“Immersive.” That’s my one-word description of the StoryDome experience.
The 13-by-25-foot inflatable dome is a portable theater with a curved, 360-degree screen. It fits about 25 people, completely surrounding all of them with the story. To say they are watching a film doesn’t really cover it; they are experiencing it.
“It really taps into awe and wonder,” said Gretchen Krampf, President of Process Experts and a board member of New Stories, a nonprofit organization that’s developing the StoryDome project. Although the dome was in use at another festival, she used images to show it to the audience of about 100 filmmakers and industry professionals at the Seattle Interactive Documentary Summit on Thursday.
You may have seen the dome at Seattle Center last year during the celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair. Visitors got a chance to see Earth Portal, a 30-minute tour of the universe. iPads with NASA apps were available to those who wanted a second screen, Krampf said.
A creative team produces films specifically for the dome. People at the conference got a look at a film called “Where Many Voices Meet,” exploring the Puyallup Watershed.
Communities and organizations around the country can rent the portable theater for their own projects. Krampf said she hopes the theater will be used in classrooms, planetariums and science programs.
If you are interested in working with the StoryDome or learning more about it, visit www.newstories.org.