Here is a new way to watch a movie: sitting on sustainable beanbags, looking up at a dome with immersive 360-degree views and sound of cinematic weirdness. This newish technology is an emerging one landing in Sydney, through ongoing collaborations from Byron Bay to Burning Man.
At the launch party for Wonderdome at the Entertainment Quarter last week, the enthusiasm of its production and artistic team was ebullient and for a commercial venture, evidently sincere. The experience promises a 360-degree movie immersion, like an in–the–round IMAX viewing, as one of the producers explained.
The technology is pretty astonishing. To achieve the 360-degree visuals, there are 12 projectors around the dome, controlled by a master projector syncing everything together (or something like that).
The content at the launch was not nearly as exciting as the promise of this cinematic innovation. Meant to offer a taste of the possibilities, a series of trailers instead offered an array of legitimately interesting productions from National Geographic, and other stuff that left the audience baffled. Space Panda who saves his frog friend on a waffle?
In Wonderdome, moviemakers and artists have a bountiful new cinematic landscape to explore, and as in the early days of IMAX, content will catch up with technology. For now, the content and technology are good for families: kids riveted, parents lolling on blissful beanbags.
As in the early days of IMAX, National Geographic has produced several films that are pretty intense. So, relax in your beanbag, look up at the dome, and await a Pleistocene creature to almost eat you. Or just have a comfortable snooze.