|Moscow Planetarium. Photo: Global Immersion|
Judith Rubin: You attended the June 12 re-opening of the Moscow Planetarium. It must have been a dramatic event after having been closed 17 years for a comprehensive redesign and upgrade.
|Inside the theater at the Taipei Astronomical Museum. Photo: Global Immersion|
The Planetarium is centrally located on one of the main ring roads in busy downtown Moscow not far from the Kremlin and Red Square, and next to the Moscow Zoo. This will put Russia back on the map for having a world class science center.
|The mini-dome at the Moscow Planetarium. Photo: Global Immersion|
First theater: The centerpiece venue is the Star Hall which features three digital display systems. As a 25 meter diameter planetarium, it’s said to be the biggest in Europe and can seat 364. The first integrated system is our Fidelity Bright™ and comprises 14 high resolution and brightness projectors. It is really punchy, bright, colorful and resolute, and ready to show almost anything – we even designed a custom lens to meet the client’s specifications. Also in the Star Hall is a giant-screen stereoscopic 3D theater display, and a panoramic multi-channel display that wraps around the dome periphery and works in synchronization with the new Zeiss starball projector. It’s effectively a planetarium system within a planetarium system.
|The Grainger Sky Theater is the Adler’s third digital dome installation since the 1990s. Photo: Adler Planetarium|
|The Star Hall at the Moscow Planetarium. Photo: Global Immersion.|
All the theaters are joined across a 10 gigabyte digital backbone and linked to 96 terabytes of storage, a 240 cpu core render farm and a remote support system. It’s a robust system with a great deal of power and resources that will let them do pretty much whatever they want to do with room to expand. In the process of shipping, it was stopped at Russian customs and reclassified as a “supercomputer.”
MH: Partly because the technology is maturing. That’s not to say it’s mature; there are still many challenges that we have to overcome. But these high performance visual systems are now affordable, especially when compared to the technologies that preceded them, either film based or opto-mechanical – and of course these digital systems are also so much more powerful and flexible.
|Space Portal leading to the Grainger Sky Theater. Photo: Adler Planetarium|
|Deep Space Adventure. Photo: Adler Planetarium|
|The 4D theater at the Moscow Planetarium has 6-axis motion seats. Photo: Global Immersion.|
|Taipei Astronomical Museum dome theater. Photo: Global Immersion|
The installations at Taipei and the Peoria Riverfront Museum are both markers of the giant-screen cinema industry transitioning from film-based systems to digital – the “convergence.” Peoria will be a flat-screen, all-digital 3D theater with stadium seating and 4K projection on a 70’ x 52’ screen. Not very many years ago the operator would most likely have selected an IMAX film projection system. In fact they’ve had to field many questions from the community regarding the decision to go digital. Their choice is an affirmation of the high quality of projection that digital systems can now provide, plus it gives the museum a lot of freedom in terms of choosing content. Construction on the theater begins this summer.
|The “digital starball” effect in the Grainger Sky Theater. Photo: Adler Planetarium.|
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