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Enveloping Entertainment: Immersive Digital Cinema Abounds in the Science Museum Community

When it comes to exhibition, science museums have a track record for innovation and experimentation. Up-to-the-minute display technology seems to fit with the questing scientific mindset. It was, for instance, the science center community that adopted giant screen film exhibition starting in the 1970s, recognizing its technological novelty, potential mass appeal and its power to educate, as well as to generate revenue. However, classic giant-screen, 70mm film theaters (IMAX and the like, of the six-story-high screen variety) appear to have run their course; the network of these types of theaters is shrinking along with their audience, and museums are embracing digital video formats.

Enveloping Entertainment: Immersive Digital Cinema Abounds in the Science Museum Community

When it comes to exhibition, science museums have a track record for innovation and experimentation. Up-to-the-minute display technology seems to fit with the questing scientific mindset. It was, for instance, the science center community that adopted giant screen film exhibition starting in the 1970s, recognizing its technological novelty, potential mass appeal and its power to educate, as well as to generate revenue. However, classic giant-screen, 70mm film theaters (IMAX and the like, of the six-story-high screen variety) appear to have run their course; the network of these types of theaters is shrinking along with their audience, and museums are embracing digital video formats. 

Fulldome: Marketing and Branding Part 1

Immersive “digital dome” theater has been with us for a good decade and is now well established to the tune of several hundred installations (including portable domes). It now has a trade group dedicated to digital domes: IMERSA, formally established in cooperation with IPS and the help of generous founding sponsors at Chicago’s IPS 2008 meeting last July.

Fulldome: Marketing and Branding Part 2

A digital dome (fulldome) theater can give the audience a sense of being in space without boundaries. Likewise, facilities with fulldome theaters are finding the presentation medium opens up their own boundaries—extending the possibilities of what a planetarium can do and perhaps even what it calls itself. The inherent versatility of fulldome paired with the resourcefulness of an institution’s educators and marketers equals a powerful combination able to create, recognize and make the most of opportunities.

Giant Screen Cinema, Digital Dome Converging New Special Venue Dome Business Emerging

In the eyesof special venue media producers and distributors, a significant new market is emerging – a network that includes 2D and 3D giant-screentheatersas well as fulldome, and connects the interests of planetariums and science centers. The two types of institutions already have a lot in common – such as similar missions and audiences, and a tilting toward the latest interactive and immersive exhibition technologies. But the sharing of content, facilitated by digital processes, is just getting started. It’s a marker of the “convergence” of giant screen cinema – which in educational institutions is still mostly a film-based medium - and fulldome digital video.

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