“So this is what it feels like to be on LSD!”
A week or so ago I attended a visual display to the sounds of Pink Floyd: Dark side of the moon at Thinktank Planetarium, Birmingham.
The visuals were a psychedelic display of mathematical shapes and blobs, which proved extremely good at “tripping me out”!
This wasn’t just a glorified Windows Media visualisation set to random…it was actually very effective. The reason it works so well is because of the circular planetarium screen, which surpasses the range of the viewer’s eyes. This means that the audience is able to get lost within the visuals, as when looking at the central points of the screen, they can’t see its edges.
It is also a more realistic way of viewing things. In a traditional cinema, you stare straight in front, and are able to see the whole screen. In this case however, the viewer must make use of their periphery vision.
As the screen is 360 degrees, there is no correct up or down, only a centre. This makes the audience active, and responsible for what they are watching, as they can choose where they fix their gaze on screen. It also has a tendency to cause dizziness and neck ache…
The concave screen created a real depth which with certain effects successfully confused my perceptions of space!
For me it was easy to get lost in the visuals of the shapes, because they were abstract, so I wasn’t finding myself thinking “this doesn’t look realistic”.
However, as well as mathematical shapes, there was some surreal CGI imagery, which I enjoyed less, as I thought it looked a bit dated. You can see some of this in the video of this live Pink Floyd performance. I found out afterwards that the display we watched is almost 10 years old, and there is currently a new one is production which should be ready next year.
I think that 360 degree cinema is definitely something which should be explored by film makers more. It is a more authentic 3D experience, and you don’t have to wear the dodgy specs…
Most of the Pink Floyd showings have now sold out. If you are interested in seeing something similar, a new event called TRIPNOTIC will be coming to Think Tank on Friday 7th October. Tickets are £9.