We have a special foundation to our team. Everyone presents live and pre-rendered shows to our audiences, even the animators. I believe this gives us a unique perspective of directly seeing the audience react to our shows. We get to hear what fascinated them, what brought them to a emotional moment, or what they frankly didn’t understand. All of these things help to to make informed decisions in each stage of production. This allows us to best fulfill our mission of teaching science through storytelling and find that delicate balance without boring people to sleep.
But our first and foremost mission is to create the very best science storytelling fulldome shows. We have a concentric dome with a diameter of 57-feet (17.3 meters) and 209 seats. (Check out the Google Street View inside the dome.) But after we have finished a show for our dome, we then create a unidirectional version. I personally love concentric domes as its creates a sense of community since everyone is gathered around. Its also a different experience to see the show from different seats in the theater, which is a surprise even for us. But a majority of planetariums are unidirectional and so we put forth much effort to create unidirectional versions of our shows.
We walk a very fine line between science visualization and artist interpretation. We constantly work with science advisers to check our work against the hard science. Its a continual balancing act of aiming to understand the audience takeaway and then adjusting our efforts.
Our team small and nimble: director, producer, 4 animators, tech coordinator, 2 live presenters, sound engineer, composer, and a handful of interns for presenting shows.
We are currently distributing the following 4k fulldome shows:
From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA – 24 & 30 minute options
Moons: Worlds of Mystery – 24 & 35 minute options
Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun – 24 & 30 minute options
About the Author
My name is Jason Fletcher and I’m a Science Visualizer at the Charles Hayden Planetarium, since 2010. I studied 3D Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I’m passionate about creating astronomy visualizations that allow people to experience our majestic cosmos and feel a deep sense of awe. I’ve always believed in the importance of sharing techniques back with the community and empowering those who are curious. In my opinion, hoarding secrets doesn’t allow you to innovate and grow.