Thursday, November 30, 2023

IMERSA 2014 Summit to foster dialogue on specialty cinema

“The challenge that faces us is to create a new dimension in immersive storytelling,” says Rick Rothschild of FAR Out! Creative Direction, who is featured in the “Great Storytelling” discussion atIMERSA Summit 2014, March 6-9 in Denver.

Dan Neafus“We’re bringing together some of the best minds and forward thinkers from planetariums, giant screen cinema, themed entertainment, pano-photography, gaming and virtual reality, computer graphics and science visualization,” says IMERSA co-founder Dan Neafus, director of the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which is one of the host venues for IMERSA Summit 2014.

Registration is open and discounts are available through Feb 17, 2014.

Click to see Summit schedule overview

IMERSA is a trade group founded in 2008 by Dan Neafus and several colleagues in response to the rapid adoption of digital dome video (“fulldome”) in planetariums that has essentially transformed these spaces into state-of-the-art immersive theaters. They saw new, potential creative and market opportunities exploding in multiple directions – as indicated by the group’s acronym, which stands for Immersive Media,Education, Entertainment, Research, Science and Arts.

Sponsors of IMERSA Summit 2014 include Attraktion!/Sphere of Light Award, California Academy of Sciences, Clark Planetarium, Dome3D, Evans & Sutherland, Electrosonic, Holovis, Loch Ness Productions, Morrow Sound, OpenLens Productions, Seiler Instrument/Carl Zeiss, Sky-Skan, Spitz Inc., SCISS, SlicedTomato Video Productions and Vortex Immersion.

Participants in IMERSA Summit 2014 include:

Doug Roberts Doug Roberts A member of the WorldWide Telescope team at Microsoft Research, and liaison to the planetarium, astronomical research and informal learning communities, Roberts will participate in the “Virtual Realities and Game Changers” session on Sunday, March 9. Read more

Donna CoxDr Donna Cox – Pioneer in the use of science data for the creation of educational visuals in media. Giant screen cinema credits include Cosmic Voyage. Fulldome credits includeDynamic Earth. Dr Cox will deliver the keynote address for IMERSA Summit 2014. Read more


Jonathan BarkerJonathan Barker – President of SK Films, producer of Flight of the Butterflies, a current top success of giant screen cinema, recently repurposed for fulldome exhibition. “Butterflies” will be screened in fulldome and Barker will lead a case study session on its cross platformingRead more

Rick RothschildRick Rothschild Former Disney creative executive and a driving force in many top attractions including “Soarin’ Over California“; and as a consultant, more recent projects include the refresh of the Adler Planetarium with the new Grainger Sky Theater, andFlyOver Canada. Rothschild will speak about “Great Storytelling in the Immersive Media Space” on Sunday, March 9. Read more

Daren Ulmer (Mousetrappe) Leading media producer in theme parks and museums, whose recent accomplishments include the USA Pavilion at Yeosu Expo 2012, and primary media components of the Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction at Kennedy Space Center. Ulmer will join the “Great Storytelling” session. Read more

Jeff Jortner president of SIGGRAPH will introduce keynote speaker Dr Donna Cox, and will participate in various sessions as an affiliate representative on behalf of SIGGRAPH.

Ian McLennanIan McLennan Specialist in projects and events in cultural and educational organizations, museums, planetariums, science/interpretative centers, tourism projects and World Expositions. McLennan will participate in several areas, including a session about “Steering an Immersive Dome Theater Toward Success” (Saturday, March 8) and a workshop onplanetarium budgeting (Sunday, March 9)

Paul FraserPaul Fraser – (Blaze Digital Cinema Works) A leading consultant to the giant screen industry, Fraser will chair a roundtable session on the potential for convergence between the larger fulldome theaters and giant screen film domes, including the first public presentation of his new research findings in that area. Read more

Panek and Daut 2Jeri PanekEvans & Sutherland (shown at left with colleague Michael Daut) will receive lifetime honors at IMERSA Summit 2014. The development of the digital planetarium was a counterpart to the development of computer graphics technology and the personal computer culture. Jeri Panek was on hand for all of these, and she helped E&S introduce Digistar digital planetariums to the world. Panek’s estimable sales record at E&S put into place a vast part of today’s fulldome theater network. Read more

