- At The Fleet
Aventuras Salvajes En California (2000): Es una expedición virtual que te deslizara desde las montañas junto con snowboarders, girando por los aires de San Diego con skysurfers, nadando los océanos junto con las nutrias, excavando desde treinta metros...
Rolling Stones [IMAX]at the MAXSpecial limited engagement! See the Stones: Bigger and louder than ever before! Shot on location in Turin, Berlin and London, Rolling Stones at the MAX features the band performing during their highly-acclaimed Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle tour. The Stones...
The Discoverers [IMAX]Feel the Courage. Live the Adventure.This film will show as part of Senior Monday on Monday, Dec. 2, only. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Daniel J. Boorstin, this stunning film relives some of mankind's greatest moments of discovery, including Magellan's expedition to find the...
Back for a limited run in December 2013! Encounter the wilds of California as you sky surf over San Diego at 150mph, ride down a 25-foot wave at Maverick’s, snowboard the Sierra’s highest peaks and drop 130 feet into the center of a giant Sequoia! From...
What you can't see is right before your eyes!Mysteries of the Unseen World provides you with an incredible look at things that are normally too slow, too fast, too small or too vast for the human eye to see. The film's innovative use of high-speed and time-lapse photography, electron microscopy and...
Technology Takes OffExplore aerodynamics and flight technology in the Fleet’s newest exhibition, On the Fly: Technology Takes Off. The exhibition features multiple daily performances by small-scale unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), complemented by interactive stations where...
The Instrument That Rocked the WorldStarting December 20th, the Fleet Science Center will ROCK you! The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is cranking science up to 11 this winter with the West Coast premiere of GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World! Experience the guitar through...
Get Your Hands On ScienceOur Main Gallery exhibition combines some of our all-time favorites with exciting interactive exhibits from San Francisco’s Exploratorium. This collection features opportunities to explore mechanics, motion, math, hearing, electricity and many other...
Celebrate the Season at the FleetBalboa Park December Nights is the largest free community festival in San Diego. Come to Balboa Park and celebrate the holidays with lights, food, music and fun. The two-day extravaganza, Balboa Park's holiday gift to San Diego, features international...
A Live Concert Series Celebrating GUITARThe Fleet is ready to ROCK with our first-ever live concert series! Each show will feature: Two performances: an awesome opening act and a rockin' headliner Food for purchase from The French Gourmet Beer, wine and cocktails available at the no-...
An Early Morning Comet ISON CelebrationCOFFEE & COMETS is an early morning celebration for Comet ISON on Tuesday, November 26, at 5:30AM! This event has reached its registration capacity. SIGN UP FOR THE WAITLIST HERE Comet ISON has raised a lot of hope among skywatchers. The comet is...
The First Monday of Each MonthThe first Monday of every month, seniors 65 and better can enjoy the Science Center exhibits, a show in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater and a lecture on the quietest day of the month for only $8! No coupons or additional discounts are accepted. The Fleet'...
The Science of ROCKOur next Science on the Rocks party is Thursday, January 23: The Science of ROCK! Our most recent party was on October 17. Look for pictures on our Science on the Rocks Facebook page soon. Didn't make it? Here's what you missed: Fall in love with...
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Al Columbo Reports on His IMAX Experience, Part II
Part II: Behind the Scenes
I got a crash course in special effects on a tour of the bowels under the theater. John Young, Electronic Audio Visual Producer at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, has proudly worked for the Fleet for more than 30 years. His office is in the basement of the theater, which is a catacomb of offices, studios and work spaces.
Young used to create the sky and space shows back in the day. He showed off one of his special effects: a lava-rock the size of a peanut that had been lightly painted to exaggerate the pits and crevices. The rock was in a shoe-box-sized contraption with two bright light bulbs and a camera lens. The lights projected the rock onto the dome screen, and it looked like a giant asteroid was streaking across the night sky. Young had multiple asteroids and other miniatures that were used in the shows.
Those were the same shows that I remembered seeing when I was a kid. I would sit next to my mom in the theater and hear her “oooos” and “aaaaahs” at the sight of the night sky and constellations and flying objects. Now it felt like kismet for me to be taking the underbelly tour of the Fleet that day. Here I was, sitting across a table from the man who created the special effects that I remember enjoying as a child. It is one of the memories that I cherish.
There are many exhibits at the Fleet and they're each very fascinating, but I knew this window of opportunity to see the IMAX projector under the theater is a rarity. It made me glad that I had gone on the tour alone, so that I could see what I wanted to see.
Speaking of the IMAX projector, it's enormous. So’s the film itself. Each frame is about the size of an iPhone. The spools are like bicycle tires and they sit on an oversized projector. The film runs off one spool more than 10 feet up out of the basement to the light-housing in the actual theater. I could see the graded ceiling above me was the stadium seating floor. The spools spin and the film flies up into the light and comes back down to the spool next to it. I felt like a mouse in a movie projector. It was almost comical.
So like the dome theater, my experience had come full-circle. I remembered what it was like for me to see a spectacular movie as a child with my parent, and I also met the guy who created some of the spectacular shows I saw when I was a kid. I don’t have any children of my own to take to the theater or the museum, but I can still enjoy them nonetheless.