eNews Archive > Winter 2014
Sky Factory eNews - Winter 2014

Much More than a Virtual Aquarium!

eSea™ A Digital Cinema Underwater Experience

Sky Factory proudly introduces eSea, a Digital Cinema Underwater Experience, designed to provide the visually soothing, therapeutic benefits of live aquariums—restoring emotional balance, reducing anxiety, and lowering blood pressure—while submerging the observer in a deeper experience, one that enlivens our innate, genetic-based need to bond with living systems by bringing the illusory depth of the sea and other bodies of water, inside.

Research indicates that restorative environments are defined by a nature connection. Due to its exotic ecosystem, marine life in particular exerts an alluring hold on our collective imagination.

Maintaining a live aquarium is however a challenge for highly regulated indoor environments. With eSea it is possible to experience the therapeutic and healing qualities of nature's motion in controlled spaces. And in order to retain the spontaneity of live organisms in a virtual environment, eSea’s visual content is designed as a captivating illusion.

"There are many regulated environments in healthcare, senior living, and other institutional as well as commercial environments where setting up a live aquarium is both a health hazard and a costly feature to maintain" says Skye Witherspoon, CEO of Sky Factory.

"However, when the installation is part and parcel of the interior envelope, the viewer's perception of the content is dramatically different. It's not like watching television, where the medium is a separate object in the room. With eSea, viewers peer into an underwater landscape that extends into the wall like it does in large-scale aquariums."

"First, we start by capturing the motion of life itself," says Bill Witherspoon, Sky Factory's founder. "It is our experience that nature is always on the move.

"Whether we experience it in the soothing movement of clouds, the fluttering of leaves or the gentle ebb and flow of water, above or below the surface, this movement is called 'Heraclitean motion'-a gentle pattern of movement that is random, but cyclical-always changing, yet remaining peacefully familiar.

Screenshot of eSea shown with anodized aluminum trim"This type of motion is a universal phenomenon and that is why it rekindles our innate, genetic-based need to bond with nature—called biophilia—triggering an automatic “relaxation response” in the physiology," explains the founder.

eSea displays the dynamic beauty of marine life&mdashh;real-time moving images—utilizing a sophisticated RED Digital Cinema™ camera. Capturing horizontally-composed nature footage in UltraHD, eSea delivers a rich sensory experience in long, unedited sequences of underwater life. This high-tech illusion features a wall-mounted professional-grade LED edge-lit High Definition LCD screen embedded in a 16 gauge steel mounting pan and framed as an illusory window.

The 46" eSea creates a dramatic focal point that deepens biophilic engagement at nearly one third the cost of the set up and maintenance of a comparable 90-gallon saltwater aquarium measuring about 4 feet long and 18 inches deep. Unlike a real saltwater fish tank this size, which would weigh over 1,000 pounds, require additional space for a water filtration system, and cost over $17,334 to set up and another $2,700 per year to maintain[1], eSea is an easy plug-and-play system that is basically maintenance-free.

eSea comes with 5 underwater scenes, featuring everything from Deep Sea Nettle Jellyfish to a shimmering Shark Reef, an aqua-blue Amazonian River to a fun underwater nook with Clown Fish and Anemones, all recorded in UltraHD and mastered & played back in high bit rate full HD, rendering it beyond Blu-ray quality.

eSea is built for years of 24/7 operation featuring industrial-strength, premium-grade panels with additional thermal protection, internal temperature sensors with self-diagnostics, and quiet fan-based technology.

This plug-and-play underwater display system features an Integrated Video Playback system and a simple 8-button wall-mounted controller. Every unit has over 16 hours of video capacity allowing clients to purchase new scenes—as they become available—with eSea's simple plug-and-play module.

"eSea was inspired by Sky Factory's core mission to sustain and enrich life," says Radim Schreiber, an award-winning photographer and videographer at Sky Factory. "Coral reefs, and other unique underwater habitats, are disappearing due to unregulated human activity. We hope that by bringing the beauty and amazing creatures that live undersea, we can inspire people to protect these precious environments and realize that the ocean's ecosystems are irreplaceable."

1cost figures taken from an independent analysis by Bloomberg News (8/20/2012)

Notable Installation - Beehive Salon, Fairfield, Iowa

This spring, Amanda Brown opened the Beehive Salon and Spa, Fairfield's first upscale, full service AVEDA salon and Spa. Bringing 16 years of experience in the salon business and having worked previously with the AVEDA brand, Amanda envisioned her new business asLuminous SkyCeiling at the Behive Salon and Spa a welcoming venue for people to relax and enjoy the full line of personal services, as well as learn more about AVEDA.

Customers are greeted by a beautifully decorated waiting area with an elegant display of AVEDA's famous product line as well as a surprising visual element: a 4' X 4' Luminous SkyCeiling. "One of my customers recommended that I try a virtual skylight to open up the reception and I did," says Amanda. "Customers absolutely love it."

The virtual skylight creates a palpable feeling of expansion with a beautiful blue sky that visually conveys AVEDA's mission of "connecting beauty, environment and well-being." The biophilic influence of a realistic simulation of an open sky enhances customers' experience while they await their appointment or consult with Amanda about the best treatment for them.

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