June 10, 2013

2013 Fulldome Festival Diary: The State of Fulldome

Mark C. Petersen, co-founder and president of Loch Ness Productions, reviewed the current state and possible future of the fulldome medium through analysis of his well known compendiums. Mark’s first experience with planetariums goes back to 1962, when he had the chance to visit the Fiske Planetarium, in Colorado, USA. Since then, many years have passed and Mark showed the audiences how planetariums have evolved both in designs and configurations. Even though first planetariums had mostly concentric seatings, with people looking inward towards the star projector, over time more and more planetariums were designed with directional seatings, which allowed a better use of audio-video presentations under the dome. Because of this, LNP introduced the idea of fulldome show packages made of content, scripts and instructions. Fulldome projection systems appeared a bit later, around ‘90s, bringing an increasing number of new theaters that could take advantage of the new technology. The number of planetariums reported in the compendium sums up to 1150 theaters worldwide, half of which are in the USA only. The majority of such theaters have unidirectional seatings and projection systems that can reach less than 2K. Mark also reports that most digital domes are associated with institutions that have, or are somehow related to, educational purposes, with Astronomy and Science surely being the most popular. The annual attendance in planetariums around the world sums up to 52 million people, which is really very promising for the future development and evolution of the fulldome medium itself.

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