Please visit us at http://www.myiaiaonline.com/digitaldome/
for more exciting posts including:

  • How to Tutorials on Fulldome Production
  • Dome Interactivity Research
  • Calls for Work
  • Listings of our Fulldome Courses, Workshops, and Artist-in-Residency program
  • and much more….

When I first started working in the fulldome environment, one of my biggest frustrations in the dome was the inevitable washing out of images. At IAIA, our 24′ digital dome currently has 6 – PLUS U7 projectors. Each of these projectors has 3500 ANSI with a contract ratio of 2000:1. Add this low contrast ratio to the photon splash that occurs in a spherical theater and images that look gorgeous on a monitor become lifeless on the dome. High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques solve the problem.

The average human eye sees at about 10,000:1 contrast ratio. A high end DSLR camera shoots a single image at around 2000:1 contrast ratio. Place this images in the dome with a projection system of 2000:1 and add photon splash and the image washes out to about 500:1 (just a guess, not an actual measurement). The details of the images are simply lost in translation. My first approach in attempts to solve this problem was to increase the contrast and the saturation of the image. Although this would help, it still left me completely frustrated.

While reviewing the materials for the highly anticipated xRez training session, I began to review the techniques they would be teaching. High Dynamic Resolution immediately caught my eye. While in Portland’s Powell’s Books, I picked up two books; Practical HDR by Jack Howard and Practical HDR by David Nightingale. Through these two texts I began to see the world and the images I shoot in a completely different light. Not only has this process saved my photographs for the dome, it has enhanced my overall photographic skills for all mediums.

After learning about HDR, I immediately began to shoot bracketed photos with my Canon x3i using the automated settings in the menu. I tried Photoshop’s Merge to HDR Pro with fair results. Then I downloaded a trial of Photomatrix Pro. Within 10 minutes I purchased the full version and was hooked.

My first HDR photo. Bagby Hot Springs, Oregon.

Some people say that HDR is just a fad technique and things look to fake and overly illustrated, but take this image and place it on a digital dome and it is an excellent solution. There are many variations within HDR tonemapping techniques from illustrative to realistic. My tastes tend towards more realistic results, but I find some images call for the more grungy illustrated look.

Single shot

HDR photo

Fall 2011, the first assignment my students tackled in the Digital Dome Production I course was shooting HDR photos using a Canon x3i and a Sunex 5.6mm f/5.6 Super Fisheye lens. The assignment taught students to begin to visual the sphere and understand placement of images on the dome. They experimented with angles, perspectives, and various subjects. At the same time, they were learning HDR and creating stunning images that popped on the dome.
IAIA Tutorial on shooting HDR

Student Images

IAIA Dorms by Bryan Akipa

Railyard by Fernando Charley

Bridge by Jessie Bennett

Wood by Louva Hartwell

Duck Pond by Joseph "Seph" Turnipseed

From this foundation, my student developed skills in 360° spherical panos and 360° horizontal panos all using the HDR process. I am very interested in exploring HDR video processes and am currently developing ways to increase contrast in video for the digital dome. Look for more posts in the future with these tests.

For more information on HDR, check out
Wikipedia
A Versatile HDR Video Production System
And you know a web search will find all kinds of wonderful information.

In February, our Digital Dome Director, Ethan Bach accompanied by two New Media Arts students, Joseph “Seph” Turnipseed and Fernando Charley will present as part of the New Media Caucus events being held during the College Arts Association conference in Los Angeles, California. The presentation will include examples of student and artist-in-resident work produced for the Digital Dome @ IAIA. This event will take place on Thursday, February 23 at 8pm at the Glendale Community College Planetarium.

Fernando Charley's still photo "Santa Fe Railyard"

Historically geodesic theaters have been used for exploring the stars in the planetarium. It is not until recent years that these theaters have become capable of presenting digital media. This innovation brings new life to the medium providing artists an endless amount of opportunities for creation. Still the fulldome medium has yet to define itself within the field of fine arts. With over 600 digital domes around the world, the content being produced and shown is primarily science based and primarily intended for a fourth-grade audience. There is now more than every a great opportunity for the new media artist to creative interactive immersive experiences in the dome environment. The Institute of American Indian Arts has quickly become a leader in opening up the spherical theater for artistic exploration.

