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Join the Muggle Mania!

Posted by on July 29, 2011


The epic finale of the Harry Potter film series began when thousands of moviegoers across the country stood in line (some for hours) to experience Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.If you are anything like the devoted ‘Muggles’ who watched the critically acclaimed flick dressed in favorite Potter garb, I hope you were as pleased as I was when the end credits came onto the screen.


The movie picked up from where it left off with Voldemort in possession of the elder wand and Harry, Ron and Hermione at Shell Cottage.Part 2 flowed through the exciting Gringotts Bank break-in, the Hogwarts battle, the final fight between Harry and the Dark Lord, and the heart warming epilogue that left me fully satisfied (and a little sad that it was over).


I would consider the final movie the BEST of the eight films.Favorite and beloved chapters were met, with an incredible amount of emotion from the actors in the film.The epic battle scenes were fast-paced, thrilling and kept you on the edge of your seat for a good part of the movie.Director David Yates even found the perfect moments to add humor; the entire audience couldn’t help but laugh.Every moment from start to finish is filled with adventure and even some surprises that are a must-see!The final film will have you laughing, crying and wanting to break out a wand for some wizard fighting of your own.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is without a doubt ─ the movie of the summer the whole family will enjoy.I experienced all the action on a 6-story screen in IMAX® 3D, which made the movie all the more spectacular.I don’t think any movie like this phenomenon will ever come close to being as unforgettable.


Show Your Potter Pride

On Saturdays, attend the first showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 An IMAX 3D Experience at Whitaker Center, dressed as your favorite character from the movie series and you’ll be entered to win a Harry Potter Prize Pack!


For showtimes visit:http://www.whitakercenter.org/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows---part-2


Jill Wolfe, Marketing Volunteer
Public Relations Major at Slippery Rock University


Book A First Class Flight in IMAX 3D

Posted by on March 15, 2011

Ever wonder what it would be like to glide across the sky from a bird’s point of view? Well now you can, through Whitaker Center’s latest IMAX® flick, Legends of Flight 3D -- A New Generation.

Legends of FlightThe IMAX documentary takes moviegoers through the process of constructing the Boeing 787 Dreamliner commercial airliner. The main challenge at hand, for these crafty engineers, was to produce a more energy efficient and longer lasting airplane. Keeping this in mind, they wanted to model its beauty and grace after the most aerodynamic creatures on the planet -- the birds and the bees (with no reference to that familiar tale). Glimpses of a bird’s view soaring in the air over gorgeous landscapes were captured, making for what I found to be the most enjoyable parts of the movie.

Having never seen a 3D film before, let alone in IMAX, I was easily impressed by all the effects. I’m sure I was not the only audience member squirming in my seat, while trying to escape whipping propellers. It was especially neat how the filmmakers spiced up the appearance of the plane’s blueprints. These 3D drawings displayed the breakdown of the plane inside and out ─ with vibrantly colored lines to portray the carbon fibers. The array of colors entangled on the six-story screen was mesmerizing!

In relation to the new science gallery, Move It!, Legends of Flight clearly illustrates the importance of engineering; each step is just as important as the next. So if anyone needs a vacation without the stress of flying, I recommend booking your flight in IMAX 3D at Whitaker Center!

More to come,


Posted by Mike Rathfon on March 2, 2011


On the wake of the Academy Awards, Hollywood’s biggest night, I find it very exhilarating that some of this year’s most acclaimed films were shot with cameras that I happen to own and are sitting in my office. No, I did not just win the Powerball or shell out a cool $75,000 on a Panavision camera that you might see on most Hollywood sets, but rather, I went out and purchased one in a series of new digital SLRs that Canon has put out.

Now for those that are not photo savvy, single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras are those that you see amateur and professional photographers use at weddings, sporting events, or photo-shoots.

Canon released a series of digital SLRs, starting in 2008, that not only take photos, but also record HD video. Why is this any different than shooting with a regular consumer brand HD camera? The image sensor size in digital SLRs is significantly larger than most regular HD cameras. This means that the camera can take in more information resulting in greater control of the subject matter that you are recording. Coupled with fast lenses you can shoot in low light situations and it doesn’t have to look grainy.

The other big difference is the ability to control the depth of field. This is a game changer for most as it literally gives a cinematic film look if done correctly. Trust me, as a director, this is the biggest selling point for many of our clients. We can give them a cinematic look for their project and they don’t have to bring in a huge crew or pay thousands of dollars for expensive gear and lighting.

