Easier than ever to convert VR content for the Data Dome

17 Aug, 16 by Phil Higgins

The Data Dome, based in the At-Bristol Science Centre, is a shop window facility of Bristol Is Open and the city’s smart tech initiatives.  Housed in the 3D Planetarium, the Dome offers a unique audio and visual immersive experience to visualise data in new ways, explore the growing amount of sensor data and see the best of Bristol’s vibrant digital and creative sectors.   One area of great promise for the Data Dome is as a showcase space for the burgeoning VR sector in Bristol, as demonstrated by this year’s bigger than ever VR World Congress event.  Allowing an audience to enjoy VR content, whilst a presenter describes the content, will help developers show their work and provide a new space for digital public art.  It can be difficult and expensive for an audience to be kitted out with VR headsets, so with its 98 seats, the Data Dome has great potential as an audience venue for VR videos and content – unique in the South West of England.  To help us realise the potential of the Data Dome with its unusual projection environment, artist tools were needed to help make it easy for people to convert their content and take advantage of the Dome.

New VR video to Data Dome converter

The latest tool to be made available for the Data Dome is an experimental utility which will convert 360 videos, commonly used for VR or YouTube, to dome screens on-the-fly.  For the growing numbers of creatives making 360 videos, there’s no need to render for the dome anymore – they can preview their videos on their own computers and then bring it into the dome for instant playback.

Access the new VR video to Data Dome tool (beta)

Also in the Data Dome toolkit

The tool joins the Unity Engine to Dome converter tool, launched earlier this year at BBC Digital Bristol Week.  The developer toolkit website also includes advice guides for budding Dome developers. These tools combine our last 18 months of learning about the Data Dome and are designed to reduce the technical complexity of displaying content in the dome so creatives can focus their energy on designing the audience’s experience.

Spectaculecture is our next Data Dome when Knowle Media Media Centre  take over the Dome for a live event on 7th September – 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm.  Book your free ticket

Bristol’s Data Dome is open for ideas and innovation

“We’re always excited to hear from developers and artists who are interested in exploring how Data Dome space and screen could be used for experiences beyond traditional planetarium content. We are lucky enough that our dome screen is located in the centre of a very innovative city, and we believe that for the dome to thrive it should be as open as possible to Bristol’s creative community. This is a key part of our motivation for creating an open source toolset.  If you have ideas or content which you think may lend themselves to the dome, do get in touch to discuss how they could become a data dome event”

Seamus Foley, Digital Producer, At-Bristol Science Centre

For more info on developing for the Data Dome – please contact Seamus Foley

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