DARK (2012)

August 3, 2012 in data visualisation, fulldome, movies, projects, research, science, video by Peter Morse

DARK is a fulldome movie that explains and explores the nature of Dark Matter, the missing 80% of the mass of the Universe.

The search for Dark Matter is the most pressing astrophysical problem of our time – the solution to which will help us understand why the Universe is as it is, where it came from, and how it has evolved over billions of years – the unimaginable depths of deep time, of which a human life is but a flickering instant.

But in that instant, we can grasp its immensity and, through science, we can attempt to understand it.

The movie is presented by Dr Alan Duffy, a brilliant  young astronomer from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) at the University of Western Australia – who creates simulations of Dark Matter evolution inside supercomputers.

Alan introduces us to the idea of Dark Matter, why astronomers think it exists, and explains why Radio Astronomy is so well-suited to its discovery.

We explore why the new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Telescope, currently under construction in remote Western Australia, will be so important in this scientific quest.

But this is only the beginning.

We journey through completely immersive visualisations of Dark Matter evolution calculated upon some of the world’s fastest supercomputers – cosmological visions on a truly vast scale, in which galaxies themselves are but points of light, distributed across far larger intergalactic structures of Dark Matter. These visualisations, developed by Paul Bourke, demonstrate the cutting-edge of contemporary supercomputer visualisation of massive scientific datasets and astrophysical simulation.

It sounds like Science Fiction, but it’s not. It’s the real stuff. Real Data, seen in this way for the very first time.

If, like our composer, Cathie Travers, you don’t happen to be a Computational Cosmologist, then consider her response:

“It’s mind-blowing that we have this capacity to look into the universe, it doesn’t matter whether I am processing all the relevant data in the correct intellectual manner, it is fabulously and literally wondrous to experience any kind of glimpse into an experience of the infinity beyond my own tiny speck. My memory of seeing the version some weeks back at Horizon is: total and utter pleasure and excitement witnessing the visuals, my feeling that the light generated by Paul’s beautiful visualisations is a representation of what’s happened billions of years ago…a sense that the light of other days was passing through me as the image revolves and rotates around the full-dome. It will stay with me for a very long time – and hopefully with everyone who sees the film…and that is what will encourage the population to support further research.”

Directed by Peter MorseDARK is an adventure to the very edges of contemporary cosmology and data visualisation, telling a complex scientific story with a touch of humanity – for an intelligent audience.

We hope you enjoy DARK

Update: The movie previews to our select audience on August 28th at Horizon Planetarium, Scitech, Perth, Western Australia on August 28th 2012. Public release shortly thereafter, details to be announced.

Production details: 4k Fulldome resolution (4096 x 4096 px); 5.1 surround sound audio. Duration: 20 minutes.

Production Credits:

Directed by Peter Morse
Produced by Peter Morse & Paul Bourke
Written by Alan Duffy & Peter Morse
Presented by Alan Duffy
Dark Matter Simulations: Alan Duffy and Robert Crain

Dark Matter Visualisations: Paul Bourke

Music: Cathie Travers

Audio: Peter Morse & Trevor Hilton

Lighting: Peter Morse & Ákos Brúz & John Doyle

Fulldome Timelapse: Peter Morse & Chris Henderson

Digital Sky Milky Way Animation: Carley Tillett

Galaxy Animation: Paul Bourke

Editing, 3D Modelling and Computer Animation, Compositing & Special Effects, Colour Grade: Peter Morse

LadyBug-3 Video: Paul Bourke, Peter Morse

Parkes Panorama courtesy of Alex Cherney

Galaxy Images courtesy of Hubble, STScI, NASA

Milky Way Panorama courtesy ESO/S.Brunier

Compute & Network Support: Jason Tan, Ashley Chew, Khanh Li (iVEC@UWA)

Special thanks to:

