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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.

Two major producer/distributors contributing to the convergence by investing in this combined market arewww.imersa.org). IMERSA, a nonprofit association that grew out of the planetarium community to promote immersive media with an emphasis on fulldome, has taken an active role in the giant screen/fulldome convergence dialog. Lantz is a member of GSCA’s Tech Task Force, assisting in the development of digital specifications for giant screen domes and flat screen theaters. He points out that fulldome theaters are scalable, from small portable domes to giant screen theaters, while the most recent version of GSCA’s definition of “giant screen” set a lower limit of 60’ diameter for dome screens.

Nevertheless, Lantz indicates that many believe in the value of harmonizing specifications for larger fulldome theaters and giant screen cinemas, in order to further facilitate the distribution of giant-screen films into digital domes and the distribution of fulldome experiences into giant screen digital cinemas. Said distribution could include real-time experiences as well as playback shows. “Planetarians have always been innovators, and could well end up driving future developments in giant screen cinemas in addition to their own digital dome theaters.”

As part of the deepening dialog on this topic, on Feb 25 Lantz briefed members of the giant screen community on the fulldome market as part of the Dome Day sessions and screenings hosted by the Fleet in San Diego. The gathering was held the day following the GSCA Film Expo, which took place in Los Angeles Feb 23-24.

This article first appeared in ThePlanetarian, published by the International Planetarium Society [http://www.ips-planetarium.org] (IPS). Reprinted onIMERSA.org with kind permission.

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