Aurora: Lights of Wonder

A movie bound to make polar light addicts.

These are not the usual time-lapse images but high resolution video at 30 fps taken by specialmulti cameras with low light sensors. The audiences will experience sophisticated and still dynamic featuresof the real Aurora storm. Also, scientific explanations and beautiful art works about the legend of the aurora arefeatured throughout the movie.


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Duration 29 min
Target audience General public
Technology Fulldome video of 3D and 2D computer animated graphics
Orientation Unidirectional
Production/year Metaspace, Seoul, 2016
Languages English, ask for other languages
Awards JANUS Astro Award - 11th FullDome Festival, Jena 2017

2017 FullDome Festival Show Review

A movie bound to make polar light addicts.

Kwon O Chul puts them onto the dome for us – authentically, in real time, emotively – und stirs up our desire to experience them in nature. The film answers many questions. What thoughts may these heavenly dancers have provoked in people generations before now? What actually causes them and their display of colors? Where on Earth could one watch them best?»Aurora – Lights of Wonder« is a convincing documentation with many outreaches into the genre of scientific edutainment. Done in an exceedingly professional manner, it is a fulldome experience that engraves itself on one’s memory. It is not by mere chance that auroras have become a subject of current interest that is capturing planetarium domes: camera technology is at last capable of recording those filigree light curtains in digital form.

The Film is informally divided into chapters, which are linked by a professional narrator with a pleasant, sonorous voice. The impressive movie records of northern lights were shot at Yellowknife, Canada. Seldom does a documentary fulldome film emanate as much emotionality.

The film excellently visualizes the phenomenon of polar lights and enlightens us about their nature. Despite a few graphic shortcomings, every visitor of age ten or over will grasp the essential patterns of their formation and appearance, and will take home a considerable gain in understanding.

»Aurora« has been produced explicitly for dome projection and with masterly consideration of its critical aspects. While oriented to a main viewing direction, the script does not fail to integrate the entire dome and to surprise viewers with action behind their backs. The film’s special esthetic appeal and authenticity is largely due to the nature shots with illuminated tepees, supported by the original sounds of heavy footsteps in the snow, barking dogs, and the cheers from the people enjoying the celestial spectacle. No doubt, the movie culminates in the bright, crown-shaped lights of an auroral substorm, captured in unrivalled shots that ought to fascinate every viewer.

The polar light shots are based on a specially developed multi-camera technology, which for the first time permitted recording in real time and 4k. Perfect stitching and postproduction to diminish noise, enhance color saturation and deblur the images certainly constituted an enormous challenge. That the postproduction left visible traces casts the only cloud on the film, as seen by the reviewer. What, on the one hand, is absolutely necessary to lend beauty and special attraction to this movie takes away some of its magic, on the other.

The musical background, with motifs in the style of classical film soundtracks, is well chosen: Restrained in explanatory scenes, sensitive and pleasing in the nature shots, distinctive but unobtrusive throughout – a harmonic whole.

»Aurora – Lights of Wonder« ought to be shown in every planetarium, and as soon as possible at that, not only because of its popular science content but even more because of its spellbinding imagery.

Volkmar Schorcht, Jena

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