|Inside the Grainger Sky Theater
CHADDS FORD, Pa., Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The upgraded digital display system in the new Grainger Sky Theater isn’t the only state-of-the-art technology audiences will experience when they visit Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. Visitors to the new theater will see the Universe projected on what is said to be the most technologically advanced projection dome in the world: the Spitz NanoSeam™ dome inside the new 70-foot hemispherical Grainger Sky Theater.
The Grainger Sky Theater recently reopened after a $14 million upgrade, including installation of a 64-million pixel digital display system. To ensure audiences will experience the full impact of the high-tech projections, the Adler selected the highest quality dome available.
“The projection dome is the largest optical element in the Grainger Sky Theater, so it has to meet or exceed the performance of the rest of the system,” said Jon Shaw, CEO of Spitz Incorporated, located in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. “This is accomplished with the NanoSeam dome. The screen technology allows the dome to completely disappear, getting the most out of the image for the audience.”
The quality of Adler’s new NanoSeam dome has everything to do with its seams. The Adler’s dome is made from dozens of compoundly-curved aluminum panels, joined together to make a large, hemispherical surface. Joints where panels come together have to be perfectly made, or noticeable seams will be seen – causing a distracting pattern of lines in projected images. With NanoSeam, the joints are so precisely fitted, it’s almost impossible to see where the panels come together. Spitz’ seaming process is so detailed, even the rivets attaching the panels to the frame are carefully counter-sunk into the screen surface and custom finished to match the exact color and brightness of the dome’s surface.
“The seams are absolutely invisible under projection conditions,” said Mark Webb, Adler Planetarium Theaters Manager. “Having the screen surface “disappear” from the scene adds depth and realism to the projection that exceeds our original expectations for image quality.”
Other factors contribute to the quality of the dome too, including the surface itself. Instead of simply painting the dome after it’s installed, Spitz custom finishes the panels with a proprietary formulated epoxy powder-coating mixture that’s robotically applied before the panels ship from the factory. The surface coating is so durable, it can be cleaned with harsh solvents and it won’t affect the surface. The high-tech coating insures every panel matches every other, so they’re all perfectly even and uniform.
Spitz is the world’s leading supplier of planetarium projection domes with over 1,000 installations worldwide. They are the only company that designs, manufactures, integrates and installs complete dome theaters. Products and services include dome screens, theater automation, video systems, lighting, audio systems, show production, and design/engineering. Spitz is a wholly owned subsidiary of Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation (ESCC). On the web: www.spitzinc.com
About the Adler
The Adler Planetarium – America’s First Planetarium – was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people – particularly women and minorities – to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers. Learn more at www.adlerplanetarium.org.