Michael Daut of Evans & Sutherland is an IMERSA Board member and is chairing the Professional Development sessions on Thurs-Fri, March 6-7. Read more

Berend ReijnhoudtBerend Reijnhoudt of Omniversum (left), a leader in the GSCA, will join the session on “Steering an Immersive Theater Toward Success,” Saturday, March 8. Read more


Steve SavageSteve Savage The CEO of Sky-Skan will take part in a panel discussion, “The Pros and Perils of 8K” as part of the 8K closing event of the Summit, at Fiske Planetarium in Boulder. This push-the-envelope event is an opportunity to see one of about 5 existing 8K digital dome facilities in the world, watch 8K content and be part of a discussion with 8K providers, early adopters, operators and producers. Those unable to attend the full Summit can purchase individual tickets to this event, which runs 6-11 pm on Sunday, March 9. Read more


The closing event of IMERSA Summit 2014 will take place on Sunday, March 9 at the new 8K fulldome facility of Fiske Planetarium in Boulder (shown above). Very few digital dome systems are capable of 8K resolution, currently considered one of the furthest frontiers of any cinematic medium. This event is an opportunity to see 8K content created specifically for the 8K digital dome and to hear from early adopters, system providers and producers all in one place.

(Below) “To Space and Back” will be screened in the Gates Planetarium in 4K, and at Fiske Planetarium in 8K, as part of IMERSA Summit 2014.


More about IMERSA and IMERSA Summit 2014

To help fulfill its vision IMERSA has formed active alliances with other trade groups where it sees common cause, including the Giant Screen Cinema Association, Producers Guild of America, Themed Entertainment Association, SIGGRAPH, and Association of Science Technology Centers.

Embodying IMERSA buzzwords “Cross-fusion” and “Convergence,” the 2014 Summit discussions, screenings and demos are aimed at sharing information across industry sectors, looking at promising directions and innovations, offering professional development for producers, exploring business models and honoring pioneering contributors.

The IMERSA Board members are Dan Neafus (Gates Planetarium, Denver Museum of Nature & Science), Ryan Wyatt (Morrison Planetarium, California Academy of Sciences), Ed Lantz (Vortex Immersion) and Michael Daut (Evans & Sutherland). Visit

Dream to Fly 2
“Dream to Fly” will be a featured fulldome show screening at IMERSA Summit 2014

Opportunity for producers, artists and storytellers

For producers and distributors of giant-screen movies, the fulldome network – currently estimated to number roughly 1,000 digital dome theaters of varying sizes and configurations in science centers, planetariums, educational institutions and other facilities around the world – can represent a significant market expansion if the industry is able to meet the technical challenges of cross-platforming. The cross-platform chain potentially spans a wide range of formats including (but not limited to) flatscreen and dome screen, 2D and 3D, resolutions from 2K to 8K, and frame rates from 24 fps to 60 fps – as well as virtual reality platforms such as Oculus Rift.

For other media producers, including those active in broadcast, movies, video games or entertainment attractions, as well as artists, theatrical producers and those working in multimedia, the fulldome network offers numerous creative possibilities and new directions.

Opportunity for facilities

Existing facilities with fulldome theaters can learn to use those spaces in new ways that help reach new sectors of the community, enhance their positioning, generate revenue and increase their power to serve educators and educational missions.

New facilities can consider incorporating immersive dome theaters for education or entertainment purposes.


IMERSA is a professional trade association recognized as a non-profit 501 (c) (6) Corp. IMERSA’s vision: To build an international community of professionals who create large-scale immersive digital experiences. IMERSA’s mission: To advance and promote the art and science of large-scale digital immersive media, fulldome, and immersive group experiences in digital planetariums, mobile domes, themed entertainment and giant screen theaters.

“The challenge that faces us is to create a new dimension in immersive storytelling.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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