Plymouth’s new £7.6m tech hub and video dome is to host a global conference on the latest immersive technology including screening of new movies from around the world and linking with other festivals in Germany, Australia and USA.

The immersive dome, at Devonport’s Grade II listed Victorian Market Hall, will be the base for Fulldome UK, a three-day expo on the latest tech developments, staged this autumn.

The event will see the best short movies, feature films, interactive artworks and live performance, from producers worldwide, screened on the jaw-dropping 15m diameter, 210 degrees over the top dome, which has just been opened to the public.

And while Fulldome UK takes place from October 8 to 10 it will link with three other Fulldome Festivals taking place at the same time in Los Angeles, USA; Melbourne, Australia, and Jena, Germany.

It means Fulldome UK will be a hybrid event “extending beyond the physical events taking place in Plymouth” to become a global showcase.

It will also feature an Oscars-style contest to find the best feature length, short and student movies made for domed screens by producers worldwide.

Lindsey Hall, chief executive of Real Ideas Organisation, the community interest company behind the stunning transformation of the Market Hall, said: “This will be the UK’s festival of dome content and will be taking place at the same time as events in LA, Melbourne and Germany. We will be talking to each other and seeing content from around the world.”

She said the idea had been to bring delegates to Plymouth from all over the planet, but the Covid situation is likely to prevent that, but she stressed: “People will be attending virtually.”

The Fulldome festival will feature a special screening and awards programme entitled #BestofEarth and producers from around the world have been invited to send in content.

The awards ceremony for the best movies will be streamed live around the world after winners are picked by an international jury of experts.

Categories include best full-length feature, more than 20 minutes long; best short film, up to 20 minutes in length; and student film, up to five minutes running time.

The Co-Op of International Fulldome Festivals, which is running the #BestOfEarth contest, is also organising panel discussions about immersive media, and the art and business of fulldome and wants artists, technicians, innovators and “360-degree visionaries” to be involved.

The Co-op of International Fulldome Festivals was set up to benefit fulldome immersive media in general, fulldome artists in particular, educational institutions, planetariums, science and art, businesses, and general interest.

The festival partners – Plymouth’s Fulldome UK, Jena’s FullDome Festival, LA’s Dome Fest West and Melbourne’s Dome Under Festival – recognize that combining their efforts maximizes the outreach to audiences worldwide and promotes the fulldome medium in a way that could not be achieved by a single festival on its own.



Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.

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Plymouth’s immersive dome was created in an extension to the Victorian Market Hall, originally built as a fruit and veg market in 1852, but transformed by Real Ideas into a tech business and education hub.

It now encases the immersive dome, which needs just two projectors to cover the full surface of the dome and create a seamless shared virtual reality experience without the need for a headset. The bespoke sound system boasts 19 channels of audio.

The dome was designed by Gaianova and built/constructed by Alchemy International (formerly known as WNY). The only other like it in the world can be found at SAT in Montreal, Canada. Architecture firm Le Page, was responsible for the historic building refurb and the new extension, which contains the dome.

But the Market Hall project is more far reaching than education and entertainment, providing work and collaboration space for tech firms, from start-ups to multinational companies, and educational institutions such as the University of Plymouth and Plymouth College of Art.

For six years Real Ideas, which is also responsible for the rejuvenation of the nearby Devonport Guildhall and also runs Ocean Studios in the Grade I listed Royal William Yard, has been completely re-imagining and transforming the formerly disused building as the new, globally significant dedicated centre for the rapidly-emerging immersive sector.





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