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When I was in high school, the "new" (circa 1975) high school had a planetarium (there was already a 
nice pool at the old high school, which became the middle school). By the time I was there, early 
80's, the sky projector was already subject to being flooded and thus was sometimes limited in 
operation. But we managed to put together a couple of shows every year. The shows were pre-packaged. 
You'd get a kit with a script, slides, a 1/4" tape and sky projector instructions. I handled 
pre-production for a couple of years, converting the script's slide cues into sequences our 
projectors could do and then recording the appropriate tones for our two banks of 3 or 4 projectors 
each onto the two open tracks on the tape (2 and 4, I think the music/VO track was the standard 
quarter-track format of 1 and 3). Then we'd load up the slide trays and overdub to fix any mistakes, 
sometimes we'd run the script live and record the tones in simul-sync mode. The tape machine was a 
Teac A3340S deck, which I got to use with my garage band when it wasn't needed by the planetarium.

Anyway, how is this done today? Banks of digital projectors or wide-firing projectors with split 
screens? Something entirely different? And, how would one convert these old planetarium shows to a 
modern exibition format? I don't recall anything in those shows being scientifically wrong or 
outdated today, except that the space program was still active.

As far as I know, the planetarium fell into disrepair and budget cuts resulted in the space being 
converted to storage with a leaky domed ceiling.

For the curious, the rest of the audio gear in that 1975 planetarium was: Dynaco ST-120 power amp; 
four Advent 1 speakers in the dome (only 2-channel playback, but the stereo effect was quite cool 
with the dome in the mix), a top-loading Advent cassette deck and I seem to recall an external Dolby 
B unit to go with it, also by Advent, and a custom mixing panel that probably cost thousands of 
dollars back then. The room lights were controlled by the sky-projector panel. The way the scripts 
worked, the person running the projector would stop the tape periodically and improvise the 
"teaching moments" while running the projector. Then there would be interludes with tape-based audio 
and slides, and sometimes the tape audio would accompany actions by the sky projector. We also 
sometimes spliced parts of different shows together to accomplish different goals of the teacher.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 1:39 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] archiving slide-tape shows (was voca-film technology)


From: John Schroth <[log in to unmask]>

> I majored in Multi-image slide presentation at RIT over 25 years ago.
> They had a core-curriculum in Multi-Image slide production, the only one
> like it in country at the time.

Wow!  In this thread we have really hit on a nearly forgotten format for
archiving, and your info and expertise is valuable.  Is Eastman House
doing anything on this?  I think this topic is worthy of an ARSC
Conference presentation -- not sure if the Moving Image organizations
are interested in these non-moving image presentations.  I remember the
ones I've seen being very impressive -- but every time a movie was
inserted, the combination of the noticeably lower resolution and the
disruption of looking at lengthy-held still images reduced the effect.
These programs could be reproduced with the superior HDTV projection now
available, using multiple projectors and screens of course.  There
should be an effort to do it NOW while we still have people like you
that remember the equipment and programming so it can be converted to
computer controlling.

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]