On the 12th of April, 2019, the YouTube channel United shared a behind-the-scenes video showcasing some of the particulars of their amazing AVDFM — which was a modern marvel and combination of an orchestra playing the themes of some of the world’s most famous musical franchises, Star Wars and Jurassic Park, and AR. If the event proved anything, it’s that augmented reality is the future of cinema.
Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality
According to TechTarget, augmented reality or AR is the “integration of digital information with the user’s [or audience’s] environment in real-time.”
Unlike virtual reality which has also become increasingly popular in recent years, AR users experience their real-world environment with computer-generated perceptual information overlaid on top of it in real-time, whereas virtual reality creates a totally artificial environment.
Pokémon Go was one of the first games to catapult AR into the public eye as in 2016 it made it possible to interact with Pokémon that were superimposed on the world via the player’s smartphone screen.
Imagine an orchestral performance where the orchestra begins to play, and the ceiling of the venue opens up to reveal the world of the music they are playing. At AVDFM in 2019, audiences in the venue and at home were transported into space as the orchestra played the iconic theme from Star Wars, where ships swooped in and out of the hall through the ceiling, the Millennium Falcon came in and was shot at by real stormtroopers who were parading in the audience.
Imagine that as the sounds of Jurassic Park play, the ceiling opens to a jungle scene as the heads of dinosaurs appear and dip into the venue to look at the intriguing and tiny humans below them. AR brought the imaginations of director David Grifhorst and Technical Artist Luis Oliveira to life in this incredible showcase.
When discussing behind the scenes, Grifhorst and Oliveira shared what went into making that night as magical as it was. Luis shared about the technical side of how they made augmented reality happen and why it was believable.
“We want the audience to feel immersed in an experience and we’re trying to provide that to them by using a real-time augmented reality technology. The way that we’re trying to do this is by using video game technology so that we can have real-time tracking with our cameras.” Oliveira also went on about the requirements to make this happen, “The types of preparations we need to do beforehand is basically we need to know the dimensions of the place, in this case the Ziggo Dome, we need to now the type of lighting they will be using, we need to know the duration of the pieces and then provide that experience not only in the big screen but also in the broadcast.”
Imagine you go to the cinema and, without having to wear 3D glasses, the movie that you are going to see suddenly comes to life and it’s like you can see some of the characters walking in the theatre with you, or epic combat scenes break the barrier between screen and reality and become real, even if just for a few seconds.
How epic would it be to go to watch a movie about space, and the whole ceiling looks like galaxies, stars, and planets? It would introduce an entirely new element to cinema and theatre, bringing the unrealistic to reality.
Many believe that augmented reality is the future of cinema and imagine how amazing it would be to experience it for yourself. Considering the AVDFM happened in 2019, who knows what AR technology could be capable of accomplishing today?
“When I look at the future, I think the most important part about augmented reality should be storytelling, then the technique will follow,” says director David Grifhorst.
Would you like to experience augmented reality in cinemas for yourself?