Paul Ricketts, Centre for Learning Technology, UWAThomas Braunl, UWA Centre for Intelligent Information Processing SystemsJohn Doyle, Octagon Theatre, UWA

Andreas Wicenec, ICRAR

Sally Hildred, Martina Smith

Funded by iVEC@UWA and Scitech

©2012 iVEC@UWA & Peter Morse




Jangurna Story: Indigenous Astronomy – Fulldome in Western Australia (2012)

June 3, 2012 in adventures, fulldome, projects, research by Peter Morse

A 4 minute preview of the 20 minute ‘Jangurna Story’ – a fulldome movie exploring indigenous stories of the night sky around the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. This story – concerning ‘Jangurna’ (The Emu) has been told by community elder Stella Tittums to the historian Mary Ann Jebb – the recording provides the narrative soundtrack.

The movie was shot during a 10,000 km 3 month voyage that took me and my film crew (Chris Henderson and Sally Hildred) from Hobart (Tasmania), across the Nullarbor, to Perth (Western Australia), and then around the Gascoyne, camping all the way. We filmed the night skies, dusks and dawns, amidst the magnificent arid landscapes of Carnarvon, Quobba, Exmouth, Ningaloo, Mandu Mandu and many others. We travelled by 4-wheel-drive into remote areas in the blazing heat of the summer season, walking many kilometers with our self-built and designed 4k timelapse fulldome systems. Besides battling heat, dust, flies and amazing thunderstorms, we endured two cyclones and major bushfires. Things were a little difficult at times. Location sound was recorded at each environment.

The project generated many terabytes of ultra-high-resolution fulldome content. Many scenes were shot in HDR. The cinematography then went through extensive image processing and compositing at iVEC@UWA and in my studios in Hobart. Needless to say, it required a prodigious amount of compute resources to process the data and conform it for the final edit.

The finished movie runs on permanent exhibition at Gwoonwardu Mia, the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre, Western Australia in a specially built 4m dome environment. The exhibition ‘Burlganyja Wanggaya’ (‘Old People Talking’) of which it is part, was opened by the Premier of Western Australia, Hon. Colin Barnett, on June 8th, 2012.

BTW, I’m from WA, I grew up there, so this meant a great deal to me. Country. Family. All that stuff.




Beyond the Frame :: Fulldome @ Launceston Planetarium

August 5, 2010 in fulldome by Peter Morse

ANAT Presents:

Beyond The Frame: Introducing Australian Filmmakers And Media Artists To Fulldome.

The emergence of ‘destination cinema’ and the proliferation of large-format screens in public spaces present a challenge – and opportunity – to filmmakers working in traditional screen formats.

However, unless you have the chance to experience large-format for yourself, it’s almost impossible to grasp its immersive power and story-telling potential. So we’re organising a series of special industry screenings to give you the opportunity to do just that in the lead-up to Dome Lab 2010.

Screening : ‘Frozen in Time‘ (Peter Morse – fresh from the Melbourne International Film Festival) and ‘Best of DomeFest 2009′ (trailer here)

LAUNCESTON – Saturday 7 August 2010, 4pm – 5pm
Launceston Planetarium, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk
2 Invermay Road, Launceston TAS 7250


To be introduced by ANAT’s Program Manager, Vicki Sowry and Peter Morse, Hobart-based filmmaker and recipient of the Sydney Film Festival’s 2010 Peter Rasmussen Award for Innovation.

FREE admission, but bookings are ESSENTIAL as places are strictly limited.
To book, call or email ANAT – (08) 8231 9037 or anat@anat.org.au

Wide Angle Tasmania is arranging car pooling and/or subsidised travel for the screening.

For people wishing to travel from Hobart to Launceston for
the screening call WAT on 03 6223 8344 or email info@wideangle.org.au

See: http://www.wideangle.org.au/index-3.html#CAL61


Screen Tasmania: http://www.screen.tas.gov.au/news_-and-_events/events_-and-_deadlines

Hobart Fulldome: An Imaginary Immersive Space

July 9, 2010 in antarctica, data visualisation, fulldome, projects by Peter Morse

A concept visualisation for a Hobart Fulldome cinema and visualisation centre, along the Hobart waterfront at Sullivan’s Cove.

