Laserium was born in the late 1960s and early '70s. Ivan Dryer, then a film maker, inspired by a new multi-colored laser at Cal Tech, first made a film to set the patterns to music and then assembled a team of engineers and artists to design an advanced laser projector in order to produce live choreographed laser shows. Presenting the idea to Griffith Observatory and Planetarium landed Ivan a temporary concession operating permit from the city of Los Angeles, and the first Laserium show to the public premiered November 19, 1973. Laserium expanded to many locations in the United States and abroad and has been experienced by more than 20 million people.
Laserium was important not just in terms of technology but because it introduced a new business model to planetariums - entertainment shows that extended the programming, expanded the audience and provided a new source of revenue. With planetariums now rapidly converting to digital dome video ("fulldome") systems, and science center operators likewise converting their film domes to digital cinema there is new potential for creativity and market expansion, and new interest in the pioneering example set by Ivan Dryer more than 35 years ago.
"Innovations in Immersive Storytelling" is the theme of the IMERSA Fulldome Summit, 14-17 February at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The event is attended by operators, content creators and distributors, producers and vendors serving planetariums, giant screen cinema and themed attractions - all converging markets because of digital cinema. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science will be the setting for the annual IMERSA Summit, preceded by two and a half days of fulldome (digital dome video) workshops.
Areas of focus will include sound design and audio, cross-platforming from fulldome to giant screen and vice versa, designing a fulldome curriculum in schools, scripting and story for fulldome shows, and setting up fulldome theaters as multipurpose spaces. There will be a series of curated screenings, a Fulldome Innovation Salon for networking, product demonstrations and content sharing, a Creative Video Lab and the IMERSA Fulldome Standards Committee will address audio as the next phase of its work. Workshops will range from beginner to advanced levels.
The Summit organizing committee includes Dan Neafus (Gates Planetarium), Ryan Wyatt (Morrison Planetarium, California Academy of Sciences, Ed Lantz (Vortex Immersion), Michael Daut (Evans & Sutherland), Mark Petersen (Loch Ness Productions), Mark Slater, Carolyn Petersen (Loch Ness Productions), Matt Mascheri (Dome 3D), Jay Heinz (Morehead Planetarium), Ken Scott (Visual Chaotics), Claudia Cumbie-Jones (Ringling College of Art & Design), Lance Ford Jones (Ringling College), Jane Crayton, John Jacobsen (White Oak Institute), Paul Fraser (Blaze Digital Cinema Works), Markus Beyr (Attraktion!), Judith Rubin and Karen Roney. Registration for the 2013 IMERSA Summit opens in early December 2012. Email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMERSA - Immersive Media, Entertainment, Research, Science & Arts - is an international non-profit professional organization that celebrates and promotes immersive and fulldome media for education and entertainment in planetariums, schools, museums, cinemas, events and attractions. Mandated to raise the profile and professionalism of its members, IMERSA bridges many disciplines including researchers, artists and technicians. IMERSA is a driver and nexus for communication, collaboration, experimentation, education and promotion of digital immersive media in a variety of formats and functions.
IMERSA Board members are Dan Neafus, director of the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Ed Lantz of Vortex Immersion, Ryan Wyatt, director of visualization for the California Academy of Sciences and Michael Daut, Director of Show Production/Marketing at Evans & Sutherland.