DomeLab – ANAT Fulldome Workshop

I was recently privileged to take part in a fantastic workshop run by the Australian Network for Art and Technology – ANAT – in Perth at the University of Western Australia. The workshop was on fulldome filmmaking – making films for fulldome projection in planetariums or other dome environments. Because I work with multi-projection as much as I can, and have a research interest in Expanded Cinema and, really, all forms of projection that break the classical cinematic relations and modes, this was deeply exciting!

20 artists from around Australia and a bunch of national and international dome practitioners came together to nut out experiments in live action for the Dome environment. The organisers had given us a bunch of young actors to work with, so we put them through their paces (well, in the case of the production team I was in, that involved tying one of them up and filming him wrapped in black plastic, lit with a strobe light, and locked in the boot of a car…) while trying to wrangle the idea of shooting for a round space that stretches behind and around your audience. A bunch of pictures and other info available on the Domelab blog here.

Shooting for the dome is strange! Firstly, we were shooting on Canon 5Ds with fisheye lenses, so a 180 degree field of view. Very hard to keep yourself, or your tripod legs or dolly, out of frame. You have to frame in literally the bottom 1/3 of the frame; none of this rule of thirds business; central framing in the very bottom of the frame was the go, in order that the ‘sweet spot’ appears basically in front of most audience members’ heads. It does get into your head, though – I left this week-long workshop seeing everything in fisheye…

The result of our group’s efforts is below. This was a collaborative effort with myself, Donna Kendrigan, Teresa Crea, Lindi Harrison, Paul Ricketts and Yvette Coyne. You have to imagine that you’re sitting with a dome directly above you and on all sides; the top of the round image you see here stretches right above and behind your head.