About this project
A Story Told Through Science, Dance, and Film
Song of the Stars is a cross-disciplinary production engaging astrophysicists, dancers, and filmmakers to create a ground-breaking performance designed to humanize science, awaken curiosity, and intimately connect audiences to the wonders of the universe.
Led by Seven Dance Company under the artistic direction of Cassia Cramer, the live premiere, scheduled for April 21, 2016 at the Capitol Theater in Columbus, Ohio, will be filmed and edited for national distribution.
Following the live performance, individual dance segments will be recorded using specialized 360-degree cameras for a unique immersive experience in planetariums worldwide, and for use in personal virtual reality (VR) headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The live performance is separately funded and already a go! We are asking for your support to make both the feature and 360 films a reality.
The Live Performance
Our universe is filled with unexpected drama, but these stories are often hidden behind layers of complex maths and scientific jargon, rarely exposed to the general public in an accessible way.
Song of the Stars is a revolutionary fusion of scientific outreach and artistic expression–the tale of the life of a star told through breathtaking, professional modern dance pieces. The foremost goal of Song of the Stars is to create a world-class, compelling dance performance while retaining the heart of the scientific concepts.
To guide the audience at the live performance, each dance episode will be interwoven with a brief narrative written and performed by astrophysicist Paul Sutter. This narrative will be incorporated into associated classroom activities and educational guides.
To extend the impact and audience reach of the production–as well as explore new artistic possibilities–the live premiere will be filmed for distribution into homes, classrooms, and museum theaters.
What's more, capturing key elements of the performance in 360-degrees opens exciting new possibilities. Each member of a planetarium or VR audience will be surrounded on all sides by dancers and movement–fully engaged in the performance, heightening the intimacy and connection to the story.
How will your financial support be applied?
We are asking for your support to fund the filming of the live performance by a seasoned, 5-person camera crew, and the subsequent editing of this feature length film (~45 minutes) into a high-quality, professional production. What's more, we will shoot, edit, and produce a special version of the performance for planetariums and virtual reality (VR) headsets.
Both of these require time, resources, and highly skilled individuals. We are honored to be to be working with some of the industry's finest who are providing a considerable amount of time and resources at reduced fees in order to bring this production to life.
Partners & Key Personnel
Song of the Stars draws on a broad talent pool. The performance is led by Columbus-based 501(c)(3) Seven Dance Company with story ideas and narration by astrophysicist Paul Sutter. The OSU Departments of Physics, Astronomy, Theatre, School of Communication, and The STEAM Factory are supporting and promoting this production. Ohio University-Lancaster student interns are assisting in marketing.
Film production is led by Over the Sun Productions and filmmaker Kai Staats, whose work with LIGO, the gravitational wave detector, was featured in February of this year with the National Science Foundation's announcement of the first detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes. Infinite Impact Studios will provide the 360 degree film production. Planetarium Fulldome production will be provided by Ty Owen, COSI.
Tax Deductible Donations
Seven Dance Company is a 501(c)(3). Your contribution to this campaign, less the value of your reward, should be tax deductible. Please verify with your tax consultant.
Risks and challenges
In the production of any film, there are many moving parts--camera batteries die, memory sticks go bad, and critical movement escapes the camera shutter.
Producer Kai Staats and Directory of Photography Leonardo Buono share a combined experience of more than 30 years in filmmaking, having shot in adverse conditions in more than 25 countries combined. They have assembled a small, capable crew that understands the challenges of filming a live performance.
To reduce the risks, the following have been taken into consideration and/or will be put in motion:
Concerning the feature film:
- principal footage will be shot during the dress rehearsal, with opportunities for multiple takes and brighter lighting
- additional footage and audience reaction will be captured during the live performance
- all footage will be archived in triplicate (2 locations) immediately following the rehearsal and live performance
Concerning the 360 degree (VR) film:
- a relatively new medium, but we are working with experts in both VR (www.8impact.com) and planetarium productions (www.COSI.org/Planetarium)
- we will conduct a test shoot on-location in order to work out any technical issues and understand the limits of the 360 rig
- the film will be shot 2-3 weeks after the live performance in a controlled environment in which the same dance piece may be recorded over and over again, to get it just right
Concerning the dance:
- work on this production has been on-going since mid 2015
- multiple rehearsals are already filmed
- if a dancer is not able to attend, backups are on call
- a copy of the script is stored in multiple, digital locations
What's more, we have a professional lighting designer on-staff, the full technical support of the theatre personnel, and that of The Ohio State University Theatre Department for cameras, tripods, cables, --anything we need.
We are confident in our ability to produce a VERY high quality production.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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