That’s not a screen, THIS is a screen, Dreamworks 180 degree screen

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TV manufacturers got bored with 3D and quickly moved on to bending their displays. There’s been a pretty unconvincing justification being made that by slightly curving the glass somehow makes it a more immersive experience. With a curve less than 30 degrees, it’s a long way shy over overtaking your peripheral vision and therefore falls short of the marketing pitch.

Today I had the opportunity to attend the Dreamworks Animation exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne. The most impressive section of the exhibition was undoubtedly the 180 degree screen that showcased the process of an idea progressing through storyboards to animation and full film effects.

Surrounding your vision with a screen that consumes your entire view does something special, really special. Riding on the back of a flying dragon, you feel and more importantly believe in the experience before your eyes. You forget that your eyes are being fooled be a 3D environment projected onto a 2D surface and just let your strongest senses, sight and sound overtake you.

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Obtaining this level of surround in sight and sound admittedly isn’t easy in your average house given it’s size and requirement for as many as 4 projectors required to create the ultra-wide 180 degree surround. Imagine each projector is pushing out 1920×1080 resolution, that means there’d be 7680×1080 pixels, which then introduces the issue of content, nothing but this special video is shot in that resolution.

I thoroughly appreciate that Dreamworks allows filming and non-flash photography in the exhibition and that allowed me to capture a preview of this stunning experience. Sadly the standard phone camera doesn’t do justice to the immersion. A couple of moments through the video you get a sense of the motion, but nothing compared to being there.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 5 October, 2014, so if you have a chance to see this screen for yourself, I strongly suggest it. Just be warned, if you typically suffer from motion sickness, you may feel like your feet have left the ground.

  • Ben

    I saw it last week. So cool I went through a couple of times. Although there were four projectors, they did overlap a bit on each so it wouldn’t have been 7680×1080 exactly. Very impressive still.