After attending the IPS Council meeting in Montreal, I took the opportunity to visit the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science (MOS) in Boston. This was a particularly interesting visit for me, the Charles Hayden Planetarium is of similar size to the Melbourne Planetarium, attached to a Science Museum, and they produce their own shows.
I was very keen to meet with their Science Visualizer, Jason Fletcher, who is one of the four animators that work on their shows. Jason has been at the planetarium and is a great advocate for sharing his production knowledge. His Fulldome Blog (listed in the sidebar) is an excellent resource for anyone producing fulldome content. It was great to meet Jason and talk production with someone who understands all of its complexities and challenges.
The team at the Charles Hayden Planetarium are great supporters of student production, and for the last few years have worked with students from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The Melbourne Planetarium screened their production Sentient at the 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival: MassArts
Jason showed me some of the new work by the students and I was very impressed to see they are now working in 4K resolution.
From Dream to Discovery is the latest fulldome production from MOS, which was screened at the APS conference back in February. Jason showed me quite a number of their production tests, in particular the live action sequences which they captured with a 3d printed 10 camera GoPro rig. I was impressed to see how well they seamlessly integrated the live action footage with their 3D animation.
The Charles Hayden Planetarium has a 57 foot dome with 209 seats in a concentric configuration. Interestingly just across the hallway is an Omnimax dome, which is run by a completely separate department at MOS. While the Omnimax focuses on natural history and earth sciences, they leave all the astronomy to the experts at the Planetarium. It makes for a great synergy.