Two simple platonic shapes for a platonic concept – of course, I would expect architects to do much better – but it could be very simple. It could be somewhere else entirely – but this seems like a good spot: a neutral zone.

Internally, I would propose a hemispherical 12-18+ metre diameter, 30º or 45º angled screen: Fulldome Cinema – akin to IMAX or Omnimax, but significantly less expensive, no vendor lock-in – and entirely digital. Run on Linux and opensource software (it already exists or we can make it.)

The image here is not to scale – just indicative of audience relationship to the screen. Of course, it could scale from anything between 25-250+ seats, depending upon the size of the development.

Internal Dome Screen Orientation

Internal Dome Screen Orientation

It would make economic, technical and cultural sense for Hobart to have a production, research and display facility like this. The business case could be well argued.

There’s lot’s happening in the future around the Hobart waterfront and I hope this sort of idea is on the radar of the relevant authorities.

Fulldome is a rapidly evolving and dynamic medium – the visualisation, creative screen and tourism potentials for Tasmanian and Antarctic Sciences and Arts are blindingly obvious.

Hobart Fulldome would immediately open up a range of national and international screen development networks. It will also lead to the local development of content for international export – as there are literally thousands of such systems being built around the world – desperate for new and innovative content. It is a new and undeveloped market – and we have so much here that is unique and currently unexplored for this exciting medium.

It should be a common-resource, a terra incognita, as the size of Hobart precludes development – and ownership – by individual organizations: a space of collaborative imagination is what is needed – this would also impart the requisite creative intellectual dynamism to the environment, as new and un-forseen interactions could develop.

I imagine something with scientist-in-residence and auteur/artist-in-residence programmes. A hybrid space for innovation and regular screenings – a schedule to be balanced and developed.

It would bring life and energy to this currently ‘dead’ area of the waterfront at Sullivan’s Cove, leading to a spread of activity all the way around to Salamanca Place, tied in with the Wireless Waterfront and Tasmanian NBN projects.

Key to this idea would be establishing an intimate association between the Sciences, Screen and Arts organisations that are locating around the area.

There are so many organisations and individuals producing amazing visualisation data and creative content here that could be drawn together into a kind of renaissance. Stories to tell, narratives to unfold, data to be seen and understood in new ways.

Fulldome screen content is already entirely distinct from traditional planetarium applications (such as astronomy) and ranges across a huge range of genres and styles (e.g. DomeFest ) – it is part of the future of immersive cinema.

It would be a very fertile place for innovation and export of research, technologies, visualisation, education and screen content. A place of knowledge for the future of how we envision the world.

It could be attractive to international and national conferences and forums (e.g. Ozviz ; ASTC.)

Such a facility can be very cost-effective to implement as technology costs have plummeted over the past 10 years. Many cutting-edge technologies are developed here in Australia (e.g. MirrorDome, iDome.) Besides mirrordome systems, fisheye and multi-projector systems are also now cost-effective.

And it needs a bar and a decent coffee shop: places to talk about ideas whilst admiring the view (virtual and real.)

Anyway, I’m just one man planting the seed of an idea…Hobart Fulldome is just a sketch of the possible amongst many…

Hobart Fulldome Model

Hobart Fulldome Model: Click to Enlarge


As this idea is free, and I have an infinite budget in my imagination, why not arrange it so the seats fold down into the floor late-ish in the evening and the screen becomes visible (but not accessible) from a public-space/restaurant/cafe/bar opening out onto the waterfront, so that musicians can play and people can sit and chat and eat, whilst Antarctica, Tasmanian landscapes and – well – other stuff – can wheel silently around them on the screen behind, as people look across the waters – perhaps hiring wireless headsets or using mobile phone apps to watch and listen and interact with the giant screen (cf. Solar Equation). That would be quite an experience – they’d still be learning(!): all these places (visualisation centres, fulldome systems, planetaria) are turned off  ’after hours’ – and – if designed the right way in the first place  - they needn’t be. They could still be earning their way.

I guess, whilst, yes, it is good practise to adopt principles from successful exemplars elsewhere – there is always space to innovate and do something uniquely ‘here’ – the Tasmanian Example, that makes a difference and that others emulate – because it works and it’s new and you’d only be free enough to do it on an island at the end of the world.

Constructive ideas are welcome.

Peter Rasmussen Innovation Award, Sydney Film Festival (2010)

June 21, 2010 in antarctica, data visualisation, fulldome, interviews, mawson's huts, projects by Peter Morse

Peter Rasmussen Innovation Award 2010, 57th Sydney Film Festival from Peter Morse on Vimeo.


The Peter Rasmussen Innovation Award, now in its second year, was awarded to Peter Morse and announced at the closing night of the Sydney Film Festival.

Established by a board of trustees made up of friends and collaborators of the innovative Australian filmmaker Peter Rasmussen who have committed to raise the funds in perpetuity for the purpose of awarding a $5,000 cash prize, the Peter Rasmussen Innovation Award, is given each year at Sydney Film Festival to an Australian whose work in film, machinima or new media embodies a visionary spirit and a relentless determination in the face of obstacles – financial or otherwise – to create high quality works for the screen.The recipient’s work may be described as fringe, maverick, innovative. It may be pushing boundaries in form or mode of production, and may sit outside the usual categories of films shown at the festival.

Peter Morse has over 20 years experience in sophisticated visualisation techniques and content creation.He has in-depth technical skills and production experience in diverse fields such as 3D data visualisation, volumetric rendering, stereoscopic immersive virtual and augmented reality systems and computer programming – as well as video, photographic and film production, audio design and music. He has a wide-ranging creative practice and has exhibited digital media works around Australia and internationally in the USA, Germany, Britain, France, Finland and Holland.

On behalf of The Peter Rasmussen Trustees, Rosemary Blight said “Peter Morse’s work demonstrates an incredibly high level of technical innovation and practice, including leading work in 3D data visualisation. Peter’s works across both sciences and arts opens up ways for compelling narratives to play on all types of screens and in a huge variety of ways. Peter is an exciting artist to be awarded the Peter Rasmussen Fellowship.”

My many thanks to:

Paul Bourke, Director, Western Australian Supercomputer Program

David Jensen and Rob Easther, Mawson’s Huts Foundation

Chris Henderson, Inventor Extraordinaire

Vicki Sowry, Australian Network for Art and Technology

The Australian Antarctic Division Fellowship

and Screen Tasmania

and everyone else who believed in my work – you know who you are.

I am especially grateful to the trustees of the Peter Rasmussen Fellowship and the Sydney Film Festival for their recognition, support and encouragement.

MHF 2009-2010 Visualisation Presentation

March 21, 2010 in antarctica, fulldome, mawson's huts, projects by Peter Morse

A high-speed overview of visualisation activities I undertook during the 2009-2010 Mawson’s Huts Expedition to Cape Denison, Antarctica.

A screen version of the talk presented at the MHF seminar at the Australian Museum, Sydney, 18 March 2010.

MHF 2009-10 Video Blogs

February 1, 2010 in adventures, antarctica, fulldome, mawson's huts, projects, video by Peter Morse

During the 2009-10 Expedition I shot a series of vlogs capturing some of the main events of the season – admixed with some light polar humour. The vlog was commissioned and sponsored by Telstra International and is available on their website as well as via the MHF vimeo channel.

A complete edition is shown here. Durations vary from 4mins to nearly 12 mins as we established that transmission by BGAN was both practical and reasonably cost-effective from the Sørensen Base.

Mawson’s Huts Foundation Expedition 2009-10 – Videoblog Chapter 1 from Mawson’s Huts Foundation on Vimeo.

The journey down, first view of the pack ice and the area around Cape Denison.


Mawson’s Huts Foundation Expedition 2009-10 – Videoblog Chapter 2 from Mawson’s Huts Foundation on Vimeo.

Life begins at Cape Denison, the raising of the wind generator, a visit from the crew of the Sea Shepherd’s “Steve Irwin”, some helicopter based footage of the landscape around Cape Denison, and a trip on the “Steve Irwin”.


Mawson’s Huts Foundation Expedition 2009-10 – Videoblog Chapter 3 from Mawson’s Huts Foundation on Vimeo.

Flying the stereoscopic kit, a look at conservation of metal objects, finding the remains of the air tractor, a blizzard and full dome filming.


Mawson’s Huts Foundation Expedition 2009-10 – Videoblog Chapter 4 from Mawson’s Huts Foundation on Vimeo.

The mysteries of the Hurley Dolly, more full dome and time-lapse filming, life in a polar pyramid tent, a visit by the Orion, a further look at conservation and the air tractor, and a sneak preview!


Mawson’s Huts Foundation Expedition 2009-10 – Videoblog Chapter 5 from Mawson’s Huts Foundation on Vimeo.
Birth of an iceberg, a look at the Magnetograph Hut, excavation of Mawson’s Workshop, exploring Frank Hurley’s darkroom, another mystery about the Air Tractor,
departure preparations, measuring the weather, and a final view.

The Ice Museum

November 5, 2009 in antarctica, data visualisation, fulldome, projects by Peter Morse

a memory of tomorrow
The Ice Museum is a fulldome movie about Antarctica, the oceans that surround it and a point in history when it began to be understood.
Beginning with Mawson’s Huts, it traces their origins during the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), moving across time through their human story to contemporary conservation efforts for their centenary in 2011.
It is also a spatial story: we move across complex data visualisations of the changing climate, the changing world, that trace their origins to these early explorers and scientists.
It is a series of connections that unfold over decades : the end of the Heroic Era; the scientific history; the aesthetics of the Antarctic and contemporary issues of climate change and human intervention in this last great wilderness.
The project has received initial script-development funding from Screen Tasmania and production support from the Mawson’s Huts Foundation – we will be shooting at Cape Denison, Antarctica, this austral summer (December to January, 2009.) An objective is to push genre boundaries – a collision of spectacular visual content in counterpoint with innovation in narrative form.
The Ice Museum will be a 45 minute feature – standard feature length for planetarium/fulldome productions.
It will be shot in stereoscopic/monoscopic 4K and mono 8K (with some 8k stereo research experiments). Monoscopic 4K/3K will be suitable for Australian and other international planetaria.

The Ice Museum (2009)

The Ice Museum is a fulldome movie about Antarctica, the oceans that surround it and a point in history when it began to be understood.

Beginning with Mawson’s Huts, it unfolds a tale from the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), moving across time through their human story to contemporary conservation efforts for their centenary in 2011.

This Ariadne’s thread is also a spatial story: we move across complex data visualisations of the changing climate, the changing world, that trace their origins to the work of these early scientists and explorers.

It is a series of connections that unfold over decades : the end of the Heroic Era; the scientific history and modern understanding; the aesthetics of the Antarctic and contemporary issues of climate change and human intervention in this last great wilderness.

The project has received initial script-development funding from Screen Tasmania and production support from the Mawson’s Huts Foundation. An objective is to push genre boundaries – a collision of spectacular visual content in counterpoint with innovation in narrative form.

The Ice Museum will be a 45 minute feature – standard feature length for planetarium/fulldome productions.

It has been shot in fulldome 4K. Post-production is occurring during 2011, for release in 2012.

Ocean (2009)

October 26, 2009 in art, data visualisation, fulldome, projects, research, science, technology by Peter Morse

Ocean (2009) from Peter Morse on Vimeo.

A visualisation of the global ocean derived from the GEBCO dataset. Rendered at 4k Fulldome resolution.

This is an excerpt from ongoing work – there is so much to do with this and I have only splashed the surface of the data.

The visualisation is set up as a conundrum: what can be 4.5 billion years old, eternally dark and bitterly cold; always seen and never seen?

It’s not outer-space but inner-space – and right here on planet Earth. Of course, this is poetic license, but it gets the point across: we think of geopolitical oceans and cartographic fantasies (the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indian, the Southern..) – yet in reality, there is only one Ocean, mostly unknown to us, yet seen and exploited everyday.

Hopefully, this is a vision of its alien-ness, to help us see again the familiar in a new and insightful way.

The model is derived from current GEBCO data (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) subtracted from WGS’84 – meaning that this is the ocean volume – the sea – the water – the world of sea-life and unimaginable depths. The physical geography of the Earth is intimated by the shape of water; the sea is a world itself.

Depth is exaggerated for visualisation purposes.

Made by Peter Morse (http://www.petermorse.com.au) and Paul Bourke (http://local.wasp.uwa.edu.au/~pbourke/).

Many thanks to:

Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT: http://www.anat.org)

WASP (Western Australian Supercomputer Program : http://www.www.wasp.uwa.edu.au)

IVEC (http://www.ivec.org)

University of Western Australia (http://www.uwa.edu.au)

Australian Antarctic Division (http://www.aad.gov.au/)

GEBCO (http://www.gebco.net)

Benthos: Visualising the Global Ocean

July 20, 2009 in antarctica, benthos, fulldome, projects by Peter Morse

“Benthos” is a project to explore and generate fulldome visualisations of volumetric and multidimensional datasets derived from Australian Antarctic Division, CSIRO and international oceanographic and marine science programmes.

This page details some of the work-in-progress towards those visualisations.

Further detail can be read at:  http://www.petermorse.com.au/projects/benthos/

Enormous amounts of data have been generated during the International Polar Year (IPY) during the extensive international CAML (Census of Antarctic Marine Life) and ongoing marine research activities by the AAD and other marine-science research institutions in Australia and internationally. These include datasets measuring physical features such as ocean currents, temperature gradients, thermo-haline cycles as well as ecological features such as marine biodiversity; benthic and pelagic ecology (deep ocean; continental shelf; shoreline) and so forth. Part of this project involves identification of suitable datasets for volumetric and three-dimensional visualisation.

Volumetric visualisation in a fulldome format explores both aesthetic and empirical features of datasets, creating a fertile intersection of the sciences and arts. Within the field of contemporary media arts little has been done with fulldome data visualisation, however, there is an emergent field of data-arts, which draws upon scientific datasets and explores them in new and insightful ways – the viewer’s immersion in a visualised dataset reveals not only the inherent beauty of normally unseen structures but can also elicit an understanding of complex connections between parameters that may not have been revealed via conventional analytic approaches.

Benthos is supported by a Synapse Art-Science residency via the Australian Network for Art and Technology and the Australia Council for the Arts. It is also generously supported by the Australian Antarctic Division and the Western Australian Supercomputer Program at the University of Western Australia.


Dr Peter Morse, Visualisation Consultant and Media Artist.  www.petermorse.com.au

Paul Bourke, Research Associate Professor at the Western Australian Supercomputer Program (WASP, University of Western Australia)

Dr Martin Riddle, Senior Principal Research Scientist (Programme Leader, Environmental Protection and Change), Australian Antarctic Division.

Dr Steve Nicols, Senior Research Scientist (Program Leader, Southern Ocean Ecosystems), Australian Antarctic Division.

Dr Ben Raymond, Data Mining & Visualisation, Australian Antarctic Division.