vDome development at the Digital Dome @ IAIA continues as we add features to the software. Last post we were able to successfully run a 2k movie clip at 30 fps, but our calibration was off. We decided to start from the ground up. Today, we were able to get a near perfect calibration with vDome.
Having the world’s first fully movable dome is great, but it comes with extra care. The projectors don’t move much, but it is important to do physical projector calibrations quarterly. Last week, Ethan did a physical calibration of the projectors. He removed all of the DigitalSky2 in-software calibrating and it was clear that the software did a lot of the work on the alignment.
We came to realize that regardless of how exact we tried to set up the physical projectors, limitations and inaccuracies always existed. Therefore, the simulated environment must be flexible enough to adjust accordingly. In response, Charles added a pixel reposition shader in the rendering pipeline which allows interpolated grid-based distortions for fine-tuning the calibration.
Last weekend the vDome software was down for programming. We had a group of artists come to the dome to preview a dance fulldome video that is currently in post production entitled “The Sublime”. This fulldome dance video is directed by Matt Wright and Janire Nájera. This project is part of The Dance Dome, a unique new collaboration between the The Arts Council of Wales, Urban Reaction Research Lab & Chapter which promises to take the best of Welsh contemporary dance and present it to its audience in full 360 degrees.
We ran “The Sublime” on the DigitalSky2 software. Normally we can run an h.264 video at 1080 on the dome and have it run close to real time and stay in time with the music. This clip had so much information and was running at a high bit rate, so it had a lot of problems staying in sync with each projector and the video lagged way behind the music. In order to get the video to play on DigitalSky2, we ended up taking the size down to 800 x 800 and the bitrate to 2k.
Today, with the grid calibration in place, we decided to test the software to run “The Sublime” at 1080 (we dont have a 2k copy yet) video compressed with h.264 codec and with a bit rate of 5k. The video ran at 30fps and it was great to be able to scrub through it without issue.
We tested some other videos and vDome is running 2K fulldome videos at 30fps. The next step is adding color correction for each projector and to experiment with feeding in VJ software such as Modul8. Ethan is excited to shoot some fisheye video with VJing in mind.