Fulldome Business Models How To Ensure Quality Content Mike Murray, Programs Manager Clark Planetarium Salt Lake City, Utah Production Methodology The tools and procedures are different, but it still comes down to the creativity, expertise and talent of who’s using those tools. What is “Production”? • • • • • • • • • Doesn’t all have to be pre-rendered video playback Live or pre-recorded? Combination? System-based? Real-time? Scripted sequences? Video clips? CGI? Video capture? Still photography? Compositing? Mix? Who is your team? (FT, PT, Contract? Interns, Students, Volunteers). A good source: Look for talented digital artists in college and technical schools (screen them). Making the best with what you have. Basic (Medium Level) Operation What Constitutes a “Medium Operation”? Can have quite a range, but one example: • • • • • • • • • • Director Assistant Director/Producer Technical Producer/Systems Administrator Show Presenters Show Leasing Fulldome Clips (Sequences) Contracted Services System Renewal Plan Production and Editing Software Professional Development and Conferencing Possible Outcomes for “Medium Operation” • • • • • • • • Some in-house production capability (mostly real-time) Live interactive shows 1-3 purchased playback shows per year One internal production per year, provided it’s a combination of real-time (live or recorded) and clips. Technical Producer/Systems Administrator All staff present shows but also have well trained part-timers Can put on special events, guest lecturers Can develop a network of support and collaboration Director • • • • • • • • Would be a working manager Budgeting Show development and production Strategic planning Fundraising support Community relations Help with show presentation Programming support Assistant Director/Producer • • • • • Present shows and train show presenters Produce fulldome content and /or adapt sequences from other sources Programming the system for live real-time presentations Participate in show research, writing and design Assist with fulldome system maintenance Technical Producer/Systems Administrator • • • • • Maintains all the technical systems in the theater Can construct and/or maintain production workstations Maintain a modest render farm Takes care of storage servers Assist in the technical aspects of production Show Presenters • • • • Well trained at performance but also knowledgeable Can be students, astronomy enthusiasts, entertainers, volunteers, etc Regular, ongoing training by Director and Producer Size of the group can range from 2-8 people Show Leasing • A method for bringing in quality shows from outside sources • Surveys show the average for this kind of operation is 1-2/year • Need a funding mechanism that allows you to pay for valued content, not settle for what’s “affordable” • Know your audiences and meet their expectations • Make sure there is an adequate marketing and advertising effort Fulldome“Clips” (Sequences) • For use either as stand alone sequences for live performances or incorporated into playback shows. • Depending on the budget, part or all of the show can be made with clips. • Writing and sound can be done in-house or contracted. Contracted Services • Even with limited in-house production capability, some outsourcing and collaboration may be necessary (especially for video playback shows). • Elements might include: - Story development - Scriptwriting - Models/Assets - Animation work - Sound effects and surround sound mix System Upgrade Plan • Electronics have a limited shelf life! • High end production workstations rotated every 3 years. • Storage servers. • Render nodes. • Sound system. • The Big One = Your Projection System! 4-6 years. Production and Editing Software • Just like equipment, software gets out-of-date and should be updated on a planned schedule. • Every 2-3 years. Professional Development and Conferencing These are crucial for keeping your staff up-to-date on: - The latest production and presentation techniques - Trends in the industry - Previewing new shows - Collaborations “Medium Level” Cost? • Staff costs are pretty much fixed, but… • Remember the widely varied production approaches! • Low End = $238k • High End = $530k “Small Level” Cost? • Staff costs are pretty much fixed, but… • Remember the widely varied production approaches! • Low End = $176k • High End = $327k “Large Level” Cost? • Staff costs are pretty much fixed, but… • Remember the widely varied production approaches! • Low End = $810k • High End = $1,608k What Constitutes a “Large Operation”? Can have quite a range, but one example: • • • • • • • • • • • • Director Assistant Director/Producer Two to Five Modeler/Animator/Programmers Technical Producer/Systems Administrator Audio Engineer Show Presenters Show Leasing Fulldome Clips (Sequences) Contracted Services System Renewal Plan Production and Editing Software Professional Development and Conferencing What Constitutes a “Small Operation”? Can have quite a range, but one example: • • • • • • • • • Director/Coordinator Assistant Coordinator (might be part-time) Planetarium Assistants (shows, maintenance, everything) Show Leasing Fulldome Clips (Sequences) Collaborative Efforts with other similar facilities System Renewal Plan Production and Editing Software Professional Development and Conferencing How do you pay for all this? Through a variety of fund raising activities, including: • Gate receipts • Sponsorship of programs, exhibits, or services • Local government support • Grants • Endowments • Special Events (Special Screenings, Guest Speakers, Wine and Dinner, Fundraising Ball, Auctions…) • Membership and “Friends” programs • Show sales (if there is an in-house production capability) Program Challenges • Creating a distinctive experience – positioning yourself as unique • Who is your target audience? – Market Research (focus groups, test audiences, polls and surveys) to determine how to best engage them. • The importance of live interaction (the human element). • Creating programming that resonates with your local audience. • The need to occasionally “reinvent yourself” (renewal plan). • Making the most of your available resources. • Funding formulas for both producing and purchasing. • Equal emphasis on the three major show components: - Engaging story and script that doesn’t try to say too much - Professional and emotive soundtrack - Convincing visualizations Thank You! … and now a few thoughts from Ian McLennan Marketing, Advertising, Promotions and Public Relations Budgets - almost always Underestimated… Important to first ensure that the product “THE SHOW” is worthy of a major marketing initiative In particular… Don’t underestimate the cost (or value!) of the ‘live’ component in your Big Production. Include significant training, and P.D. Marketing - TWO main focus points: • Local audience(s) • Sister planetariums Often overlooked (or an afterthought): • Donor recognition • Sponsorship benefits COSTS! Taking your show on the road… is not cheap! Did you see Dan’s list of Fulldome festivals? Plus, of course, all those planetarium and science centre meetings and conferences? Not for the faint of heart! But neither is the act of leaping into show production in the first place. Good luck! Break a leg.