“Digital Domes: Theaters Without Borders” by Cox, Lantz, Wyatt and Thompson

  • ©Donna J. Cox, Ed Lantz, Ryan Wyatt, and Brad Thompson

Conference:


Entry Number: 04

Title:

    Digital Domes: Theaters Without Borders

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Abstract:


    Abstract 

    Dome theaters have historically been planetarium venues that projected points of starlight on a curved ceilings, but with the advent of new technologies and software, digital “fulldome” theaters are rapidly expanding and converting domes into an immersive virtual social experience augmented by computer graphics and scientific visuals. Hundreds of popular science museums worldwide have converted to digital fulldome projection systems and many new theaters are being built globally. Inflatable dome theaters travel to schools and venues like the SIGGRAPH VR Village. Digital dome theaters extend educational and cultural programming beyond night-sky astronomy, including science shows both recorded and interactive, live entertainment events, and more. Their computer graphics content can range from scientific visualizations to interactive art, and there is debate about whether their future is in the traditional world of science education, or in entertainment narratives and events. The debate is fueled by design and software challenges of the format. The panelists will debate from their unique perspectives on traditional science education versus entertainment approaches to creating and funding dome content. They will provide their visions on the future of the digital dome industry, dome shows featuring big data science vs. live-action photography, scaling content across domes, producing live interactive experiences vs. digital playback, and global distribution issues. The panelists will demonstrate visuals in the dome theater in the SIGGRAPH VR Village venue chaired by panelist Ed Lantz.


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