When in Dome…

The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center Production Blog

Archive for April, 2011

Our first fulldome short, Jeepers Creepers, will be showing at the Immersive Film Festival this weekend. This year’s IFF is taking place from April 29 to May 1 at Centro Multimeios Espinho, Portugal.

They’ll be showing a lot of full length shows as well as a group of competitive shorts including “Charting Course for the Unknown” by Morehead’s own artist in residence, David Colagiovanni. Both shorts are screening on Saturday. If you’re in Portugal or nearby, go check it out.

We’ve got a pretty amazing After School program here at Morehead. Kids from Kindergarten to 5th grade come over here after the school day is over and do all kinds of cool hands on science activities and field trips. We brought a few of them over to our studio to show them how planetarium shows are made. We even gave them a Wacom tablet and let them have at it. Better than being on the street, looting and pillaging or whatever it is kids do these days. Anyway, I was told it was their favorite field trip of the year. If they’d only just teach Maya in 4th grade, we’d have our next slew of interns. Here’s a few photos:

Well, we’re in the last phase of production for our latest show – Solar System Odyssey. We’ll be doing evaluations with students on a rough cut of the show in our dome during the first couple weeks of May and then we’ve got 3 months left to put on the final polish.

In the meantime, we were asked to put together a new trailer for our first show, Earth, Moon & Sun. Full disclosure – when we originally put together a trailer for the show, we thought our target audience would be kids and their parents who would see the trailers being played before other shows, much like they would during a typical film in a movie theater. Turns out that’s not the case.

The audience for planetarium show trailers are science center and planetarium directors and educators – the people that are actually going to lease the shows and bring them to their planetaria. So we added more science content from the show and more explanatory voice over to give a better idea of the focus of the show. This will let the directors and educators know that we’re hitting specific curriculum points for children in the 8-11 range. Keep all that in mind if you’re making a trailer.

We also found out that Earth, Moon & Sun was the best selling show of 2010 from our distributor! I might have mentioned that in a previous post but we’re pretty psyched so I’m leaving it up.

Here’s the new trailer in domemaster format:

Ok, so this isn’t necessarily brand new news (it was announced in August 2010) and the lens isn’t even available for purchase (B&H says May), but you can at least start to get excited. Why? Because Canon is coming out with a 180 degree fisheye lens for all of its EOF SLRs.

For those of you already out there shooting with a 5D Mark II, just pop on this lens and you’re ready for popping off frames for the dome. No adjustment necessary (theoretically). Now you’ll be able to shoot time-lapse or stop motion with your favorite camera.

I’m psyched and planning on selling one of our interns to the North Koreans so we can get one.

But keep in mind that this isn’t going to solve the 4K video on the dome problem. The 5D still only shoots 1920×1080 so the best you could do is shoot video for a 1K dome but if you’re shooting stills you’re looking at 5,616 x 3,744 frames, which is big enough for a 4K show.

Here are the sample images from the Canon page about the camera:

Full-frame fisheye:

Circular fisheye: