Impact of the Live Presenter


At Sciss we are always excited about the success of our users. Win-win partnerships are a core value of our organization and nothing motivates us more than hearing success stories from our clients – especially when it comes to Live Presentations.

Recently, Steve Johnson, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, praised the Adler Planetarium’s latest show Planet Nine saying it “gets [his] vote as the most compelling [show] yet.”1 Planet Nine is a live presented show, largely built using Uniview, and featuring Michael Brown’s study of the newly discovered objects orbiting the sun beyond Neptune and his Kavli Prize Lecture “Tales from the Outer Solar System.” The ability to share these new discoveries with the public as they are still being analyzed in a way that the general public understands and is captivated by is an incredible way for planetariums to differentiate themselves from the full screen cinema industry and to inspire interest in education and astronomy. As Johnson reported, “it brings viewers tomorrow’s science today.” Using a tool like Uniview to render the show, means the show can keep up to date as new science becomes available.

Image from the Adler Planetarium’s latest show Planet Nine. Photo credit: Adler Planetarium

While Michael Brown’s scientific findings are fascinating, data and scientific discoveries alone aren’t always enough to captivate every member of an audience. We asked Mark Subbarao, Director of Visualization at Adler Planetarium, how they have come to such success with their recent show at Adler. Mark explained that soon after their 2011 renovation of the Sky Theater (now known as the Grainger Sky Theater), they created a Uniview driven realtime show with a live presenter, “Welcome to the Universe.” The visitor reviews of this show were so spectacular that the team at Adler decided to always include live presenters as a part of their shows. Many audience members commented on how much of an impression the live presenter had on their experience at the show. One reviewer, Caitlin Giles on Chicago Now wrote

“This spectacular (yes, spectacular) show transports viewers into distant corners of the universe. This technologically advanced theatre makes you feel like you are flying through space, orbiting the Moon, zooming into a canyon on Mars and then soaring through a cosmic web of galaxies. We love the fact that a real live person narrates the trip.”

Having presented the show live many times, Mark expands; “We want to create an experience for our visitors that is more theater-like than movie-like. A live presenter allows the show to be interactive and evolve. These show elements will only become more important in the future when the planetarium experience will need to differentiate itself from VR.”

The success with live presenter shows is shared by other Uniview users; when speaking with Steve Owens, Planetarium Manager of The Planetarium at Glasgow Science Centre, he describes similar success in their choice to host 85% of their shows with a live presenter (they show a few films to complement their current live shows).

Steve Owens presenting live in Uniview at the Glasgow Science Centre. Photo credit: Andy Buchanan

“The main benefit we have found from our live shows is the ability to react within a very short timescale to topical astronomy news, getting new models developed by the Sciss support team and community and including those in our live shows. That is something you could not do (or could not do cheaply) in a planetarium that has little or no live content.”

The Planetarium at Glasgow Science Centre has seen a huge increase in visitor attendance since their Sciss refit and continues to impress the community with their up-to-date live content.

At Sciss we are delighted with the success of these forward thinking institutions, especially seeing that the concept of live presentation resonates with so many visitors. It also validates our approach to focus on simplifying presentations and to inspire new generations in their pursuit of knowledge through amazing visuals. “What makes this concept so exciting to me, is the possibility to share these complete presentations”, says Johan Sköld, CEO of Sciss. “By distributing these entire presentations on the Uniview store, more planetariums can share their most successful shows. We saw this as we released Neurotours and the recent Kavli lectures have also taken Domecasting to an entirely new level, where multiple planetariums come together and share a single event in real time. It is an exciting time for our clients, with so much new content being made available!”

1Johnson, S. (2016, May 25). "Planet Nine, Adlers best sky show yet, chronicles quest for a Pluto replacement". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from

Uniview users - Join a future Domecast presentation!

On May 5th, 2016 the Adler Planetarium hosted the Kavli Fulldome Lecture: “From the Big Bang to the Multiverse and Beyond” by Michael Turner. With much success the Domecast reached 1,000 people at 11 planetaria across North America. Due to its success, an encore presentation will be held on July 31st at 11am CDT (16:00 UTC, 18:00 CEST).

Contact Mark SubbaRao and Sarah Cole at the Adler Planetarium right away if you are interested in joining this Domecast presentation.