127 HoursCanon has a number of HDSLR cameras that range in price from about $700 to as high $5,000 depending on sensor size and certain functionalities. The sticking point for most people is that the cost is usually for the camera body alone, and you will need to go out and buy or rent lenses to fit your needs. Lenses can range from $100 to $10,000 depending on the type, and you will most likely need a few different lenses.

Now having said that, a creative filmmaker can go and shoot a film with the Canon T2i ($700) and a kit lens that comes with the camera body and still have a product that surpasses most HD consumer brand cameras. It just takes a little practice and some know-how.

Put your footage together in any easy to use editing system and upload it to an online video community like YouTube or Vimeo, and who knows, Hollywood could be knocking at your door.

Don’t believe me? I’m sure the directors of the Oscar nominated films, Black Swan, and 127 Minutes who both used the Canon 5D and 7D to shoot some scenes, will tell you otherwise.

Sovanna Mam

GK Visual

Sovanna Mam


Posted by on February 23, 2011


Is that what the Rockville Bridge sounded like when it was constructed in 1900?

Move It at Whitaker CenterIf you visit Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, you can find out for yourself when you build a sturdy bridge resembling the longest stone masonry arch railroad bridge in the world located just above Harrisburg. When I say sturdy, I mean you can actually walk over your creation!

Along with “Build It” you can also “Fly It”, “Crank It”, “Find It”, “Cut It”, and “Spin It” at Whitaker Center’s newest exhibit Move It!

I went to Whitaker Center to see the exhibit myself and boy was I in for a shock.  After learning how to build a bridge, I moseyed my way over to “Crank It” where I arranged foam gears on a wall and turned a crank to make the gears spin and set off bells and whistles.  It was a lot of fun but even I admit it’s harder than it looks.  Well, unless you’re ten-years-old apparently.

Interested in aviation?  Other than going to Harrisburg International Airport (HIA)  to satisfy your aviation needs, you could also “Fly It” at Whitaker Center.  Build your own paper airplane and launch it using this mechanical device.  It’s the one time where you can make the ultimate paper airplane and have it actually fly without getting sent to the principal’s office!  I know many of you are secretly excited to do this…

Stay tuned for my other experiences or visit Whitaker Center to find out for yourself!

Angela Deon
Social Media & Marketing Intern
Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB)
Angela from Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau


Become A Mini Manufacturer

Posted by on February 11, 2011

Become a Mini Manufacturer and Engineer for the Day!

I recently had the fun opportunity to preview the Center’s newest long-term science gallery, Move It! The concepts are cool, rewarding, interactive and fun!

Somehow my paper airplanes always end up resembling a towering Chinese take-out box. This thought instantly attracted me to the Fly It exhibit inside Move It! Visitors learn how to make a variety of paper airplanes … the right way. To test yours and your plane’s ability, this exhibit also offers flying assistance in the form of a reel; launching the plane up and out. Very cool! 

I think a lot of kids will preoccupy themselves at Race It. This competitive display allows you to choose from a variety of car body types and parts. Piece them together in a few simple steps and race the dueling cars down a ramp! Check out some footage of us testing the course below (Luckily there wasn't a crash and our camera survived the test):

For quick and interactive fun, try the Fun Factory. Test your talent at the assembly line method of bead manufacturing. Sort the beads by color, shovel them into the bin and watch them travel up the conveyor belt. Run around the corner, spin the drop wheel to release the beads, and head to the next wheel to dispense the beads back out. It’s simple, but I think kids will get a kick out of it.

The outskirts of Move It! highlight our regional Pennsylvania manufacturers. It probably never occurs to us when we are eating Snyder’s pretzels that they came from the factory found right in Hanover. Next on my agenda: celebrate Herr’s Foods, Inc. with a bag of their chips!

More to come,

Jamie is a Junior Communications major at Elizabethtown College.

2010 Year In Review - Film

Posted by on January 25, 2011

On the heels of the announcement of the Oscar nominations, we thought we’d release the film version of our 2010 Year In Review blog.

In 2010, the highest attended movie was Titanica, followed VERY closely by Hubble 3D. On the ‘Hollywood Blockbuster’ side, A Christmas Carol was our best IMAX blockbuster, but since that spanned 2009-2010, Alice in Wonderland took the prize for best IMAX Hollywood film at Whitaker Center.  

Alexis Dow Campbell

Director of Creative Programming, The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, and Patriot-News writer
I loved Inception - I love a story that kind of folds in on itself, and Inception certainly does that. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt has really grown up since "Third Rock from the Sun."

