Jonathan Barker Interview: Butterflies in Fulldome – Interview by Joe Kleiman

Jonathan Barker is recognized as a world leader in giant screen and specialty cinema. His fifth 3D film, Flight of the Butterflies, which documents the migration of Monarch butterflies, is the current hit of the giant screen market and is newly available for fulldome exhibition.

For the past few years, IMERSA and GSCA have worked to foster dialog between the giant screen and planetarium communities to encourage this kind of “convergence” and increase the number of possible screening venues that distributors can serve. The continuation of that dialog is emphasized at IMERSA Summit 2014 (March 6-9 in Denver) where Barker will give a presentation about the cross-platforming of “Butterflies.”

Please share the various formats in which “Flight of the Butterflies” is now available.

Flight of the Butterflies - Fulldome ShowAs a 44-minute feature, it is available in these formats:

  • 1570 3D
  • 1570 2D - Dome
  • 1570 2D - Flat screen
  • IMAX Digital
  • 4K 3D Digital
  • Fulldome Digital
  • 2K 3D Digital
  • HD

The 22-minute version is distributed in:

  • IMAX Digital
  • 2K 3D Digital
  • HD

Finally, the 14-minute version is available in 2K 2D Digital.

  • 2K 2D Digital

Modifications were made in post for the film - shot for 3D - to play in 2D in IMAX Dome theaters. Did it have to undergo similar modifications for the fulldome screen?

We created 3 digital intermediates for the film as our 3 core digital masters:

  • Version for film-out to 1570 3D
  • Version for film-out to 1570 Dome
  • Version for Digital Cinema

Version #2 was the digital asset delivered to E&S for creation of the fulldome master.

Will “Butterflies” be available in stereo 3D fulldome as well as 2D?

Whether that becomes the case in the future will depend on what we call “deal flow.” The decision will be driven by the economics of creating the appropriate stereo fulldome master.

Mike Slee, director and Jonathan Barker. Photo credit: SK Films.

How did SK Films and Evans & Sutherland collaborate in bringing “Butterflies” to the fulldome screen?

SK did the work to create the master for dome screens (digital intermediate #2 above), which we then provided to E&S and reviewed with E&S the various parameters for creation of the fulldome master.

What is the thinking behind the multi-platform distribution model you've established for “Butterflies?”

In our current world of a world of an overall reduced per-screen revenue flow for films from the traditional Giant Screen market, distributors and film owners have to rely on increased deal volume to make up the gap, and that increased deal volume means you need multi-platform distribution – provided you have a strong enough title to be appealing across multiple platforms.

Joe Kleiman is a journalist, PR and marketing professional
with a background in museums and special venue cinema.

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