About New Media Caucus
The New Media Caucus is a non-profit, international membership organization that advances the conceptual and artistic use of digital media. The NMC represents artists whose media are expanding with developments in digital technology, artists working in emerging media such as robotics, virtual reality, interactive and installation environments as well as artists working in established digital areas of video, sound and graphics. By providing forum for the critical review of new media practice, the caucus increases the visibility and presence of new media practitioners.

About College Arts Association
Mission Statement
The College Art Association (CAA) promotes the visual arts and their understanding through committed practice and intellectual engagement.
Vision Statement
The College Art Association advances the highest standards of instruction, knowledge and practice in the visual arts to stimulate intellectual curiosity and advance skills that enrich the individual and society.
To realize this vision College Art Association will:
1. Represent, promote and advocate for the visual arts nationally and internationally;
2. Create new opportunities for dialogue among members;
3. Explore new forms of communication using innovative and improved technology;
4. Address career development and workforce issues to assist professional growth;
5. Strengthen organizational leadership, membership and financial support

In February, our Digital Dome Director, Ethan Bach will present a workshop at IMERSA Summit in Denver, Colorado. The session is entitled, “Fulldome 101″ and will focus on examples and methods for creating in the spherical fulldome theater. Ethan will be joined by UNM ARTS Lab’s Hue Walker and others who bring years of experience and various methods to explore for the digital dome.

The 2012 IMERSA Summit is set to take place 3-5 February 2012 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). “Learning from our past, Visualizing our future – Winning solutions for the digital dome” is the theme. The two-and-a-half-day Summit is organized by IMERSA (Immersive Media, Entertainment, Research, Science & Arts) – a nonprofit trade group formed in 2008 to boost the adoption and creative application of the digital dome and other immersive media formats.

In the visitor attractions business, digital dome, aka “fulldome,” is getting attention from museums, science centers and theme parks as they transition from film-based systems to digital projection and seek to provide ever-more immersive experiences. Fulldome cinema already boasts a network of more than 1200 permanent and portable domes around the world with the potential for many more. This inherently immersive, medium is being widely adopted in Europe and Asia as well as the US to create great story- based guest experiences, and to leverage trans-media opportunities for entertainment and education in 2D, 3D and 4D.

Within the planetarium community and educational institutions, it is anticipated that virtually all dome theaters will eventually upgrade to digital dome technology. The tendency is either to integrate a fulldome system together with an opto-mechanical starball projector, or to replace the starball altogether. Depending on the size of the theater, the number of projectors in a fulldome system can range from a single fisheye unit to a series of 6, 8 or more, linked and edge-blended.

Digital dome theaters are central to prominent visitor attractions around the world such as City of Dreams in Macau (“Dragons Treasure”); the Adler Planetarium in Chicago (“Deep Space Adventure”); the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Planetarium), Madame Tussauds London (“Marvel Superheroes 3D), Futuroscope in Poitiers, France (“Arthur”) and Universal Studios (“The Simpsons Ride” and “Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey”) and Griffith Observatory (Centered in the Universe) in Los Angeles to name a few examples. The growing library of fulldome shows includes original custom productions from exhibitors and system providers as well as independent producers. Major special venue distributors such as nWave Pictures, SK Films and National Geographic are also getting into the act and starting to make titles available for digital dome exhibition.

“Because of digital technology, multiple industry sectors are converging, and we have a lot to talk about on the creative side, technology side and the business side,” says IMERSA co-founder Dan Neafus, who is director of the Gates Planetarium. “We’re working to develop standards and specifications and deal with what is called ‘pixel envy.’ Fulldome is pretty far along in terms of animation content, but mainstream filmmakers are eager to see better options for live action photography. When it comes to image acquisition, there are tricks for capturing material in a way that not only optimizes the special projection environment in the dome, but that can maximize the opportunities for cross-platform distribution. Everyone wants to see more viable business models for production, distribution and exhibition and not repeat previous mistakes.

