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Articles in Category: 2014 Archive

Navigating the 8K Production Pipeline: Interview with Annette Sotheran-Barnett of Sky-Skan

Annette Sotheran BarnettAnnette Sotheran-Barnett has 20+ years experience in fulldome and television production. As Director and Head of Production and Distribution at Sky-Skan, Inc. she works creatively and strategically in film development and global distribution. Annette has produced and directed a number of interactive theater programs and immersive fulldome productions.

Her most recent experience was with the award-winning, "To Space & Back," (TSAB) produced in partnership with the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. TSAB is the first-ever 8K 60fps stereoscopic production. It will be screened in full at IMERSA Summit 2014 - in 4K resolution in the Gates Planetarium in Denver, and in 8K resolution at Fiske Planetarium in Boulder.

Main Image Horiz lowerresTSAB8K resolution content for fulldome exhibition is rare because 8K venues themselves are rare. Fiske Planetarium represents one of just a handful of 8K installations around the world, and the screening at Fiske on March 9 during the IMERSA Summit is of particular interest as the fulldome community strives to address the challenges of 8K and assess its benefits.

Interview by Carolyn Collins Petersen of Loch Ness Productions

What were the most complex issues you ran into producing "To Space & Back"?
The in-house team at Sky-Skan and the production companies we contracted with are all experienced in producing for fulldome. So, on the creative side, the challenges really were with the stereo. We learned a lot. The biggest issue was rendering stereo 8K 60fps with limited resources.

TSABSaturn V lowerresWhat we also didn’t account for when planning was the need to render the work from the outside contractors. They simply didn’t have the capacity to render 8K 60 fps at the time we required it. In addition, the artists we used from 3FX, the medical animation house, were working in cinema 4D. We are trained in MAYA and 3DS Max, so in order to adjust and render the layers, a very quick learning curve was required and not planned for.    

Doug Roberts gives the download on WorldWide Telescope, 8K and more

WWT pic 1

Doug Roberts, WorldWide Telescope Architect, is a visionary science communicator and visualizer. He is speaking at IMERSA Summit 2014 on the session, “Virtual Realities and Game Changers.”

WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a free software program that functions as a virtual telescope and is marketed as an enriching resource for schools, museums, planetariums, and homes. Its 5.0 release was unveiled in January at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.

Here, Roberts is interviewed by Patrick McPike, Visualization Engineer for the Space Visualization Studio at the Adler Planetarium, where Roberts has held a variety of positions beginning as Astronomer in 2000 and culminating as Associate VP for Digital Technologies/CTO (2010-2013). Roberts is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Northwestern University.

What do you expect to cover in your talk at the IMERSA Summit?

I'll be speaking to innovation in the planetarium industry – such as connecting people in a communal dome setting with other people using personal VR devices. I feel that people want be able to ask an expert and share their knowledge and excitement with others in this communal storytelling environment. It is important to note that these advances in immersive hardware are not astronomy-specific, although they are well-suited for telling astronomy stories. They expand our idea of what a planetarium is - to include what happens outside the dome.

We are now at a place where creating new planetarium experiences is something that can be done by an increasing number of people outside the traditional planetarium community. I can't anticipate what will be produced, I just know it will be different.

I look forward to seeing the amazing experiences that will be created when the producers can spend more time creating the experience and less time fiddling with technology....

Please read on...

Transporting the guest into a created reality

Rick RothschildRick Rothschild talks about dome experiences and immersive storytelling
Interview with Joe Kleiman

Rick Rothschild of FAR Out! Creative Direction will participate in IMERSA Summit 2014, as a speaker/discussion leader in the “Great Storytelling in Immersive Spaces” panel on Sunday, March 9.

Two of your more recent projects involved domes with very different purposes - the Adler Planetarium and FlyOver Canada. What similarities and differences did you find between the two projects?
They are two very different kinds of experiences and applications of dome technology. With the new Grainger Sky Theater at the Adler, the dome was a fulldome application...


International Innovation Celebration at IMERSA Summit 2014

IMERSA Summit 2014: International Innovators Forum

Click here to see the full Summit program, March 6-9 in Denver

Showcasing the creativity and contributions of our participants from overseas
Saturday, March 8, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

Each presentation in this session will follow the Pecha Kucha format. The International Innovators forum is co-produced by Ed Lantz and Ethan Bach of Vortex Immersion.

