Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Moving Ahead

Its been about a month since my last post, and this has been primarily because the nature of my work has shifted dramatically in the past few weeks and I haven't been prepared to update the contents of this blog to reflect this. My Research Assistance-ship for Don Marneilli and time with Carnegie Mellon's ETC has come to its natural conclusion with the completion of my Master of Entertainment Technology Degree and I have found myself in the unique position of being a highly valued Consultant in Europe. At the moment my present client is Philips amBX (see tech review below) where I am working in a Creative/Technical/Buisness Development role to conduct a feasibility study on market expansion of Philips "Ambient Experience" Technology into High end markets for Location and Themed based Entertainment and Theatrical technologies.

For many reasons discussion on these projects is highly limited.

We have recently updated the Alchemica website to reflect the changing nature of our companies work and focus.

I did want to mention a delightful side-tirp I made recently to Belgium to meet with The Creative Office of Franco Dragone. This amazing production company born out of the cream of creative minds at Cirque Du Soliel is making a huge impact on the world stage. Check them out.

That's all for the moment, As I can discuss other ideas more I will.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Day of London Theater

Au Revoir Parapluie by James Thiérrée

This past Saturday night I witnessed a magical journey of abstract expressionism meets contemporary dance and classic French clowning technique. This production was spectacular with amazing stage props, stunning choreography and highly crafted lighting. The Production told the a variation on Orpheus in his decent into the underworld to recover his beloved Eurydice. A highly abstract variation with the humility of a clown and modern movement that at times made the stage stand still or even move in reverse. I most most impressed by the use of stage space and massively over sized props, fabrics and light. The completely full house of nearly 1600 patrons was highly sophisticated and engaged with the humor and beauty of the production. Inspiring to see the level of response for a truly "artistic" production away from the hustle of the West End. Sadler's Wells is a magnificent modern theater with a wonderful feel and incredible depth and scale.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Musion Eyeliner

Visited Musion Systems in London yesterday for a site visit and demonstration of the Musion Eyeliner system. A commercial application of the Pepper's Ghost concept. This was the most impressive demonstration I have seen to date. Full 3D hollographic projection. Animated charicters interacting with real life actors, Dynamic scientific visualizations and Live Action illusions unlike anything I have seen. This product looks amazing on film, It is 100 times more impressive in person. Fantastic applications for immersive theater.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ambient Experience

Philips amBX is a product for "ambient experience" technology for home entertainment. Combining recently available hardware (Germany, Holland currently, US and UK by Christmas)
amBX is also features a "state of the art" language and authoring tools developed out of the Redhill, Surrey UK - Philips Research Lab. I will be here for the next 7 weeks working with their development and creative teams. My first project will be to amBX enable the "Spaghetti Circus Pirates Film". The Authoring tool (all be it in a developing form) is fantastic. To give you an Idea, I have made a first pass of the 90 minute film in the last 48 hours. Tomorrow I will see my efforts in their amBX demo room.

My Favorite part are the Fans and Rumbler's... Much more to come as I begin working on new concepts in Immersive Theater. I am here for 8 weeks.

Monday, October 1, 2007


2 full weeks spent in Pittsburgh... Working at ETC on my new Immersive FullDome Arena Theater concept... much more to come as soon as I am allowed to talk about it. Exciting visit to see freinds and catch up with colluges and faculty on Main Campus. Had a delightful time seeing my old stomping grounds and ofcourse The Hkan... great people, good food, beautiful shisha, and now a fantastic selection of micro-brews. Good times. Nothing particurally Immersive in my visit... but the fantastic news is that the Immersive Theater Institute looks like it will continue to have life. I am now pretty much finished with my Masters Degree and I will become staff at ETC following graduation in November. Did get to visit The Earth Theater at the Carnegie Museam of History which was very exciting. Also help to put up an inflatable 5m Dome...


California was very interesting. I spent most of the time at High End Systems LA, but also had a chance to visit with Dan Green, former president of the CMU Drama West Coast Alumni Clan. He and his TV Scripting partner Mark (who you may recognize from 24) met with me for lunch in Beverly Hills. Lots shared and talked about...

I also had a chance to visit Zula USA to speak with them about the ETC. I took a trip down to Sandiego for one weekend to visit an old Friend of mine and we ended up at Airport, a Lounge Club in little Italy. Set directly underneath the landing flightpath to Linburgh Filed, this amazing club features on of the most advanced "themed" design and projection aspects immaginable. incredible spot. Once in the Garden it is fantastic to experience the acoustical sensation of a 737 flying directly overhead at a height of only a few hundred feet overhead, this happens every few minutes and reminded me of a conversation i recently had with an Acoustician on the human perception of large sounds and deep frequences. A Highly attractive and moving immersive experience. Airport also features very well done projection and LED lighting set up. Excelent work.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Digtial Lighting

For the past several weeks I have been in Los Angeles undertaking courses at High End Systems The Courses have included WholeHog Lighting Software and Desks, DL.2 Dynamic Digital Lighting/Projection System, and a technical certification for their entire line of moving luminaries including the all new ShowGun. This training has been fantastic and incredibly informative. The possibilities for the use of this technology within the context of Immersive Theater is fairly obvious. The Path it has led me down is to begin forming a concept for interactivity with dynamic digital projection systems. I am beginning conversations with High End System CTO about this concept, the results should be very interesting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Acoustical Immersion