Here at the Institute of American Indian Arts, our students work on Macintosh work stations to create their art. When creating the Digital Dome Production course we ran into a major obstacle, how to run PC based software on a Mac. In the dome we run Sky-Skan’s DigitalSky 2 software, but Sky-Skan does not offer support for running the software on a Macintosh.

We had our trusty student intern, Joseph “Seph” Turnipseed at the helm of this task. After several attempts, Seph was able to successfully install Windows 95 using Bootcamp and install DigitalSky 2. A couple of tweaks later and now our students can preview their files before going into the dome to test. It’s a great way to get to know the software and learn scripting.

To access the how to document click here.

Stay tuned for more blog entries outlining specifics on how we access the Mac partition and Mac formatted drives from Window and techniques we use to create for the dome.

Deadline:November 15, 2011
Apply here

Type of opportunity: Digital Artwork for Dome by Indigenous artists and/or about Indigenous people

Organization name: Digital Dome at Institute of American Indian Arts: College of Contemporary Arts (IAIA)
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Description of opportunity:
The Institute of American Indian Arts: College of Contemporary Native Arts is pleased to announce a call for digital artwork for their new Digital Dome. The Digital Dome @ IAIA seeks digital works by Indigenous artists or about Indigenous people. The work will be selected by Ethan Bach, Digital Dome Director and Ryan Rice, Museum for Contemporary Native Arts Curator and will be programmed to coincide with ISEA2012.
Entries are sought that utilize the immersive environment. Fulldome work or other digital work will be considered including video (with or without audio), digital still images, animation, 3D objects and panorama photography. A residency/workshop on producing artwork for the Digital Dome will be considered, dependent on funding.

Project resources:
Digital Dome technology and staff will be available to selected artists.

Description of site/venue:
The Digital Dome @ IAIA offers a unique combination of black box, planetarium, fulldome, and the world’s only full range articulating dome. The dome structure weighs 8,000 pounds, hangs from the ceiling, and can rotate 0° to 90° or can be place near the ceiling or the floor. This immersive, high-resolution environment is created by a 24-foot wide spherical screen, six projectors, and a 6.1 surround sound system. The Digital Dome @ IAIA is involved in groundbreaking research funded by the National Science Foundation for the fulldome, including the ability to display interactive content in collaboration with UNM ARTSLab and the Santa Fe Complex.

Application requirements:
Initial Submissions:

Video: Link to Vimeo or Youtube file or an .mov file on
DVD Stills: Email stills to digitaldome@iaia.edu or provide link.
If work is chosen for the show, the artist must provide a dome master (IAIA can provide support in creating a dome master when necessary):
Dome Master:
NTFS or HFS+(OS X) formatted hard drive, “DomeMaster” format required (circular image within square frame — example available upon request), 30 frame per second image sequence, image sequence of frames, must be at least 2048 x 2048 (2k) in PNG file format, use 5 digit numbering sequence. For example: firstname_lastname2011_00000.png. Submit sound as 6-channel mono wav files, 48khz, 16-bit (even if using a stereo or mono mix).
Need help creating a dome master? See ARTS Lab Tutorials: Hue’s Beginner’s Guide to Fulldome Production

Description of sponsoring organization:
IAIA is a four-year institution of higher education, which helps foster the spirit and vision of Native American and Alaska Native people. Founded in 1962, the Institute of American Indian Arts offers academic excellence to both Native and non-Native populations. Their goal is to advance and support contemporary native art and artists.

The Institute of American Indian Arts is accepting submissions for digital dome projects to be exhibited during currents 2012: The Santa Fe International New Media Festival – June 22 thru July 8, 2012 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The selected work will be screened at the Digital Dome @ IAIA housed in the new Science and Technology building at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Currents / Digital Dome @ IAIA 2011

We are looking for work that makes use of the dome for its artistic potential rather than as a museum presentation or fulldome show. All thematic concepts will be considered.

Submission Deadline: March 2, 2012 / Submission is Free.

Initial Submissions:

Please complete the online Submission Form by clicking here

Video for dome projection:
Email link to Vimeo or Youtube file or mail .mov on DVD

Stills for dome projection:
Email stills or provide link.

