When in Dome…

The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center Production Blog

Slicing and Dicing

by Peter Althoff

March 4, 2010 | No comments | When in Dome


The brand new projection system is installed, and now we’re ready to take some content and test it on the venue its intended for. I’ve got my 4k dome masters that I’ve so painstakingly slaved over, and I can’t wait to see them projected across a 60 ft surface… … … now what?!

Dome_Master copy

The Process for preparing a “dome master”  for the dome is called ” slicing”. This takes a large 4k image breaks it apart for your particular projection system.  For example we’ve got two projectors, some people have 4, an I think they go up in even numbers from there. What ever the Configuration you’ll need to feed each projector with its own specially distorted version of the original dome master.

2Projectors

For us, even though we have 2 projectors, each projector needs 4 feeds. So this results in 8 individual feeds of images. The software provided by our full dome facilitator will take our image sequence of the dome masters and cut it up into 8 individual image sequences.  Then those sequences get put into an mpeg video with appropriate audio to be synced with a master Audio Track.  This process is fairly lengthy as the slicer can process 1000 frames per hour. Though luckily you can use multiple computers to do the slice, but when it comes to processing the mpegs you’ll become limited to 8 individual machines.

eightfeeds

After that, then you can take your 8 video files and push them to the slaves that run the projectors, get them all synced up, and finally watch your full dome content… Its amazing, its fantastic, its got an odd flicker happening on some geometry about 30 frames in and lasts the rest of the shot.  On a 4k system you can see any technical blemish you may have missed. At that point you go back to your desk, cry a little, and start all over.




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