Fulldome is a challenging way of projection into an immersive dome environment. Although there is a number of cg animations that take advantage of this way of projection like abstract animations and space or underwater environments. Today artists are wanting to push the boundaries to be able to produce all the possible types of screens.
Previous productions that were tried to overcome fulldome production challenges only show how hard it is to keep the well developed visual standards of a flat screening and put it inside dome environment.
In my opinion, the “traditional” old composition techniques are not suitable for much bigger and immersive dome space. Lots of the projections look small and they lack of fully and smart use of the screening environment. They focus the action mostly in front of the view space with the background stretched to surround the viewer. The effects on sides and from behind the viewer are rare and seem to strain the space. Another composition challenge is a life action productions demanding great resolution digital cameras with fisheye lenses and action with real actors. Traditional storytelling techniques have to be rethought before adjusting to this difficult environment. There is also a lack of filmmaking conventions that would be immediately understood by the audience. Some new solutions are a surprise to an audience. The new emerging form of art is a completely new and challenging field for an audience and artists. It demands to abandon old filmmaking paradigms and rethink it from the scratch.
Not only the composition is a challenge in a fulldome field. Technological equipment still puts great demands on artists. Rendering time is a problem mentioned by almost every artist who tried this production. Another is resolution and colour quality including black level and bright displays that look transparent on the dome screen and show the dome stitches, single or multiple projection, depth between foreground and a background. There is also a big difficulty to keep the vertical and horizontal lines straight.
Thereby the content of a fuldome displays is limited by those technical and technological difficulties. Space environments, underwater, human anatomy, clouds, tunnels to travel through in a great speed (blood veins, space-time tunnels, roller coasters, narrow corridors, etc) and abstract animation are the most explored ones.
I would like to focus on new software and hardware technologies that are being developed recently. On a Fulldome UK 2014 festival I was able to listen talks and discussion about technologies that have improved since last two years (since last Fulldome UK festival). Artists were raising the topic of emerging technologies that can open the door for easier, cheaper and more advanced production as well as popularise the field among filmmakers and 3D artists. Portable fulldomes, new software, plugins to an existing software, clouds, databases and social media, and mostly about artists who use it and how they use it.