Choose a language to see what shows are available:
Shows created by Loch Ness Productions come with English language soundtracks standard. Translated soundtracks are provided as additional items, not substitutes for the English ones. If your show's movies contain multiplexed audio, you will receive separate movie files for each language. You can find prices for the additional versions on each show's "Prices" pages above.
For shows we distribute from other producers, prices vary depending on the languages and producers involved. It's also possible that translations may exist for shows not listed above. The producers may have not provided them to us yet, but we can get them. So, contact us to find out!
If you don't see a translation for the show you want, please read on to learn how we create translations...
Can we get shows translated into our language?
SHORT ANSWER: "Anything is possible, given the right amount of time, money and people." Please contact us.
LONGER ANSWER: While translation projects can vary in scope, our standard procedure is this:
Our translation creation process...
• The script needs to be translated, and the translation reviewed for scientific accuracy. Because the visual timing is already fixed, the durations of the translated paragraphs need to match their English counterparts closely.
• One or more professional narrators need to be selected and recorded. The resulting narrations need to be edited and timed into a narration master.
It's possible much of the work involved in these first two steps can be handled by you.
• The resulting narration master needs to be mixed into our existing music/sound effects tracks.
• For most movies, the new language soundtrack needs to be combined with the newly rendered video.
• Optionally, the text elements in the show (titles, credits, star identifications, labels, etc.) should be translated as well, created as graphics, and used as replacement elements for their English-language counterparts in our video compositing program. Then those scenes involving translated text need to be rendered as dome masters, and new fulldome movies rendered.
For the last 3 items, working with our studio is the only option.
This is all eminently do-able. But it is a considerable amount of work. The people doing the work, as well as the facilities where the work is done, should rightly be compensated for their efforts. See the SHORT ANSWER, and please contact us.
Can't you provide me with a narrationless soundtrack? I can translate the script and record a narration myself.
We have tried this method in the past, and the results were not always satisfactory. To ensure quality and accuracy, most producers prefer that we follow the process highlighted above.
Theoretically, for a show with only one narration or character (and Loch Ness Productions has only three of those), a multi-talented individual might be able to translate our show's script, vouch for its authenticity, record him/herself reading it, and provide us with the edited and timed narration track. We prefer to do the audio mixing ourselves, to ensure the quality of our show's sound and style are maintained. In other words, the client could provide the first two items on the list above; we would like to do the rest.
With most translation projects such as these, for shows we have created, we usually do not charge a fee for our studio services. For shows we distribute from other producers, we will need to coordinate with them to determine a price. Please contact us.
Can't you provide me with surround audio stems and leave the center channel blank? That's where all the narration is, right?
We know that other producers sometimes take the "easy way out" by using the method you describe. We have tried this method in the past, and the results were not always satisfactory. To ensure quality and accuracy, most producers prefer that we follow the process highlighted above.
When creating surround soundtracks, producers usually have voices (dialog, often) spread across multiple channels, not confined to one channel. If a character moves from left to right onscreen, the audio needs to follow. And of course, music and effects tracks often need to utilize the center channel for positioning; it cannot be reserved only for narrations.
In other words, your method might be the "easy way" to handle multi-language soundtracks. But we and other producers prefer to do what's right, not simply what's easy. It requires a goodly amount of extra work to do things right.
Work does not frighten us. Please continue.
All right. First, the work and associated costs outlined above are in addition to any show's license fees and video movie file costs. So you will need to order the show first. This will get you the English language script you will need for translating, of course, as well as a show you can present to English-speaking audiences if you wish. You will use the English soundtrack as a timing reference for editing your translated narration text.
Assuming that funds for all the production work outlined above are available, we will then work out many other details with you to create the newly-translated show. If you pay for the translation and narration work, we will provide you with the specifications for the audio tracks we will need. And if we are going to pay to do the work, we will provide you with a price quote for our services. (You can expect it to be several thousand U.S. dollars per show.)
Once the production work is finished, that should be the end of the process. The commissioning institution — you, the customer — will have the show in your language to present to your audiences. You will be happy, we will be happy, everyone will have been paid for their work to create the show in your language.
But, what if there are other theaters in my country that want to get the show?
We expected you would ask about that. It has been our experience that after the translated show is created for one theater, the commissioning institution usually wants to try to recoup some of its production costs by selling or distributing the show to others. This brings up other important issues, and we want you to be aware of them.
First, the show producers maintain and own the copyrights on all derivatives of their original works — which includes translated scripts and soundtracks. That means any translated versions of shows will become the producer's property, regardless of who pays for the creation of them. No other party can claim any form of exclusivity or proprietary privileges regarding such licensing and usage of the shows in any language.