Susan Ewing
Social Media Manager, Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
The Social Network
This film is fresh, well shot, fast paced, and keeps the audience’s attention from start to finish. I especially enjoyed some of the hard-hitting, cut-throat deposition scenes that left the audience daydreaming about what it would be like to respond to their adversaries in the same bold manner. 

Nicole Newkam
Public Relations Manager, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
Toy Story 3
A memorable family film that completely lives up to its prequels, if not tops them. The new characters are a hoot and the sweet storyline is not just for kids. Leave it to Pixar to deliver, yet another fantastic flick.

True GritBecky Weaver
Writer, PennLive.com
This is a hard one, but perhaps I’ll go with the ONLY one I actually saw in the theatre during the entire calendar year. And that would be Tangled. Hubby and I took our daughter to see her first movie in the theatre a few weeks back, and I absolutely loved it! (She did, too.) Maximus, the horse, made the whole movie! Go check it out, if you haven’t already!

Mike Rathfon
Advertising & E-Marketing Manager, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
True Grit
A well acted, shot, written, edited Western starring some of my favorite actors, and directed by my favorite set of director-brothers.

Jane Suter
Writer, Central Penn Parent
The King’s Speech
If you haven’t seen it, rent it. … you’re welcome.

Nate Kresge & Sovanna Mam
Owners, GK Visual
We are split on best movie between Inception and True Grit.


2010 Year In Review - Science

Posted by on January 17, 2011

2010 marked a very busy year in our Science Center. We had Halloween and Holiday events, new exhibits and lots of other very cool things. In Feburary of 2010 our third permanent exhibit opened called Carnival of Health. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you stop by to check out our giant sneezing clown, see what you’ll look like in 50 years, or work off that popcorn you just ate up in IMAX.

On the temporary exhibition front, our Science Center’s biggest traveling exhibit draw in 2010 was the return of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. It provided guests the opportunity to explore over 100 artifacts from the ship. We had the honor of showcasing, for the first time anywhere, some amazingly well preserved pieces, too.

We asked our online experts what their favorite Science story of 2010 was and they had some very neat answers…

Susan Ewing
Social Media Manager, Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
I'm going with the development of a brain-machine where participants use thoughts to control an image displayed on machine’s interface. Neural interfaces are one of the most exciting emerging technologies because they enable an alternate communication channel linking directly the nervous system with man-made devices. This research could lead to assisting spinal cord injury victims to breathe and fully paralyzed patients to move prosthetic limbs and send signals via electrodes and a computer to other parts of their nervous system…think Iron Man.

VoyagerBecky Weaver

Writer, PennLive.com
It was confirmed in late 2010 that Voyager 1 has finally made it to the edge of the solar system! And to think that it was launched 33 years ago, when I was but a babe. The sheer size of our solar system is mind boggling - especially to those of us (um, me!) who have always secretly wanted to “make the jump to light speed” aboard the Millennium Falcon (official Voyager site).
Nicole Newkam
Public Relations Manager, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
As an enthusiastic recycler, I was happy to learn that being ‘eco-friendly’ dates all the way back to ancient Roman times. British archaeologists found evidence of widespread recycling, after analyzing 1700-year-old samples of Roman glassware from 19 sites in the U.K. The proof was via their glass-making processes, leading scientists to conclude that the Romans mixed and melted pieces from a variety of sources, like modern recyclers do. Who knew ancient Romans were so green?!

Mike Rathfon
Advertising & E-Marketing Manager, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
Though I did pretty well in 7th Grade health class, I still get confused with where everything’s laid out under my skin. Leave it to Google to present this info in a very easy to understand, interactive format (Google Maps the Human Body). Plus, the fact that it shows off some new web technologies makes it cool to see what capabilities may be coming to web sites in the near future.  

CERNAlexis Dow Campbell
Director of Creative Programming, The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, and Patriot-News writer
The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland started whirling ions around and didn't create the Black Hole That Ends the World. So maybe 2012 won't be so scary after all. The year, not the movie.  Because the movie was pretty terrible.

Nate Kresge & Sovanna Mam
Owners, GK Visual
We are going with the discovery by scientists that introducing a magnetic field to the human brain can alter one's sense of morality.

Jane Suter
Writer, Central Penn Parent
I love nothing better than a good old fashioned mystery, so when the news broke that remains were found on Nikumaroro Island that could be those of Amelia Earhart, and her navigator Fred Noonan, I was hooked!  We may find out soon, through DNA testing, the fate of this beloved aviatrix.

