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On Tuesday 9 September, CWI multimedia researchers will contribute to a unique theatre performance. