Museum giant-screen theaters now have standards

September 23rd, 2011 - Posted in Resources by Christine Ruffo

After an extensive peer and expert review, the Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications (DIGSS 1.0) are now fully available, along with many other findings and reports relevant to museum giant screen theaters and those who support them. An independent evaluation conducted by the Institute for Learning Innovation found after the 2010 Giant Screen Cinema Association Conference that participants agree that there is a need for institutional giant-screen (GS) theaters to have DIGSS; and they disagree that they should conform to conventional screen shapes.

The results of the National Science Foundation- (NSF-) funded project are available as free downloads below and, in addition to DIGSS 1.0, include: an economic snapshot of the museum GS market; a literature review of immersive learning in GS theaters; a useful glossary of terms; descriptions of the field; a logic rationale for production; a bibliography; and the colloquium proceedings. DIGSS are museum-quality specifications for a 4:3 aspect ratio to fill giant domes and flat screens.

White Oak Institute Bulletin #1: The Global Network of Giant Screen Theaters Needs Attention (PDF, 1.1 MB)

DIGSS 1.0 (PDF, 1.1 MB)

DISCUSS Colloquium Proceedings (PDF, 2.6 MB)

Giant-screen theater industry leaders and a team of experts met over three days in Marblehead, Massachusetts, June 14–16, 2010, where they reached consensus on the first draft of specifications for digital giant-screen theaters in the international museum market. The White Oak Institute and its team, including the Giant Screen Cinema Association, the Institute for Learning Innovation, the LF Examiner, and the MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation convened technical experts, museum leaders, theater managers, film producers, distributors, and an evaluator to resolve the field’s critical questions. The project’s objective was a digital GS theater format that suits the educational needs of the museum community and creates a sustainable business model with a supply of quality educational shows similar to the experiences in IMAX® and other film-based GS theaters now in place in museums and science centers. Such shared protocols will set the stage for transformations and innovations in museum-quality equipment and productions in the digital age.

DIGSS 1.0 addresses: aspect ratio, resolution, brightness, bit rate, theater geometry, screen size minimums, and other factors affecting the quality of the audience’s learning experience in flat and dome screens and in 2D and 3D. DIGSS builds on the research and standards developed by the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI). As with the DCI specs, DIGSS permits projection of alternative content from a variety of innovative new sources, paving the way for experimentation, innovation, and a connection to the growing community of fulldome theaters, many of which were formerly planetariums.

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