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Observatory Central > Planetarium Forum > Planetariums as a hobby > Planetarium Presentations ~ programs, education, music, and effects
Ron Walker
As the wiring of the main projector moves on to a close, I am beginning to think of some of my other presentation ideas. There is the half mirror dome as an attempt to project full dome video kind of like the original Atmospherium film projectors of all sky cloud effects. I had done some work with a video camera but the lenses I have for a three chip camera are not really wide enough.

Over the years as a cinematographer I have accumulated a number of rather good lenses for 16mm and super 16mm film cameras and have done much work with them. As times change, these have fell more and more into disuse as clients tend to prefer the instant gratification of video (cheaper) acquisition over the look of film. Unfortunately, these lenses will not fit directly on most video cameras due to the three chip design of such. There are now cameras with single sensors but all have been designed with 35mm size imagers and the 16mm lenses that I have would not cover the sensing area.

Technology to the rescue. Some camera and camera adaptors to allow shooting in the super 16mm format have come out but at a cost way out of my budget until now. A company called Blackmagic Designs has come out with an extremely compact camera called, "The Blackmagic Digital Pocket Cinema Camera" with a single image sensor the size of super 16mm. Urikea!!!, all of these lenses I now have are usable once again. Not only that but the camera is truly pocket sized and extremely easy to set up. And to make it perfect for this use, it contains an intervalometer to generate time laps films.

Click to view attachment

My first try was a one frame per ten seconds of the total eclipes of the Moon the other night. The entire unit is small enough and light enough to mount on my small equatorial mount and while it took the first half of the eclipse to get the tracking speed right, the second half came out perfectly. The 300mm lens made for a perfect image size for the frame. The entire event plays back in about two minutes. The camera also has a video viewfinder virtually as big as the entire camera on the back allowing easy checking of the progress and framing.

Click to view attachment

I also have a 5.7mm extreme wide angle semi-fisheye lens that I can't wait to use to capture time laps clouds.

Click to view attachment

This can be taken anywhere as it is so small and portable. All I need to shoot is a three stop neutral density filter as the sky is rather bright.

The quest continues.
SteveDurham
Suuuwwwwwweeeeeeeeeet!,Although I've only a clue what you speak about I know if you say it is good, it is. Youtube is a great place for timelapse!

Ron Walker
QUOTE(SteveDurham @ Apr 20 2014, 04:33 PM) *
Suuuwwwwwweeeeeeeeeet!,Although I've only a clue what you speak about I know if you say it is good, it is. Youtube is a great place for timelapse!


Easier said then done. I need to do a bit of editing, convert to something like MP4, make it a small enough file to be able to upload. I must admit that as I get older all of this new computer stuff is kind of daunting I'm more of a put it on a disc and play from there.

I'll do what I can do.
Ron Walker
Well after such a good Moon eclipse I thought things might be getting better in the night sky. Anyway I did get up in the middle of the night to see this fantastic meteor shower that was reported to be a storm with as many as 1000 meteors per hour. WOW....I said, this should be great. After staring for 20 to 30 minutes without even one out of the corner of my eye I gave up and went back to my pillow. The next morning all the reports said what a great show with up to five per hour.....FIVE PER HOUR......I can usually see that number when there is no shower. It was cloudy the next night so I didn't even try.

I think this is why I have become warped to the planetarium side of things. It was easy to set up a meteor storm in my 1am sky at 1pm in the afternoon. I even did one of my time exposures in there and captured over 100 meteors emanating from the epis center.

Click to view attachment

Right below the Little Dipper in the Camel or whatever.....how come the camel is a giraffe????

As long as I was out there taking pictures I tried a shot of the projector in silhouette against the Milky Way.

Click to view attachment

I then tried to paint the projector with light.

Click to view attachment

This will never work as the spill light always runes the sky. A good picture of the projector against the projected sky will need to be a composite of two images each with the proper exposure. I will need to do some work toward that end.
moonmagic
Yet again....GREEN with envy, I am. I almost can't be still thinking about the thrill of being able to do such things in ones own planetarium AT HOME. I love these shots. What type of meteor projector was in use? From where does it project? (console area or from center of room)?

The camera lens thing is over my head, but as already said, if you say it, I know it's the deal. I would think it would be good to be able to have use of some of that expensive equipment once used in your film (and video) work.

Regarding the hyped meteor shower....have heard so many similiar reports. It's bad for a variety of reasons but most of all for the people who were perhaps for their first time encouraged to get up early (or stay up late) to see a "show" that never happened.

This is also another reason I always preferred to have the "sporadic" meteor projector on a momentary contact switch at the console so the audience would not go away with the impression that dozens occur in a matter of a minute. That's like thinking a comet will fill 40 percent of the sky. It can be a real let-down. mm
Ron Walker
QUOTE(moonmagic @ May 26 2014, 12:33 PM) *
Yet again....GREEN with envy, I am. I almost can't be still thinking about the thrill of being able to do such things in ones own planetarium AT HOME. I love these shots. What type of meteor projector was in use? From where does it project? (console area or from center of room)?

The camera lens thing is over my head, but as already said, if you say it, I know it's the deal. I would think it would be good to be able to have use of some of that expensive equipment once used in your film (and video) work.

