Dome Master Show File Format 1.0 - Sec.II - Dome Master Working Specification

II. Dome Master Working Specification

The “Dome Master” refers to the individual images projected by the fulldome system. For purposes of this working specification, only circular dome masters (i.e., a square source frame) are considered.

1.     Geometry – equidistant azimuthal “fisheye” render representing up to full sphere with bottom of the frame representing the front bottom of the dome screen, and the right and left hand sides of the dome master corresponding with the respective right and left sides of the dome to a viewer sitting at dome center within the theater. Top and sides of polar image are tangent to edges of image frame.

2.     Recommended file formats:

a)    sequentially numbered lossless files — e.g., PNG, TIFF or TARGA with RLE compression

b)    other sequentially numbered files — e.g., JPEG at highest-quality setting

3.     Recommended file name format — e.g., “Name_00001.jpg”, “Name_000001.jpg”

4.     Recommended folder name format “filename_000001_010,000”

5.     Color Bit Depth — e.g., 8, 10, or 12 bits/color

6.     Frame Size, frame must be square, with standard diameter resolutions of 720x720, 1024x1024, 1536x1536, 2048x2048, 3200x3200, 3600x3600, 4096x4096, 8192x8192

7.     Recommended frame rates

a)    30 fps or 60 fps

b)    other frame rates — 24 fps, 25 fps, 29.97 fps, 30 fps, 48 fps, 59.94 fps, 60 fps

8.     Alignment Frames — set of standard frames included in dome master that establish synch and test proper geometric alignment, gamma, color balance, etc.

9.     Other design recommendations:

a)    Unidirectional “Safe Action” area approx. ±50° longitude (measured from dome front/center), and ranging from 10–60° latitude (altitude)

b)    Nominal camera tilt of 15° great circle (cf. reference frame)

10. Exterior to active pixel area:

a)    region colored black (except for time and frame data)

b)    user-defined show name, timecode, and frame number text

c)     recommended arrangement: timecode (top line), frame number (second line), and frame rate (third line) in upper left-hand corner, with show name in upper right-hand corner[RJW1] 


 [RJW1]I re-inserted the recommended arrangement because it really does make sense. :)

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#4) The recommended name implies it, but should a line be added to standardize the number of frames in show folders? We default to 10,000, and I know plenty of others do too. But we still get the occasional 60,000 frame folder, which can be a bit of a hassle.

Nevermind. Just saw this addressed in Section Five.

If we can look at the statistics for what domes are actually out there (some do exist), I think that would be helpful in making any recommendations. This process so far has looked mostly at very large domes, but if we knew the most popular resolutions across the industry (or even just the most popular resolutions of those who actually buy preproduced shows, which might be able to be found from vendors and distributors) we could make a recommendation better grounded in reality. As with Ryan, 1024x1024, 2048x2048 and 4096x4096 seem like the likely ones, but we're always dealing with new projectors in the market (although there are definitely a few very popular ones), and I think there might be some hardware optimization to consider and should consider a future projection market dominated by HD-related resolutions, which seems to me like it would better align with forthcoming theatrical projectors, many current small planetarium projectors, and the video graphics drivers we're often already using for display. Even if we see where we're going now, we have to continue to watch where the industry moves, we don't want a standard locked in to ancient tech years from now, nor one that leaves behind old theaters that still constitute the majority of the marketplace.

I also agree that the tilt recommendation is questionable, has there been any significant historical problems in using media produced for tilted domes in flat ones and vice-versa? I know I've seen the occasional funny panorama, but I think most of us still have the audience facing a similar sweet spot, and this might make it sound to new producers like the camera has to be locked for a 15 degree tilt with no flexibilty (since, to me, if this is going to be useful, it's going to be useful for informing new producers, especially those with no fulldome experience, how to generate content).

I'd also second Tom's suggestion of taking note of truncated domes--they do exist and producers may want to be aware that in some cases content could be truncated down to a 4:3 aspect (I believe that is what most truncated systems are?).

There is a difference between mastering a show for distribution and adapting it to a given theater or system.  If one system wants 2400x2400 and another 1600x1600, for the most part these can be served by downsizing from a 4k x 4k dome master, no?  I realize that stars and other details might get lost in the downsizing... this is where mastering in two standard resolutions might be good - like 2k and 4k.  But mastering in 12 different resolutions is nuts.

This very issue came up in the IMERSA Fulldome Summit standards forum last Saturday.  Mark Petersen went on a rant (as he has been known to do) about the numerous formats that he needs to prepare for show distribution.  Check out http://lochnessproductions.com/shows/compatibles.html#SLICING

This was never the intent of the Dome Master spec.  The idea was to format the dome masters then let the theaters slice for their unique resolutions and projector configurations - ideally automatic slicing based on the attached metadata.  However Mark said that they would never ship Dome Master frames - only compressed/split movie files.  That places a huge burden on Loch Ness to track all of the different formats and compression codecs.

