In the visitor attractions business, digital dome, aka “fulldome,” is getting attention from museums, science centers and theme parks as they transition from film-based systems to digital projection and seek to provide ever-more immersive experiences. Fulldome cinema already boasts a network of more than 650 theaters around the world with the potential for many more. This immersive medium is being widely adopted in Europe and Asia as well as the US to create compelling story-based guest experiences, and to leverage transmedia opportunities – for entertainment and education in 2D, 3D and 4D.
Denver, Colorado USA — The 2012 IMERSA Summit is set to take place 3-5 February 2012 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). “Lessons from our past, Visualizing our future – Winning solutions for the digital dome” is the theme. The two-and-a-half-day Summit is organized by IMERSA (Immersive Media, Entertainment, Research, Science & Arts) – a nonprofit trade group formed in 2008 to boost the adoption and creative application of the digital dome and other immersive media formats. Registration opens 15 November 2011 at IMERSA.org. Attendance will be limited to the capacity of the Gates Planetarium dome theater (about 120) at DMNS.
“Because of digital technology, multiple industry sectors are converging, and we have a lot to talk about on the creative side, technology side and the business side,” says IMERSA co-founder Dan Neafus, director of the Gates Planetarium. “Everyone wants to see more viable business models for production, distribution and exhibition. This Summit will be a conversation where we can share the wisdom, look at what works and what needs to be done differently, what tools exist and what tools still need to be developed or improved – and move forward.”
People and companies active or aspiring to be active in special venue cinema, mainstream cinema, planetariums, science centers and themed entertainment will come together at the IMERSA Summit for a conversation about successful approaches for acquisition, workflow, distribution & exhibition. There will be fulldome film screenings in the Gates Planetarium, keynote speakers, panels, workshops, vendor presentations, and special achievement recognition.
An optional Fulldome 101 educational session (separate registration; limit 20) will take place on 3 February. There is also an optional post-Summit ski trip on 5-7 February.
“We’re working to develop standards and specifications and deal with what is called ‘pixel envy.’ Fulldome is pretty far along in terms of animation content, but mainstream filmmakers are eager to see more options for live action photography,” says IMERSA co-founder Ed Lantz, of Vortex Immersion.
“When it comes to image acquisition, there are tricks for capturing material in a way that not only optimizes the special projection environment in the dome, but that can maximize the opportunities for cross-platform distribution,” says IMERSA co-founder Ryan Wyatt, director of Morrison Planetarium and Scientific Visualization for the California Academy of Sciences.
DMNS (Denver Museum of Nature & Science), GSCA (Giant Screen Cinema Association), TEA (Themed Entertainment Association), PGA (Producers Guild of America) and IPS (International Planetarium Society) are all organizations lending varying degrees of support to the 2012 IMERSA Summit.
Background – the Fulldome Universe
Digital dome theaters are central to prominent visitor attractions around the world such as City of Dreams in Macau (“Dragons Treasure”); the Adler Planetarium in Chicago (“Deep Space Adventure”); the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Planetarium), Madame Tussauds London (“Marvel Superheroes 3D), Futuroscope in Poitiers, France (“Arthur”) and Universal Studios (“The Simpsons Ride” and “Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey”) and Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles to name a few examples. The growing library of fulldome shows includes original custom productions from exhibitors and system providers as well as independent producers. Major special venue distributors such as nWave Pictures, SK Films and National Geographic are also getting into the act and starting to make titles available for digital dome exhibition.
Within the planetarium community and educational institutions, it is generally accepted that virtually all dome theaters will eventually upgrade to digital dome technology. The tendency is either to integrate a fulldome system together with an opto-mechanical starball projector, or to replace the starball altogether. Depending on the size of the theater, the number of projectors in a fulldome system can range from a single fisheye unit to a series of 6, 8 or more, linked and edge-blended.
Previous IMERSA Summits have taken place in conjunction with IPS (2008) and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Media Symposium (2010). This will be IMERSA’s first independent Summit.
Details – 2012 IMERSA Summit
Location: Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Colorado USA
Organizer: IMERSA (Immersive Media, Entertainment, Research, Science & Arts) nonprofit trade group
15 November 2011 Registration begins at IMERSA.org – early bird pricing
1 December 2011 (Optional) Ski trip registration deadline
3 January 2012 Early bird registration discount ends
3 February 2012 (All day) Fulldome 101 workshops (separate registration)
3 February 2012 IMERSA Summit begins (Friday afternoon)
5 February 2012 IMERSA Summit ends (Sunday afternoon)
5-7 February 2012 (Optional) Post-Summit ski trip to Summit County Ski Area
$400 IMERSA Summit (early bird registrants and IMERSA members earn discount; attendance cap 120)
$150 Fulldome 101 workshops (Friday sessions, limit 20 participants)
Who will attend?
· IMERSA supporters and immersive cinema aficionados from around the world
· Fulldome film vendors, producers and licensors
· GSCA, TEA and PGA representatives
· Higher education students and instructors
Opportunities for participation
· Sponsorship opportunities
· Joining the Summit planning committee
· Leading a Summit session or presentation
· Volunteering at the Summit
|Dragons Treasure at City of Dreams, Macau
· Fulldome 101 workshops (Friday pre-event)
· Fulldome Master Showfile Ratification session & standards roadmap discussion
· Friday evening reception and screenings of commercially sponsored films (at DMNS)
· Best of the Best Screenings: short films, trailers, (polls, nominations, festival winners, curated)
· New Fulldome Film Screenings (released after August 3rd 2011)
· Vendor demo area and hands-on demonstrations
· Open forums for discussion networking and sharing
· Interactive international participation via Internet conferencing
· Speakers & panels: acquisition, workflow, distribution, exhibition, history, marketplace & the future.
· Recognition banquet (Saturday night)
· Hospitality services available throughout the event by DMNS
Accommodations: IMERSA will post suggestions on IMERSA.org
IMERSA – Immersive Media, Entertainment, Research, Science & Arts – is an international non-profit professional organization that celebrates and promotes immersive and fulldome media for education and entertainment in planetariums, schools, museums, cinemas, events and attractions. Mandated to raise the profile and professionalism of its members, IMERSA bridges many disciplines including researchers, artists and technicians. IMERSA is a driver and nexus for communication, collaboration, experimentation, education and promotion of digital immersive media in a variety of formats and functions.
IMERSA co-founders are Dan Neafus, director of the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Ed Lantz of Vortex Immersion and Ryan Wyatt, director of visualization for the California Academy of Sciences.
About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region’s leading resource for informal science education. A variety of engaging exhibits, discussions and activities help Museum visitors celebrate and understand the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. To learn more about the Museum, check www.dmns.org, or call 303-370-6000.