Astronomy Days Wrap-Up

Our two days at Astronomy Days are over – feet are sore and vocal chords exhausted from repeating the pitch about the film several thousand times. But a successful weekend overall. Attendance was lighter then last year as it was an absolutely beautiful weekend in Raleigh, NC and plenty of competing outdoor activities. But they are moving the event back to a winter day next year to improve attendance.

But my two presentations of the film went very well – Saturday’s had 100 people and Sunday’s had over 150, nearly packing the auditorium. I believe they were the best attended events of the weekend.

My favorite part, was on Saturday, during the presentation. A 4 year old girl was fidgeting something awful during my very short 15 minute intro about the film. Her parents looked like they wanted to take her out. But then I rolled the footage.

As soon as the Saturn clip came on screen, her jaw dropped, her mouth gaped open and she did not blink once through the entire Saturn clip, sitting as still as a rock. Even though this is not a film aimed at very young children, it’s amazing to see the universal, primal appeal of flying through these amazing photographs.

It’s the reason I’m making the film and wonderful to see how people of all ages respond.

Fun Highlights of Astronomy Day this Weekend

Outside In is just a very small part of what’s happening at the totally free Astronomy Days this weekend. NASA’s Destination Station will be showcasing the International Space Station. The Museum has a whole new wing with a cool new Astronomy Lab and a “World Wide Telescope“.

There will be Bottle rockets to launch, face painting, and Moon bouncing (not sure what that is but sounds fun whatever it is) and many more fun and interesting things.

Plus – a ton of great speakers and workshops including several from supporters of the film Mike Malaska and Tony Rice. Full schedule of speakers can be found here.

Astronomy Days Giveaways & Schedule!

POSTER GIVEAWAY:

For the film’s appearance at Astronomy Days, we will giving away two framed posters: one for the film and one printed frame from the Saturn fly-through. If you can’t make it or live too far away, simply make a donation, sign up for the mailing list or follow the blog via Facebook to enter.

For those in the North Carolina area that can make it out to Astronomy Days, here’s the schedule for our booth and the showing of footage including the new shots.

BOOTH:

We will have a booth setup like last year – free IMAX film frames again this year. Booth will be Saturday 9pm to 5pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 5pm. Not sure on the location in the building but last year was third floor. Will announce as soon as I know.

PRESENTATION:

  • Saturday, 1:00 PM to 1:40 PM in the main auditorium/3D theater on the first floor.
  • Sunday, 2:00 PM to 2:40 PMin the main auditorium/3D theater on the first floor.

Not-for-profit & Not-for-sale

As the film moves closer and closer to completion – and has more and more venues around the world express interest in the film – the question comes up about money and Outside In.

Although I have considered all sorts of models for Outside In in years past, since 2007 it has been a legal, fiscally sponsored non-profit undertaking financed 100% by individual donors and sponsors. At first it seemed this would not be enough, but the viral exposure last year really helped push the film forward. Now, the base of supporters is strong enough to raise the remaining funds to finish the film.

Yes, there is more money to raise, but doing 3 to 4 small fundraisers a year will be enough to finish the film in digital form. At that time, the digital version can be screened to raise the final costs (music licensing, insurance, mastering costs) – that is not a huge obstacle.

This all means the film will be finished debt-free and without anyone, other than myself, owning the content. This is the primary reason I have wanted to keep the film non-profit. So much of the content has been donated to the film, supported by the donors and sponsors, and I want to give that back, share it with scientist, teachers, schools and outreach efforts. It would be nearly impossible to do this if private investors were funding the film.

So the film will remain a not-for-profit until complete – to protect the film itself, to protect use of the content and to honor the vision of myself and the long-time supporters of the project.

And that makes me happy.

Release Date Update – Lasers!!!

You may have noticed that the release date has shifted from December 2012 to 2013 “summerish”. The slipping and vagueness is not due to problems with the film or certainty of completion. Although I could get hit by a bus or aliens could invade…or maybe the Apocalypse of the Week will actually happen – but the film will be completed otherwise thanks to your ongoing support.

But over the last 9 months there have been some major changes in the giant screen world, especially with IMAX™ Corporation that have a huge impact on Outside In. The biggest obstacle the film has faced has been: — even after every last penny has been raised and the film is 100% complete, it can’t be shown in the largest flat and any of the IMAX™ dome screens. Those are based on film projection and to create a filmout of Outside In, and say 25 prints, runs northwards of $500,000. And supposedly, it would be years before most had converted.

I had, of course, done work on what could be done to secure those funds from potential distributors and investors. They basically want your first born in a deal with the devil. Big changes to the film, complete loss of control of the project, total control distribution. Things that I find unacceptable as it would invalidate the reasons I’ve sacrificed so much over the past years and betray the many wonderful supporters of the film.

But the world changes rapidly. Kodak went into financial trouble, then bankruptcy. Several competitors to IMAX demoed – then starting selling and installing digital projection systems for giant screen venues. The biggest news was two big announcements. IMAX bought a number of Kodak patents and then partnered with their competitor on next generation laser projection system due out in 2013. This new system is primarily aimed at those film-based dome and very large 2D screens that need the brightness a laser light engine can deliver.

So now, it looks like by late 2013 and certainly 2014, there will be many digital venues that are true giant screen where Outside In can be seen, pure and uncompromised. Better yet, if the film is successful at some of those venues, a film print can be funded without making any changes to the film. The distributor/funder will recoup their investment plus a profit from the box office.

And one more thing – despite my life-long love of film, the Saturn fly-through clip was part of demo between the best of film vs. the best of digital projection. It looked better on these new digital projectors – film has grain that is no present in my original footage and film displays less colors, so the very fine color details in Saturn’s clouds were lost going to film.

So the best way to see Outside In will be on the next generation of digital projection. That’s a win win win for everyone.

Outside In Returns to Astronomy Days, Raleigh NC 5/19 & 20th

Last year, we had a great time presenting the film at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences annual “Astronomy Days” – and a whole bunch of people help make it happen including the Raleigh Astronomy Club and many more.

Outside In is back again and will be showing new and updated footage at 1:00 PM Saturday May 19th and 2:00 PM Sunday, in the main auditorium on the first floor. They have updated and upgraded the theater and it will be even better than last year.

Volunteers needed!!!

Also, if you are in the area and can help setup on Friday evening or tear down Sunday at 5:00, just let me know.