Is anyone else out there doing the splitting and compression of their shows?  Are there others who would not ship Dome Masters?  The idea of the Dome Master spec is to create a common interchange format that transcends the plethora of splitting/encoding formats...

e

Interesting.  How do Spitz, Global Immersion, and the other distributors handle this?  Is it a profit center for them?

- Ken

To my knowledge (and correct me if I'm wrong) at least one system vendor does not provide dome masters or encoders to customers and profits off slicing and distribution fees, and I'm aware of at least one other producer that encodes video streams for their customers, rather than providing dome masters. In general, (again, if I am correct) most producers distribute via the dome master and the end users' systems either directly accept dome masters, are given the needed encoding software by their vendor, or can work with their vendor to slice.

As I think I said in the DRM thread, if a producer is insistent enough on protecting their content they want to do the slicing and encoding themselves, then that is their onus to take on, but I don't think it changes that the dome master is what most producers should be (and are) working in and delivering, be it to a distributor or an end user. A hopeful benefit of these, and other projects, may be better customer education--that they understand the slicing and encoding process is part of installing shows, and can either know to obtain the software from their vendor, or find a vendor/distributor that will slice for them if they're unwilling to themselves.

I'll also agree that many close resolutions can probably be ignored. I believe Mark Petersen when he says he has customers that complain about a 1024 file being played back on their 1080 system, even if they can in no way see the difference, but Mark has the resources and willingness to deal with those kind of complaints, which I doubt most producers (especially new ones) do. Again, with consumer education we might raise awareness that its okay when the numbers don't match exactly. There's certainly a range in which any scaling is pretty unnoticeable, and the more streamlined the dome master spec is, the better. 3200x3200 systems may be left in the middle of 2k and 4k, but I'm not sure that's much different from what's already happening now (and as I think we've addressed, part of what we are doing is codifying what our de facto standard practices have become), and they chose to either uspcale the one or downscale the other.

FWIW, we (Sudekum) often distribute dome masters, but if we have the ability to slice and encode for a particular system, we will do that too - particularly if the amount of data to ship is greatly reduced or the end user isn't prepared to do it themselves. Some system vendors make this easier than others.

On another (possibly nitpicky) topic, points 3 and 4 strongly imply that the first frame of a sequence should be 00001 and not 00000. Most sequences that I receive start at zero, and frame outputs from After Effects at least, start at zero by default. 10k-frame folders that I have distributed contain frames 00000-09999, 10000-19999, and so on, all frames in a folder starting with the same digit.

Is there a preference or reason for starting with frame 1?

I vote for '0' here.

Hi!

just a minor thing; Some systems use truncated domemasters, so having the meta info in the top corners does not work...

Tim

Worse, with mirror systems (and even some fisheyes) without additional and careful masking, those corners end up getting projected, usually on the walls, or off the edges of the mirror.  Sure, they're not on the dome surface, but still... they're there and visible.

Moreover, I see tons of online movies that have been smooshed down to online sizes -- but perhaps made from 4096 dome masters, for example.  So (in the blurred downscale movie) it says "4096 pixels" in the corners.  Fail -- what I'm watching isn't that size.

>> Mark




Hi,

Agreed on the fact that the dome master should not be delivered sliced. Ideally the content creators should not have to think of the projection setup (i.e. how to split/slice each frame to each display). The dome owner (or people running a dome theater)  will perform the slicing.

Jeremie


Daniel Tell said:

To my knowledge (and correct me if I'm wrong) at least one system vendor does not provide dome masters or encoders to customers and profits off slicing and distribution fees, and I'm aware of at least one other producer that encodes video streams for their customers, rather than providing dome masters. In general, (again, if I am correct) most producers distribute via the dome master and the end users' systems either directly accept dome masters, are given the needed encoding software by their vendor, or can work with their vendor to slice.

As I think I said in the DRM thread, if a producer is insistent enough on protecting their content they want to do the slicing and encoding themselves, then that is their onus to take on, but I don't think it changes that the dome master is what most producers should be (and are) working in and delivering, be it to a distributor or an end user. A hopeful benefit of these, and other projects, may be better customer education--that they understand the slicing and encoding process is part of installing shows, and can either know to obtain the software from their vendor, or find a vendor/distributor that will slice for them if they're unwilling to themselves.

I'll also agree that many close resolutions can probably be ignored. I believe Mark Petersen when he says he has customers that complain about a 1024 file being played back on their 1080 system, even if they can in no way see the difference, but Mark has the resources and willingness to deal with those kind of complaints, which I doubt most producers (especially new ones) do. Again, with consumer education we might raise awareness that its okay when the numbers don't match exactly. There's certainly a range in which any scaling is pretty unnoticeable, and the more streamlined the dome master spec is, the better. 3200x3200 systems may be left in the middle of 2k and 4k, but I'm not sure that's much different from what's already happening now (and as I think we've addressed, part of what we are doing is codifying what our de facto standard practices have become), and they chose to either uspcale the one or downscale the other.

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