2010 Year In Review

Posted by on January 11, 2011

5 Browns12 days ago, 2010 officially came to an end. It was a really fun year here at Whitaker Center. We had a show that featured 5 pianos on stage at the same time (The 5 Browns), a movie about falling into a rabbit hole (Alice in Wonderland), and a new exhibit where the object of the game is to do nothing (Carnival of Health’s Mind Ball), among others. Since 2010 was such a blast, we thought we’d share with you our highest attending concert, film and science exhibit (since your attendance had a hand in doing so). And because we really rolled out our blog in 2010, we thought it would be neat to ask some local online heavyweights for their take on their favorite album, film, and science news of 2010. This post’s focus is on music.

Our top selling act for the year was Garrison Keillor as he sold out the Forum in February. Keillor takes the prize on a technicality though. Bret Michaels also sold out the Forum in November, but because Mr. Keillor doesn’t need giant speakers (that potentially obstruct the audience), he was able to sell more seats. We were ecstatic to have both of these high-profile acts.

Mike Van Jura

Rock and Roll promoter, Greenbelt Events
Mumford and Sons Sigh No More
This album got the most play in my car, on my iPod and in-between sets at The Abbey Bar this year. Something about this record just hit the right frequency with me (and seemingly thousands of other music fans). They came almost out of nowhere and blasted onto the scene with a vengeance. Sold out shows led to venue upgrades which also sold out...This record reminds me of a Dave Matthews meets Frightened Rabbit meets The Low Anthem and I simply cannot get enough of it.

John LegendSusan Ewing
Social Media Manager, Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
John Legend and The Roots Wake Up!
Hip-hop Grammy Award winners The Roots in tandem with R&B singer John Legend shaped this album amid Barack Obama’s presidential campaign of 2008, a time of rising political awareness and empowerment in the African-American community. The album draws on socially conscious music with sounds of ‘60s and ‘70s soul, and my favorite – gospel. This album is sure to “move the spirit” of its listeners!

Becky Weaver
Writer, PennLive.com
Taio Cruz for One Rokstarr
My pick for album of the year..  Simple.  Reason.  My kids LOVE Dynamite!   What respectable elementary-schooler doesn’t?!?  It has to be the Feel Good Song of the Year!  Watching my kids sin¬g and dance to it just plain makes me smile
Nicole Newkam
Public Relations Manager, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
Bret Michaels Custom Built
As a BMB and Poison fan, I have to admit Bret’s new album is pretty good. Custom Built features a nice mix of his 80s rock roots, along with catchy modern tracks. You gotta give the bandanna rocker credit for putting out a Billboard Chart Topper after all these years. And not to mention, Bret and his band sound as good, if not even better, live!

Mike Rathfon
Advertising & E-Marketing Manager, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
Caribou – Swim
My choice could have gone a lot of ways – Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor is a great, raucous album with a cool theme. The new Deerhunter, LCD Soundsystem, Spoon, The National, Abe Vigoda, and Arcade Fire are great albums that get repeat plays in my iPod, but I really can’t get enough of Caribou’s Swim. It sets a tone from the first note that carries throughout the last song. Plus, it’s shorter than most albums, so it’s easy to listen to it 3-4 times in a row without noticing.

Alexis Dow Campbell
Director of Creative Programming, The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, and Patriot-News writer
Cee-Lo – The Ladykiller
I cannot get enough of this one - CeeLo's like this weird mad scientist of soul that completely captivates me.  I love every track, but my favorite has GOT to be his triumphant cover of one of my favorite songs, No One's Gonna Love You by Band of Horses.
Arcade Fire
Nate Kresge & Sovanna Mam
Owners, GK Visual
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
"For best album I'm (Nate) taking executive license and saying Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Sovanna would have fought me harder on this one had Gaga put an album out in 2010.”

Check back for our science news and movie blog.

Tron Sequel Premieres December 17

Posted by on December 10, 2010

If you’ve recently spent any time at a movie theater or kept up with entertainment news, you’ve probably noticed that the Harry Potter hype is being overtaken by something much more bright and tech-savvy. TRON: Legacy has been on the radar of comic-con geeks and ‘80s movie fans, since the inception of the idea in 2007. With the public release of trailers and conceptual designs in late 2009, a much wider fan base has grown.

