Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Spitz release “Supervolcanoes” narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch is science journalism for immersive dome cinema

Spitz Creative Media, Mirage3D and Thomas Lucas Productions announced the release of Supervolcanoes, a new 24-minute documentary created for digital dome cinema (fulldome) exhibition in planetariums, museums and educational institutions. The show explores rare and extremely devastating volcanic phenomena, and portrays them with imagery that is dramatic and scientifically accurate. Audiences experience vivid recreations of cataclysmic past eruptions, while diving into a supervolcano now gathering force below Yellowstone National Park. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Hobbit, Star Trek Into Darkness), Supervolcanoes world-premiered in September 2012 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) and is now available for general release.

Supervolcanoes is already in demand for bookings and is currently playing in more than a dozen locations worldwide. “We’re trying to raise the bar for fulldome production,” says co-producer Mike Bruno of Spitz Creative Media. “So we collaborate with the best partners possible. Our titles are tested with scientists as well as audiences, and exhibitors trust our brand. As a blend of earth science, space science and life science, Supervolcanoes cuts across a number of important disciplines and ties into current educational standards.”

Click to view the Supervolcanoes image library.

Thomas Lucas
Solid science journalism 
Supervolcanoes examines the largest volcanoes on Earth as well as on Triton and Io, moons of Neptune and Jupiter. “It doesn’t just focus on volcanoes as a process of earth science,” explains director Thomas Lucas. “It views the planet holistically as part of the larger universe. It engages audiences emotionally and intellectually in a story about life, earth and space science all at once. This is solid science journalism.” Supervolcanoes is Lucas' third production in collaboration with Spitz Creative Media.

Supervolcanoes illustrates how eruptions occur and explores how likely another eruption is to occur soon, based on data collected from scientific observations. The show features visualizations with higher resolution and detail than most Hollywood films. It is designed to be as engaging to watch as it is scientifically accurate, with a compelling story arc and high production values, blending live photography and computer animation. Being produced specifically for the dome and incorporating live-action sequences by pano-photography specialist xRez Studios, Supervolcanoes optimizes the immersive and educational power of fulldome digital cinema. “The live-action scenes we shot in Yellowstone have been some of the most popular with audiences,” says Lucas.

Click to preview the entire Supervolcanoes fulldome film on FDDB.
Dan Neafus
Magical Media Teaching Environment 
“Fulldome provides a uniquely immersive educational setting,” says Dan Neafus, Operations Manager at the Gates Planetarium at DMNS, which launched Supervolcanoes in September 2012. “We felt it was time to really utilize the planetarium as a truly magical media teaching environment.”

Supervolcanoes was vetted by both DMNS scientists and audiences before its premiere at the Gates, where its run was timed to coincide with the museum’s traveling exhibit “A Day in Pompeii” (Oct 2012-Jan 2013). The museum took advantage of the film’s broad appeal to work with new educators and scientists and engage more schools and groups than in the past. “The exhibition tie-in along with the show featuring both space and earth science content opened up our theater to a wider audience,” says Neafus.

Click to access the Spitz Creative Media Vimeo channel.
Robin Sip
Blockbusters of digital dome cinema
Supervolcanoes is the latest addition to an expanding library of strong science titles for fulldome, and we’re very pleased to be part of this project as both co-producer and co-distributor,” says Robin Sip of Mirage3D. Mirage3D is well known in the planetarium and fulldome communities as a provider of unique, top-quality science documentaries. “It was a fabulous creative challenge," adds Sip. "We are quite happy with the result.”

Click to view the Supervolcanoes image library.
Supervolcanoes joins prior, successful Spitz/Thomas Lucas/DMNS collaborations including Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth’s Climate Engine and Black Holes: the Other Side of Infinity. Worldwide, Black Holes has had 150+ planetarium bookings since its 2007 release, and since its May 2012 release, Dynamic Earth has had 50+ bookings. “In our industry, that is blockbuster status,” says Mike Bruno of Spitz Creative Media.

Supervolcanoes was presented to the industry in February 2013 at the IMERSA Fulldome Summit, and will be featured at the Jena Fulldome Festival (May 29-June 1) at the Jena-Zeiss Planetarium in Germany - and at other fulldome and immersive cinema festivals this year.

Supervolcanoes is distributed by Spitz Creative Media, Mirage3D and Evans & Sutherland.

For more information, contact:
Mike Bruno:
Robin Sip
Michael Daut 

Click to view the Supervolcanoes image library.

View the Supervolcanoes trailer at:
Preview the entire Supervolcanoes show on

Photo library

Visit the Spitz Creative Media Vimeo Channel

“I thought Supervolcanoes rocked. The visuals worked really well, especially the earth cutouts and the views from under the crust. The imagery spoke volumes - and there was enough narration to really understand what was going on. The most frequent comment I heard was ‘awesome!’” – Sharon Shanks, Planetarium Educator, Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University

"Thumbs up!"
“My class just previewed the Supervolcanoes movie. We all give it a huge thumbs up!” - Nick Mahalko, teacher at Charleroi Independent School District

"Excellent educational value"
Supervolcanoes is excellent. I began my professional career as a planetary geologist, so I was really gratified to see that the subject matter was accurately presented. The connections made between terrestrial volcanic activity and that found on other bodies in our Solar System add a great deal to the educational value of the program. The graphics and soundtrack are really wonderful.” - Alice Monet, astronomer and President, Friends of Arlington's David M. Brown Planetarium

"Watchability factor"
"I still love Supervolcanoes after screening it many times. It has a great 'watchability factor' as I like to call it - it’s a fascinating look at supervolcanoes." Mark Jankowski, Director, Ingram Planetarium

The Spitz Creative Media team: Wes Thompson, Brad Thompson, Bill Carr, Inna Leonov-Kenny and Mike Bruno
About Spitz Creative Media
Spitz Creative Media partnerships have produced or co-produced some of the most successful fulldome films in circulation, including Oasis in Space and The Zula Patrol (based on the award winning TV series, now running in 140+ theaters and in 16 languages). The extensive Spitz fulldome content library also features such premium titles as Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity, seen by millions worldwide.

Spitz Creative Media is part of Spitz Inc., the world's leading planetarium and dome screen supplier, with more than 1,200 installations since 1945. The company's services include engineering, fabrication and installation of dome theaters, planetarium projection systems and components, as well as production and distribution of educational fulldome shows. Spitz's base includes leading institutions and special venue operators around the world, including The Walt Disney Company, IMAX Corp. and the Reuben H Fleet Science Center.

Spitz launched its proprietary digital planetarium SciDome in 2004 with more than 100 installations now operating around the world. The Spitz NanoSeam, introduced in 2006, provides a seamless dome projection surface for giant screen cinema and planetarium projection in numerous science institutions.

Spitz works actively to grow and nurture the fulldome community and be responsive to its customer base and the changing market - whether hosting its Digital Institute educational seminars for SciDome clients, or partnering with the best people and companies in the industry to produce great content. The company has earned a reputation for innovation, technical expertise and unparalleled customer service. Spitz is headquartered in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania USA, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation. Visit