This week I had a meeting with an Acoustical Engineer at Kirkegaard in Boulder, CO to discuss the immersive properties of sound. Among our discussions was speaker placement and configuration for various types of spaces. The challenges of immerisve sound in Dome environments. "Immerison Jocky's" and their anologe counterparts Organists. Among his suggestions was that I speak to Organ Builders about their discussions on sound color, placement, and filling spaces with auditory illusions. Very Interesting. On to LA tomorrow. Where I will be exploring the world of Digital Lighting and Dynamic Digital Projection Systems.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rainbows are Visions

I have been doing some reading this week on Rainbows, the science of optics, the myths and legends, the universality of the human appreciation of this immersive experience. As I continue to develop this blog on Synesthetic Media it seems important to look to the history of 'perceptive experience' and comment on ways in which our world provides natural analog illusion and wonder. As we look to become the creators of new immerive experiences we must look at how we can come even closer to the synesthesia of color and imagination which is transformed in our appreciation of the synthesis of light and water. One of the most interesting things I have learned through this research is that a third tier of a rainbow is 140º from the anti-solar point, meaning in order to see one you have to look in the opposite direction to the first and second rainbow. In context to the Full Dome Cinema discussions from DomeFest (see below) this was quite revolutionary.

The Rainbow Book "Immensely popular book on rainbows and their significance; many contributors, hundreds of photos and illustrations, printed on multi-colored paper" Created for the 1975 Bay Area Rainbow Show by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and published by Shambhala Puplications in Berkeley.

This book goes into great depth and understand through essays to describe all of mythological, cultural, artistic, and scientific knowledge on the human experience of rainbows and aura light phenomenon. Check it out and grab a copy if you see it as this book is no longer in print.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Synesthetic Media and Immersive Entertainment

Synesthesia in relationship to immersion is the modal blending of communication mediums to stimulate crossed sensations for an audience. This idea of stimulating all of the senses includes visual, auditory, olfactory, tactatial, gustorial, equilibrial, thermal and kinesthetic. The goal is to stimulate the observer by connecting pathways to various sensory layers in a way that alters the perception of reality and envelops observers in the experience. This is a transformational medium of artistic expression when combined with a dynamic narrative which engages a sense of agency through interactive participation. Thus the creation of a new form of immersive creative expression, Synesthetic Media.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dome Fest

Dome Fest in Albuquerque New Mexico - July 19th - 24th
What an Amazing Conference! Presented at UNM ArtsLab and LodeStar Planetarium

image from HomeRun@FullDome

Congratulations! to David Beining for organizing an outstanding event.

Festival Highlights

US Premire of SkySkan's Dinfiti3D Stereo 3d Full Dome Projection System.
An unbelievable experience in full stereo immersion. An overwhelming experience of the visual cortex giving new meaning to interactive media in the 21st Century.

In one particular scene from NOAA footage from NASA's Weightless Environment Training Facility (WETF). The bubbles from the Astronauts and Divers were so real you felt as if you could touch them. When an astronaut gave you a thumbs up and then tapped you on the glasses it was as if you were really in the tank with them. Incredibly real and immersive.
image from http://library.thinkquest.org/11272/Astronauts/training_wetf.htm

The World Premiere in Stereo 3d of the Sloan 6 Digital Sky- Real-Time visualization was spectacular. Giving the audience a new experience in understanding the scale and dimension of the Universe in a way never seen before.

Mirage3D's “Dawn of the Space Age” in 4k High-Res

Coming soon to a Full Dome Theater near you this piece of CG has the highest attention to detail I have ever seen in a rendered image. The raytracing, modeling, and materials are incredible. Documenting the history of the Space Race this 45-minute Journey was incredibly well written and beautifully delivered. This piece won the 2007 Sony 4k "Domie" Award. It is incredible, so check it out.

J.Walt Adamczyk's Spontaneous Fantasia

An incredible journey of real-time 3d animation and immersive art. Presented for the first time in Stereo 3D at Dome Fest this is a experience that needs to be seen to be believed. Mesmerizing in its ability to completely take over the visual synapses to draw the audience into the work like nothing ever experienced before. J.Walt is an incredible gift.

Check out the Dome Fest 2007 Finalists and 'The Domies'

DomeFest's Sponsors

SkySkan Sony INFITEC Ziess Harmony Channel Global Immersion SICORP UNM ARTSLab & LodeStar

Please check out Fulldome.org and the Wikipedia entry for Fulldome
for more information

It was incredible pleasure for me to meet all of the participants at DomeFest

Special Thanks to

Dr. Peter Popp at Softmachine

Ed Lantz at Harmony Channel
Felipe Melendez at Psi Entertainment
Mathew Fannon at Vortex Immersion Media
Vaggelis Chrsitodoulou at Foundation of the Hellenic World
Alan Caskey at Global Immersion
Robin Sip @ Mirage3D
Harald Singer at LivinGlobe
Kevin Cain at InsightDigital and Maya Skies
Richard Hoffmann at Coyopa Productions
Scott Draves at The Electric Sheep
AJ Epstein at Ethereal Mutt
Mark Prusten at Silicon Arts
Starr Wright at DigitalMedia&Light
Jennifer Skelly at Zula USA
Nick Holland from Evans&Sutherland
Steve Savage and the Team from SkySkan
Brett Silverman at Sony
Mathew Macheri at Alder Planetarium
Dr.Ka Chun Yu at Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Robin Symonds at the Hayden Planetarium
Ryan Wyatt
Hue Walker and David Beining at UNM ArtsLab
John Weiley of Heliograph who suggested I attend, but couldn't be there, you were missed.

It was great to speak with everyone and to experience your amazing works.

I am completely inspired by what you do.