Provide brief artist bio and statement

Email contact: digitaldome@iaia.edu

Mailing Address:
IAIA
Ethan Bach
SCITECH 109
83 Avan Nu Po Road
Santa Fe, NM 87508, USA

If your work is chosen for the currents 2012 Festival, you must provide a dome master:

Dome Master:
* NTFS or HFS+(OS X) formatted hard drive (Please include cables and necessary hardware)
* “DomeMaster” format required (circular image within square frame — example available upon request)
* 30 Frame per second image sequence
* Image sequence of frames, must be at least 2048 x 2048 or preferably 4096 x 4096
* Use 5 digit numbering sequence, eg. firstname_lastname2011_00000.png
* Submit sound as 6-channel mono wav files, 48khz, 16-bit (even if using a stereo or mono mix)
* No titles, credits, watermarks or logos within viewable area.

Need help creating a dome master, click here.

Information on the Digital Dome at the Institute of American Indian Arts

If you have any questions, contact Ethan Bach at digitaldome@iaia.edu

In November, our Digital Dome Director, Ethan Bach will participate on a panel at the Nation Congress of American Indians annual conference in Portland, Oregon. The session is entitled, “Advancing Tribal Communities through Participation in the Digital Age”. The session will focus on broadband broadcasting and new technologies for disseminating information. The session will be November 1, 2011 from 1:30 to 4:00 pm at the Oregon Convention Center.

Advancing Tribes Through Participation in the Digital Age
The country overall has begun its transition from analog to digital media and communications services. In order for Indian Country to be competitive and productive participants in the national and global economies, tribes must actively expand, create, and retain access to broadband services. This session will focus on various forms of funding criteria available to tribes for the establishment of tribally owned and operated telecommunications, and also highlight benefits to healthcare, education, and tribal governance through utilization of broadband services.

Our shared journey toward tribal prosperity
With every step and every action we take as Native people and sovereign nations our footsteps carry us toward a new era of tribal prosperity. The ever-increasing depth of our cultures, strength of our traditions, and diversity of our Native resources serve as a guide on the path to reaching the new meaning of tribal prosperity; defined by the health of our people, the strength of our sovereignty, and the vibrancy of our nations. At NCAI’s 68th Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon we celebrate together, the journey our ancestors embarked on generations before us. As we step forward together on this path we fulfill our promise to the generations to come.

I regret to inform you all that DomeFest 2011 has been canceled due to pressing research that is taking place. Please stay tuned for more information for the planning of DomeFest 2012.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT: George Fleenor
GeoGraphics Imaging & Consulting

7803 25th Ave W.
Bradenton, FL 34209
Phone: (941) 920-0246
Fax: (941) 794-6877
E-Mail: geographicsimage@aol.com
http://www.geographicsimaging.com

FREE FULLDOME & ALLSKY CONTENT AVAILABLE

Bradenton, Florida – September 7, 2011

Fulldome FX (Troy McClellan) and GeoGraphics Imaging (George Fleenor) partnered to cover the last space shuttle mission, STS 135 -Atlantis. Collected was an assortment of images and sequences representing events such as the Rollover, Rollout, Pad Crawls, Launch, Landing and Tow Back. We are making these available to all planetariums free of charge. The images and sequences will be available in PNG format at 2400 and 1024 resolutions. Each facility will need to adjust brightness, contrasts etc., for their specific systems. The collection of images will be released as zip files and made available as they are readied for distribution.

Images can be downloaded from these sites:

GeoGraphics Imaging

Fulldome FX

The first zip folder contains 36 still images that are part of, in most cases, longer sequences that will be released later. As part of this download is an image from the launch of STS 133 as viewed from the Press Site, as well as, an inside shot of the Press Room. We included the STS 133 image since it was the last shuttle launch that had a clear blue sky and no clouds.

Please check back with these sites for additional downloads. The images are for in-house use only. If any planetarium/Planetarian wishes to include them in a distributed show they must first obtain written permission from GeoGraphics Imaging.

We hope you can use and enjoy them.

- END -

reposted from the fulldome yahoo group.

The Institute of American Indian Arts New Media Arts department had 6 students and one faculty mentor work at NASA Kennedy Center for ten weeks this past summer. The images are downloading now and we can’t wait to see them on the dome!

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