection and only a couple of films would’ve suffered by that description.

Domefest / Elumenati
Part of the compilation came from Domefest, an annual screening curated by Artslab, an interdisciplinary arts centre in the New Mexico desert. A big of googling reveals that festival to be connected with another group, Elumenati, virtuoso specialists in the field immersive projection design. Which also happens to be a group that Johnny De Kam ( founder of VDMX and vidvox.net ) has done a lot of work with. Small world dome thingy.

Anyways, best film of the evening? Celestial Mechanics by Scott Hessels (2005), which aimed to visualise the manmade aerial technologies between us and the heavens, starting from police and news helicopters, and working through a range of transmitters and satellites, beautifully evoking their processes as it unfolded. Less good? Cosmic Dance, self-described as ‘astrophysics meets Bollywood’, and a painful 48 minutes of a patronising female host, who when not speaking down to the audience, was being washed in cliched special effects and dancing with the universe. Or something.

“DomeXF is a content plug-in for Adobe After Effects, Windows version. For fulldome producers, it is a key tool for transforming flat-screen content to the dome. The DomeXF plug-in for Adobe After Effects is available from Sky-Skan for $395USD”.

DomeXF offers the three standard Full Dome video transformations: standard, panoramic and fisheye.
• Standard transformations give the artist the ability to represent true geometry on the dome allowing the composite layer to appear flat and undistorted.
• Panoramic transformations force the bottom of the composite layer to align with the horizon, even when resized.
• Fisheye transformations give the composite layer depth, akin to the traditional all-sky transformation.

And a vast array of potential filming and projection transformative possibilities await you at Paul Bourke’s site of maths and video surfaces.

Fulldome ANAT Masterclass Opportunity
Dome Lab 2010 wants you, applications due Friday 3 September 2010, masterclass to be held 31 October – 5 November 2010 :: Perth, Australia.

“… most fulldome content to date has been educational and comprised of computer-generated animation, data visualistion, or a combination of both. Now, however, there is a shifting focus, with producers turning their sights to the entertainment potential of live-action story-telling for large-formats such as fulldome. Dome Lab is a world-leading intensive workshop investigating this potential and the specific challenges involved in creating compelling live-action narrative content for large format and frameless screens.

Filmmakers and artists excited by the chance to leap beyond the frame and into the expansive creative potential of large-format, immersive screen experiences are invited to apply. Participants will work alongside a team of creative and technical luminaries including Academy-Award winner, Ben Shedd, 2010 Peter Rasmussen award-winner, Peter Morse and international fulldome pioneer, Hue Walker Bumgarner-Kirby.”

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