The cosmos is the biggest, and perhaps last, unknown frontier. Throughout history, the mysteries of space have stirred passions, both scientific and spiritual. Modern planetariums, where images of space are projected to envelop the viewer, provide participants with a sense of space that is akin to that felt by travelling astronauts. Inspire and awe your friends and family with the wonders of space at home, by making your room into a planetarium with a digital projector.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Digital slides or video
- Presentation or video-playing software
- Digital projector with enhanced lens
- Video or projector cable
- Heat-resistant mat
Download stock slides or video of space from stock photography and film websites. If using slides, assemble them into a slide presentation set to auto play, using a computer presentation software application such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe Flash or Apple Keynote. Set the slides to show for at least one minute each to ensure that viewers have enough time to take in the imagery.
Equip the projector with a lens that will allow you to project a larger image. This could be a wide angle, panamorph or telephoto lens.
Place the projector on the floor in a far corner of the room. Aim it up toward the ceiling as much as possible. Place a heat-resistant mat under the projector, as the high-heat lamp has fire risks, especially if the floor is carpeted.
Connect the projector to a computer, using a projector or video cable. Plug the video-out end into the compatible port on the computer. Insert the other end into the video-in port on the projector.
Fill the middle of the room with big pillows. This provides viewers a place to lay back and watch.
Turn on the projector and turn off the lights. Set the slide show or video to full screen and press play. A wide variety of software applications are available for playing a video, including WinDVD, Adobe Media Player and Apple QuickTime Player.
Tips and warnings
- If room painting is possible, projections look most luminous when projected on a wall painted with a special, reflective silver screen paint. It is also possible to tack sheets of stretched vinyl or projector screen fabric in the corners of the room to help give the space a more rounded effect.
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