Salt Lake City, UT, USA — The Milwaukee Public Museum’s (MPM) Dome Theater and Planetarium will be the first planetarium in the world to debut Digistar 6 technology on Saturday, September 17. This ground breaking dome technology will replace the giant screen 15/70 film system, which was once the gold standard for giant screen projection.
“We’re thrilled to launch Digistar 6 at MPM,” said Bob Bonadurer, Director of the Dome Theater and Planetarium. “The stunning new imagery will captivate our audiences and get them closer to the action than ever before – whether that’s blasting off into space or trekking through a National Park. The dome imagery is crisp and life-like, it’s awe inspiring.”
The new Digistar 6 system from Evans & Sutherland uses five 4K Christie video projectors that produce 30,000 lumens each, for a total brightness of 150,000 lumens across the entire dome hemisphere. Using auto alignment and auto blending systems, the five projectors precisely align and blend together to form a single, seamless fulldome image.
Evans & Sutherland President and COO, Kirk Johnson said, “Digistar has been a part of the MPM planetarium for many years, and we are honored that when it came time for them to replace their 15/70 projector, they looked E&S and our 8K resolution Digistar 6 system as the solution that would not only replace, but surpass the quality of their film system. We look forward to our continued partnership for many years to come.”
The addition of the Digistar system is the second phase of the Dome Theater and Planetarium revitalization project which was funded by a $1.6 million dollar gift from the Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust. The first phase of the revitalization was the inclusion of the 3D digital system in 2013.
“As the technological hub of the Museum, it’s key that the theater features the best systems available today. We’re proud to help make this possible and to continue our support of this vital community resource,” said Audrey Strnad, trustee of the Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust.
Planetarium shows in MPM’s Dome Theater are included with general admission. On September 17 and 18, MPM will be showing free planetarium shows as part of Doors Open Milwaukee, allowing visitors to be a part of this world-wide first for free. For information shows and times, go to www.mpm.edu/shows.
On September 19, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science celebrated the grand re-opening of the Gates Planetarium. The Planetarium temporarily closed earlier this month to install upgraded projection equipment, making the experience sharper and more vibrant.
Evans & Sutherland (E&S) installed an 8-channel Digistar system connected to eight Barco F35 2560 x 1600 resolution projectors with E&S’ proprietary auto alignment and auto blending systems. This stunning, full dome display boasts well over 20 million unique pixels.
“The E&S team did a fantastic job with the Digistar system design, integration and installation,” Dan Neafus, manager of the Gates Planetarium at the Museum said, “The projectors slotted right into the planned locations, and the Digistar auto align and blending system performed as expected creating a beautiful, seamless image. We were amazed to see how quickly and easily it aligned and blended the images from the eight projectors.”
Museum Technology Operations Director Eric Boen said, “When we watched our show Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity on the new system we were thrilled. We saw way more detail on our dome than we had ever seen before.”
“Dan and his team at the Museum had a solid creative and technical vision for how they wanted to be able to use their new system,” Kirk Johnson, E&S President and COO said. “They wanted a reliable system that would be easy to maintain, and offer flexibility of content sources with rock-solid performance. We are delighted that they trusted this design to our team and our Digistar system. We couldn’t be more pleased that our partnership resulted in a beautiful, versatile and high performance digital dome solution for their theater.”
The Gates Planetarium is a cornerstone of the Museum, serving over 170,000 visitors per year, and offering a wide range of public programming, including a live version of Adler Planetarium’s Destination Solar System and evening lectures such as Digital Earth and 60 Minutes In Space.
Featuring the world’s first giant screen demo of a True8K™ (8192 x 8192 resolution) digital fulldome system, this half-day smorgasbord of dome presentations, presented by the GSCA Technical Committee, will feature detailed and impartial side-by-side 15/70 film versus digital comparisons, some of the very best film capture transferred to digital, high-resolution live content digitally captured, high-resolution digital time-lapse, and high-frame-rate presentations.
Building upon the first “8K” Digital Dome Demo in Richmond, VA, in 2014, and last year’s “8K” Digital Dome Demo in San Jose, Evans & Sutherland will demonstrate the Digistar digital planetarium/dome cinema system with 10 Christie 4K projectors on the dome screen at the Ontario Science Centre Shoppers Drug Mart Omnitheater. The system will use E&S’ proprietary auto alignment and blending systems to produce a seamless ultra-high resolution image with a minimum of 8000 pixels across every meridian of the dome. FotoKem is supervising the production of pristine 8K digital assets, brand new prints from 1570 negatives, and 8K source material shot with state-of-the-art digital cameras. We will present 1570 film and 8K digital in a split screen, so the audience can carefully compare the quality of both media side-by-side. Additionally, E&S will present 8K digital source material mastered in a fully 8K digital pipeline, 8K digital time lapse material, high frame rate (HFR) 8K digital content, and much more. Featuring the highest-resolution and brightest digital fulldome system ever demonstrated, this is a must-see for any dome operator and anyone producing for the dome.
Martin Howe, Co-chair of the GSCA Technical Committee: “I’ve spent many hundreds of hours in domes, and experienced many world’s firsts of the digital dome world. With all the preparation that’s going into this upcoming GSCA dome day to get the best possible content on the screen, and the specification of the equipment that’s going in, these three hours are lined-up to surpass everything that’s gone before. It’s a do-not-miss event!”
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