The Antarctic Dome Blows Minds at Coachella

April 25, 2017 Projects

Obscura went back to its roots to create the new Antarctic Dome at the Coachella Arts and Music Festival this year. We were excited for this golden opportunity to blow people’s minds with an over-the-top immersive dome projection, thanks to support from our friends at HP.

Obscura was selected by Goldenvoice to build the 120-foot dome, and to create Chrysalis, an incredible 8-minute long audiovisual program to be projected in epic 360º at massive scale offering an immersive experience unlike any other.

“This is the most mind-blowing immersive experience I have ever seen,” said Obscura’s CEO and co-founder Chris Lejeune. “This is one of those magical moments when all of the tech and production execution works in harmony to support the artistry and the creative is executed passionately and expertly to create magic that allows you to let go into the experience.”

Coming from the world’s recognized pioneer in large-scale projections, that’s certainly saying something. After all, Chris and Travis Threlkel formed the company in 2000 to create immersive projection experiences in domes — and (many many many projects later), here we are today.

Ashland, Oregon-based Pacific Domes designed and constructed the massive dome, which at 120 feet would be the largest geodesic projection dome in the world, and providing a projection surface larger than any IMAX theater. It holds over 500 people at a time, reclining in bean bag-like chairs as the experience rains down on them.

And rain it does, with 15 2k resolution 30k lumen Christie Boxer projectors blowing up the dome with bright, crisp visuals, and 108 L’Acoustics speakers (56 KIVA’s, 12 12XT’s, 24 5XT’s and 16 subwoofers) arranged on three tiers around the dome interior, providing bone-rattling spatialized audio so the audience literally feels the experience viscerally. That makes for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience, and L’Acoustics and their new L-ISA surround spatialization product was invaluable to the project.

Pictures simply can’t do this justice by any stretch, but this video will give you a taste for what it was like:

With Chrysalis, Obscura’s creative team devised a content narrative that would take people on a metamorphic journey through time, space, and consciousness, with a friendly nod to crowd-favorite art installations from Coachellas past along the way.

Our media team took that vision and ran with a combination of CGI, fractal geometry and practical effects videography (shooting real-world objects and manipulating the result) to create the final piece. Our sound designers worked hand-in-hand with them to craft custom audio that effectively created a 4-dimensional experience that felt as though you were actually traveling though space-time.

In short, the result was utterly incredible — not bad for four months’ work.

Watch this 360 Chrysalis video on your VR rig 360 video-enabled smartphone or device, and experience Chrysalis in the comfort of your own home. Enjoy!

By Will Chase