Narrated by Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones, Fortitude), Birth of Planet Earth looks at the very beginning of our planet and the unique requirements that enabled life to evolve. The new documentary helps us to develop a better understanding of the history of our very own existence on this pale blue dot we call home.
According to Director Tom Lucas, "Birth of Planet Earth allows us to successfully fuse high-end animation techniques from the team at Spitz Creative Media with supercomputer-produced scientific visualizations from the AVL".
Dr. Donna Cox, Director of NCSA's Advanced Visualization Lab and professor in the School of Art and Design at Illinois, is a pioneer in the use of scientific data as a storytelling tool for television, fulldome, and IMAX documentaries. In 2017, Dr. Cox was honoured for lifetime achievement by IMERSA, the fulldome visualization society. Under the CADENS - Centrality of Advanced Digitally ENabled Science - grant from the National Science Foundation, Donna Cox's team aims to increase digital literacy and inform the general public about computational and data-enabled scientific discovery. Donna Cox and her team worked with leading researchers to produce many of the scientific numerical visualizations seen in Birth of Planet Earth.
"In one scene of Birth of Planet Earth", stated Dr. Cox, "AVL worked with a team of University of Illinois biophysicists, led by the late Dr. Klaus Schulten, to show a numerical model of photosynthesis and how early-Earth bacteria harvests energy from the Sun. This model uses supercomputers to calculate the complex atomic processes that enabled life on planet Earth to evolve and spread." The documentary, which is dedicated in Klaus Schulten's memory, premiered in his birth country of Germany.
The show portrays the rise of photosynthesis as part of a broader effort to present current theories about how events in the solar system positioned Earth for being a home to life. In another scene brought to vivid life by AVL, Earth collides with a neighboring proto-planet, Theia, resulting in the formation of our Moon. According to Donna Cox: "Dr. Robin Canup of the Southwest Research Institute computed the astrophysics for the formation of the earth-moon system. Her numerical model, informed by moon rock analysis and physics, generates numbers that describe the physical dynamism of the collision that formed the moon."
Birth of Planet Earth is an engaging show for audiences of all ages that complements the extensive, award-winning fulldome library available from Spitz Creative Media. Recommended for grades five and up, the film will be accompanied by teacher guides and STEM curriculum resources that encourage student engagement on concepts set forth in Birth of Planet Earth. These materials are being prepared by the staff of the Smithsonian-affiliated Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.
In addition to Berlin, Birth of Planet Earth has been booked in a number of planetariums and science centres throughout North America and in Europe. Additional foreign language soundtracks are currently in production. Birth of Planet Earth is now available for booking in 4K dome master format, with an 8K dome version and extended 4K television version available later this year.