LightcycleTRON: Legacy
is the follow up to 1982’s original release, which was the first movie to be produced by a major film studio, containing a storyline rooted in computer graphics. With the sequel premiering on December 17 (in full frame IMAX® 3D!), TRON fans can expect a visually amazing cinematic experience, featuring a distinct glow-in-the-dark digital landscape, never-before-seen dual 3D technology, laser-aligned digital sound, and a baffling field of view. Oh, and for those that have seen the original, you would be remiss to not eat your heart out over the gnarly new Lightcycle.
I don’t pretend to fully understand how exactly the filmmakers do it, but whatever it is -- it’s simply mind-blowing! If you’re one of those people who want to see how the magic happened, here’s what you’re looking for:

  • Joseph Kosinki, the director, explains some of the ways the design team’s concepts came to life.With everyone from architects to Lamborghini designers, it’s no wonder why the end product is an artistic masterpiece.Read the interview at Fast Company's site here.
  • The following video is a must-see for sound design gurus.Between motorcycles, lasers, and semi-robotic humans, TRON’s digital sound helped create its captivating and original world.

  • If you’re a design geek like me, you’ll definitely find this article cool.The costumes in TRON are a huge part of the plot as well as the visuals. Learning how everything was created is incredible. Click here to read about some of the history of their costumes.
  • I have to admit, although I am excited to see the movie, there is one thing I am more excited about ─ the soundtrack.Since it was first announced that TRON: Legacy would be produced, everyone paying attention agreed that only one music group could do it justice. And lucky for all of us, the filmmakers agreed. Daft Punk is without a doubt the reigning royalty of electronica and the TRON soundtrack may become their best-known masterpiece yet. The band just released a video for the first song, Derezzed, and it rocks.

    Don’t be fooled by the fakes all over YouTube — the real video has opening scenes from the new movie, but mostly pays homage to the original, with only a glimpse at one of TRON: Legacy’s stars. Check it out for yourself:

Daft Punk "Derezzed"
Uploaded by daftworld. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Be sure to see TRON: Legacy sequel in IMAX 3D ─ it’s worth the embarrassment of wearing those silly over-sized glasses ;-)

Ali is a Professional Writing major at York College of Pennsylvania. She will graduate in May 2011.


Making Your Music Social Before It's Even Recorded

Posted by on December 1, 2010

For most artists and bands, the ultimate short-term goal is usually getting into some sort of studio and recording an album. While the costs and other barriers to recording that album are relatively low, there are still some very real costs involved. Those costs might involve studio time, paying an engineer and musicians, or just purchasing the equipment needed for a solid home recording.

Like most independent musicians you probably haven’t been blessed with a hefty trust fund, and therefore live your life on a shoestring budget, getting by from show to show. Plus, you might even have a day job (or two) to help make ends meet. Sound familiar? Read on. You’ve probably already gone back to your parents and other relatives time and time again, so what sorts of creative methods are there for funding a recording (or any other project, for that matter)?

Sometimes your best bet is to go to your best source; your most loyal fans. They already have a vested interest in your music, and by allowing them to purchase your recording BEFORE you even record it, they are, in a way, investing in your album. While this concept isn’t entirely new, there are now a number of online, social platforms give you the tools you need to do this in very effective and creative ways.

KickstarterPerhaps the most popular platform is Kickstarter. You set a goal and then spread the word to your fans, who can then help spread the word even further. The key to this is setting up various levels of giving with incremental rewards. For instance, the lowest level of giving (perhaps $5 or $10) might merely come with the promise of an advance download of the finished product. Increased amounts of giving could have rewards like multiple copies of the album, autographed copies, getting their name in the liner notes, an extended version of the disc, a copy of the original artwork, or perhaps even a t-shirt. And to entice much higher levels of giving, you can really kick it up a notch with the promise of a private house concert or something of similar value.

And there’s really no limit to your creativity. For instance, Lancaster’s Kim Goss recently completed a campaign to record her first solo CD with some rather interesting rewards, from a dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies or a song written and recorded just for you, to an in-home concert complete with dinner. Baking and meals may not be your thing, but feel free to be creative. Offer a car wash or some other incentive or service.

When it comes to funding your project, Kickstarter might be the most well-known, but it isn’t your only option.

One of these is http://www.pledgemusic.com/PledgeMusic, which is very similar in structure to Kickstarter, with an added twist: in addition to raising money for your project, PledgeMusic gives you the chance to highlight your favorite charity and raise money for them at the same time.

Additionally, you might want to check out IndieGoGo, Rockethub, and SellABand.

The beauty of this sort of “crowdfunding” is that it gets your fans involved throughout the process, rather than just asking them to buy your CD once it is completed. And it’s a very “social” process, with integration of Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms to help you publicize your project. Your most loyal fans will help spread the word and will feel as if they are collaborators in the project. It’s a great way of building true community with your music at the center.

- Ken
Ken Mueller

Ken Mueller is the owner of
Inkling Media, a Lancaster, PA based Inbound and Social Media Marketing firm. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter. He has more than 30 years of media experience and often works with bands and musicians to help them “get found” online.