Regarding the hyped meteor shower....have heard so many similiar reports. It's bad for a variety of reasons but most of all for the people who were perhaps for their first time encouraged to get up early (or stay up late) to see a "show" that never happened.

This is also another reason I always preferred to have the "sporadic" meteor projector on a momentary contact switch at the console so the audience would not go away with the impression that dozens occur in a matter of a minute. That's like thinking a comet will fill 40 percent of the sky. It can be a real let-down. mm


I guess I missed this post, sorry.

I'm going to have (to start anyway) eight outlets at the projector that are switched at the console for various auxiliary projectors. Two or three of these will also be on Variacs for the obvious reasons. Since many of these extra projectors will contain both a 120 volt motor as well as a smaller voltage bulb, I have decided to build in a proper transformer to each device so that I won't need multiple switched voltages for the various devices.

The meteor shower projector is a commercial unit made by SkyScan which I purchased from Ken some years ago. It needed just a bit of adjustment and lubrication and now works like a charm. It, along with others, are placed around the base of the main projector then up into the dome. It projects what I would call a meteor storm and shows what should have happened. I have already used it to explain how, here in the planetarium, we can deliver the goods.

I also have set up a single large meteor (bolide) that streaks across about 2/3's of the dome. It is a single event that resets automatically. I am also planning a continuously moving single meteor projector that projects a short (15 degree or so) image every minute or so at various places around the dome.

I also plan a comet projector with something like a three degree long comet but that will need to move with the projector. Unfortunately I only have so many slip rings for projector mounted special effects.
albert
Hi Ron,

as always you are on the frontier of things! Would like to hear more about your experiences with the blackcmagic camera. I have recently got a new computer and now I am ready to tackle some of the more exotic formats like the new camera raw modes of these cameras. 13 f stops of latitude must be something. I have downloaded their RESOLVE grading program thats available for free and its quite a lot to learn there. This thing does many codecs and formats I never heard of...

You may be interested to hear that GoPro brings out a new model, the Gopro 4, on October 5. What is interesting for us is that it seems to have a night time lapse mode where it can shoot timelapse exposures for stills up to 30 seconds. Plus 4k video, all of that in a small cube with an extreme wide angle lens. Could also be interesting to make time lapse or long exposure videos in the planetarium....
I am very happy with the small video projectors I use in my shows. They have been shielded for stray light now and I am getting decent results with them. Unfortunately they dont make them anymore. QUMI by Vivitek.
Ron Walker
Hi Albert,

I have looked at the GoPro and dismissed it for my purposes as there is just one fixed wide angle lens. While that is fine for extreme sports it is not very versatile. I also dislike the idea of another "better" format coming out every 2.5 milliseconds. I just can't afford to keep up. I wouldn't have even considered the BlackMagic camera had I not had so many lenses to use on it.

Raw recording is a mixed bag. With the 13 stops of latitude one no longer has to bother with lighting as "we can fix the exposure in post production" but I have found out a long time ago that the best image on screen starts with proper capture as to exposure and lighting. Also a really fast computer is needed and I am tired of having to get a new one with each new codec. Honestly, I don't have the money for all the experimentation.

I also nee at least three of me to spend the time needed to learn and understand everything I need to learn and understand. I will move forward but at a slower pace then I planned.

I did manage to clean and rebuild a nice solar eclipse projector to present a partial eclipse of the Sun in my next program. I find it kind of funny how the simple old style projectors just seem to work.
mrgare5050
QUOTE(Ron Walker @ May 26 2014, 02:17 AM) *
Well after such a good Moon eclipse I thought things might be getting better in the night sky. Anyway I did get up in the middle of the night to see this fantastic meteor shower that was reported to be a storm with as many as 1000 meteors per hour. WOW....I said, this should be great. After staring for 20 to 30 minutes without even one out of the corner of my eye I gave up and went back to my pillow. The next morning all the reports said what a great show with up to five per hour.....FIVE PER HOUR......I can usually see that number when there is no shower. It was cloudy the next night so I didn't even try.

I think this is why I have become warped to the planetarium side of things. It was easy to set up a meteor storm in my 1am sky at 1pm in the afternoon. I even did one of my time exposures in there and captured over 100 meteors emanating from the epis center.

Click to view attachment

Right below the Little Dipper in the Camel or whatever.....how come the camel is a giraffe????

As long as I was out there taking pictures I tried a shot of the projector in silhouette against the Milky Way.

Click to view attachment

I then tried to paint the projector with light.

Click to view attachment

This will never work as the spill light always runes the sky. A good picture of the projector against the projected sky will need to be a composite of two images each with the proper exposure. I will need to do some work toward that end.

-------------------------------
nice starfield, I want to compare this with my various fields!!
Ron Walker
QUOTE(mrgare5050 @ Oct 5 2014, 02:37 PM) *
-------------------------------
nice starfield, I want to compare this with my various fields!!


Yes, I really like the starfield. Scorpius is ti the right of the projector and the dolphin is to the left. In the top picture the Walker constellation is to the right (some people call it Cassiopeia), the little dipper is just over the meteor shower and the big dipper is to the left.
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