Isabella Buczek, head of production and design

Abstract: “Touching the Edge of the Universe” – this unique European show has been produced at the Mediendom at the University of Applied Sciences Kiel (Germany) for the European Space Agency (ESA) and a consortium of 30 German speaking planetaria during the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009. The story of the most exciting and imaginative celebrations of science and discovery  is being told with a specific 360° degree dramaturgy and knowledge transfer methodology.

A big challenge was to find the right balance between an entertaining but in the first place a knowledge transferring show and therefore to develop the right visual concept. The viewer was supposed to gain lasting values and skills like for example finding the hunter star on a winter starry sky or a basic understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum in connection with satellites.

Contrary to initial misgivings towards a tense usage of five actors who replace the usually used omnipresent speaker in common planetarium shows, a surprising success could be recorded.

The audience is more capable to understand complex astronomical connections if the visualization is combined with emotional reactions of real actors. Several observers said that the actors felt as present as if a real presenter would explain the topic in the dome. Hence the newly gained knowledge about the newly gained emotionality of complex graphics on the dome with the help of actors can be regarded as onward progress on the way of developing  a new 360° scientific film language.

In Addition to new pedagogic visualizations and methods on the dome also new technological challenges had to be overcome. Actors already recorded with the right fish-eye distortion had to be included fluently into virtual 360° degree 3D environments via keying and intense motion tracking.

Therefore “Touching the Edge of the Universe” can be regarded as an extraordinary  film project whichleads to numerous innovations und recognitions in the development of a 360° film language and its realization for fulldome theatres. The show can be seen as a milestone on the way to further productions of the same kind.

For more information go to the external project site: www.planetariumshow.eu

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