Presenters include:
The Dance Dome
Matt Wright and Janire Najera, 4∏ Productions; The Dance Dome (Wales, UK): Dance and Live-Capture Choreography for Fulldome
An overview of the technical and creative processes utilized during the production and delivery of The Dаnсе Domе project, live action choreographed dance fulldome films. 

This talk is intended to inspire more experimentation in both dance and live-capture for the dome. Since 2012, the project has produced three fulldome dance shorts that have allowed for experimentation with green-screen, time lapse photography and fulldome live-capture. The films have since been screened at the BACIFI Film Festival in Argentina, Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and at DomeFest 2012, where The Sublime won the Innovation Award.          
MattWright JanireNajera4∏ Productions is an experiential art, marketing and events company that offers creative solutions utilizing 360° content. 4∏ engages and inspires audiences through collaborative and innovative multidisciplinary projects within the UK and internationally. The company directors Matt Wright and Janire Najera have been collaborating together for over five years exploring the spherical realm by producing interactive installations, environmental sculptures, multimedia exhibitions, virtual tours and immersive experiences.

Please read on for additional presenters...

IMERSA fosters dialog on specialty cinema with 2014 Summit in Denver March 6-9

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"The challenge that faces us is to create a new dimension in immersive storytelling," says Rick Rothschild of FAR Out! Creative Direction, who is featured in the "Great Storytelling" discussion at IMERSA Summit 2014, March 6-9 in Denver.

Dan Neafus"We're bringing together some of the best minds and forward thinkers from planetariums, giant screen cinema, themed entertainment, pano-photography, gaming and virtual reality, computer graphics and science visualization," says IMERSA co-founder Dan Neafus, director of the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which is one of the host venues for IMERSA Summit 2014.

Registration is open and discounts are available through Feb 17, 2014.

Click to see Summit schedule overview

IMERSA is a trade group founded in 2008 by Dan Neafus and several colleagues in response to the rapid adoption of digital dome video ("fulldome") in planetariums that has essentially transformed these spaces into state-of-the-art immersive theaters. They saw new, potential creative and market opportunities exploding in multiple directions - as indicated by the group's acronym, which stands for Immersive Media, Education, Entertainment, Research, Science and Arts.

Sponsors of IMERSA Summit 2014 include Attraktion!/Sphere of Light Award, California Academy of Sciences, Clark Planetarium, Dome3D, Evans & Sutherland, Electrosonic, Holovis, Loch Ness Productions, Morrow Sound, OpenLens Productions, Seiler Instrument/Carl Zeiss, Sky-Skan, Spitz Inc., SCISS, SlicedTomato Video Productions and Vortex Immersion.

Participants in IMERSA Summit 2014 include:

Doug Roberts
Doug Roberts
A member of the WorldWide Telescope team at Microsoft Research, and liaison to the planetarium, astronomical research and informal learning communities, Roberts will participate in the "Virtual Realities and Game Changers" session on Sunday, March 9. Read more


Donna CoxDr Donna Cox - Pioneer in the use of science data for the creation of educational visuals in media. Giant screen cinema credits include Cosmic Voyage. Fulldome credits include Dynamic Earth. Dr Cox will deliver the keynote address for IMERSA Summit 2014. Read more


Click here for Speakers' Gallery (downloadable images and bios

Click here for information on featured screenings at IMERSA Summit 2014

Jonathan BarkerJonathan Barker - President of SK Films, producer of Flight of the Butterflies, a current top success of giant screen cinema, recently repurposed for fulldome exhibition. "Butterflies" will be screened in fulldome and Barker will lead a case study session on its cross platforming. Read more

Read on to learn about more participants...

Inquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The closing event of IMERSA Summit 2014 will take place on Sunday, March 9 at the new 8K fulldome facility of Fiske Planetarium in Boulder (shown above). Very few digital dome systems are capable of 8K resolution, currently considered one of the furthest frontiers of any cinematic medium. This event is an opportunity to see 8K content created specifically for the 8K digital dome and to hear from early adopters, system providers and producers all in one place.

Please read on for much more information...

"The challenge that faces us is to create a new dimension in immersive storytelling.

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