The Business of Immersion as Seen by Dan Neafus – 9th Fulldome Festival Diaries

Dan Neafus is Operations Manager at the Gates Planetarium (Denver Museum of Nature and Science) and Founding Director of IMERSA, and as close to a Supporting Angel as the Fulldome universe can get. At the 2015 Full Dome Festival in Jena, he shared his views on the Community as Business.

Fulldome media is a dynamic marketplace: 1300-1500 dome theaters (including portables) with a range of about +/- 800 portables. Domes in the range of 9-11.9 meters are the most common dome size. Another 91 giant screen domes are going to be transformed to digital soon. Based on data shared by Mensforth and Associates, there is a paradoxically growth of new dome installations since 2007; however, there is also a decline in the number of new installations per year in the current time.

There are about about 390 fulldome shows from 90 producers. Reasearch by Electrosonic found that of the number of fulldome shows licensed annually, 28.4% of the planetariums seem not to license or purchase any shows. For those that do, Astronomy shows are still the most purchased. No surprises here.

There are also giant screen cinema opportunities for fulldome content: Giant Screen to Dome is currently done for as many as 25% of the GS films are converted to Dome films; the other way around? Not so much. The average budget to create a GS production is about $6-9 milion; for fulldome, that is about 350K.

Dan also presented his take on funding opportunities to produce films:

  • sponsors
  • local community support
  • grants
  • kickstarter
  • endowments
  • special fundraising events
  • memberships

There is a growing trend of fulldome producers getting involved in non-fulldome stuff. For instance NSC Creative is picking up work for corporate projects too, as well as exploring the potential of Virtual Reality (VR) – which Dan stressed it to be a curve going ahead.

Using a headset is an evolution we simply can’t stop.

In the world there are 15 Immersive Festivals: Dan highlighted how much "These events should lead the edge of art & innovation by 1) Developing methods for media exchange, 2) Encouraging student participation, 3) Fostering agreements between participants, and 4) Providing opportunities to share and test works."

Jena's is the perfect rappresentation of such scenario.

To that end, he introduced the IMERSA Seezle reel, screened in the dome, showing effective and innovative uses of the dome.

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