Of course, once a show is translated and produced, we will all look forward to having a product that can be licensed for use in as many theaters as possible. We want to help there too. For our part, Loch Ness Productions will often include mention on our Web pages of the new soundtracks, and usually acknowledge your commissioning institution's part in creating them. We may offer a royalty payment, based on a percentage of revenues we collect from sales of the newly translated show. We can discuss such an arrangement with you in more detail at the appropriate time.
There are other steps that must be taken. The translator and narrator(s) will need to provide releases, stating that their work was "for hire" and relinquishing all other rights regarding ownership, usage, and distribution of their work to us. In addition, most producers want to verify the accuracy of the script translation before it is recorded. All these concerns need to be addressed at the appropriate times in the production process, usually through letters of agreement exchanged between us and you.
Have you actually gone through this production process with others?
Yes. For example, some of our shows have been translated into Korean. In one instance, we worked directly with a representative of Sky-Skan, who conferred with us over points of the script he translated. Then he oversaw the recording of the narration on location in Korea, edited the tracks there, and brought the final narration master to us to incorporate. We worked with him in our studios to add the narration into our show's multi-channel original tracks, and remixed the final soundtrack. That was then multiplexed into the fulldome video.
For another project, a translated script was provided to us, and we contacted an astronomer who spoke the language. He reviewed it for accuracy and sent his feedback to us. We then forwarded those comments to the original translator for incorporation into the final script.
Loch Ness Productions shows are so utterly American.
My country is on the equator/in the Southern Hemisphere. What can I do? [Permalink]
With roughly as many dome theaters in the United States as there are in the rest of the world's countries combined, and our company located in the U.S., naturally that is the primary market for our shows. Significantly changing demographics in the future may affect the strategy we pursue in the creation of shows for non-U.S. markets.
Some of our shows are just inherently American from their subject matter; the "Western" setting and styling of The Cowboy Astronomer is a good example. Obviously, Season of Light is a Christmas show — Santa Claus, December, snow. Its opening words are "In the north country, this is a time of darkness and quiet and cold." — conditions of lessened relevance below the Tropic of Cancer.
We spend a lot of time in Sky Quest with the Northern Hemisphere night sky, repeating the Big Dipper-based mnemonic "Arc to Arcturus, Spike to Spica, Leap to Leo...", and following Orion's belt stars down to Sirius — the object of our heroine's sky quest. That is the primary focus of the show. And yes, our character's NASA hat and USA flag on her USA-emblazoned cardboard rocket tend to look "American" — after all, the show was commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum's Albert Einstein Planetarium in Washington, D.C.
In all our shows, even Larry Cat In Space, most skies are depicted from 40° North latitude. Our generic starfield is a south-facing autumn sky (primarily because there are few obviously bright stars in the viewing area's sweet spot to interfere with other visuals). But you do see the Pleiades in the east and the Summer Triangle in the west. These will be upside down to anyone used to seeing the sky from below the equator. However, in our other shows, the starfield orientation may be more of a passing detail than a critical story component.
Oceans In Space points out the locations of some of the first extrasolar planets discovered... which are in primarily northern hemisphere constellations (Ursa Major, Bootes, Pegasus, Virgo).
Both HUBBLE Vision and Oceans In Space point out Orion in a northern-skies orientation, and pull out the Nebula from his Sword. The other constellation identifications in HUBBLE Vision are illustrated from the equator, so they could work for any latitude.
Remember — you can always commission us to create new custom shows specifically for you! Please contact us.
Anything else I should know?
Only three Loch Ness Productions shows have single narrators; the others require more than one narrator or have other special issues when it comes to translation. For example, Larry Cat In Space uses eleven different character voices, with studio effects applied — reverb, radio filtering, off-mic presence, etc. Sky Quest requires three adults (two female, one male) and a young girl.
Unlike most of our other fulldome shows, Seasonal STARGAZING was created with English text appearing onscreen throughout the shows. So it's not just a matter of translating the script and substituting a new soundtrack with our existing video (unless you don't mind showing English names onscreen with other languages playing out the speakers). Each label for every constellation, star name, and deep-sky object would need to be recreated and substituted in your language where the English text appears. We have to do that work using our video compositing program. In addition, the timing of all the onscreen animations (the words appearing and fading out, the circling of stars, etc.) needs to align precisely with the script. For example, one can't spell out the name of a star onscreen at the start of a sentence if the actual name isn't heard until the end of the sentence; they should be seen and heard simultaneously. It is a virtual certainty that a translated text will not match precisely with the original animations that were timed for the English language soundtrack. Therefore, we would have to re-time, re-program, and re-render every version of every show. This is all eminently do-able. But it is a major amount of work.
Naturally, if we use your narration instead of ours, the end credits should be re-rendered, to properly acknowledge the talent involved. And yes, we require end credits to be shown (see our standard Performance License Agreement).
You have given us a lot to think about.
Please contact us if you have more questions.