Start with a RENCI video camera with four times the resolution of high definition, add the new 16 million-pixel, 60-foot digital dome at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC Chapel Hill, and let loose the imagination of artist David Colagiovanni, a Morehead Fellow and graduate of UNC’s MFA program.
Mix well and enjoy the results.
Colagiovanni, who teaches video and electronic media at UNC, began working with RENCI’s 4,096-by-2048-pixel video camera from RED Digital Cinema last fall as part of his project to explore uses for Morehead’s new GlaxoSmithKlein Fulldome Theatre. He had learned about the camera through Morehead staff members who worked on dome projects in the digital dome at RENCI’s UNC engagement center before the new dome was installed at the planetarium.
“For an artist, it’s a different kind of space, a different medium than a flat space with different spatial relationships,” he said. “It’s changed my process as an artist.”
Part of that process involved experimenting with different colors and textures to understand how they translate into a dome environment that provides an almost three-dimensional experience. Colagiovanni spent hours capturing seemingly ordinary occurrences, such as dripping paint, and the flow of water and oil across smooth surfaces.
The resulting short video is akin to a 1960s-style psychedelic light show, showing a variety of motions and textures that are in turn violent, energetic and calming.
“Shown on an incredibly immersive full dome video system, the work plays with, and alludes to, a visceral and magical journey heightened by the original sound score of Thom Canova,” reads a promotion for the premier viewing of the dome show.
The work required patience: The camera’s 8-gigabyte video card holds about five minutes of 4K video. Sometimes, a three-minute shot required a full day’s work. It has paid off by helping Morehead staff understand the potential of their new dome and by giving Colagiovanni a palate for his work that immerses and involves the audience.
The public experienced Colagiovanni’s work at a free showing as part of Morehead’s Family Science Day on April 17.
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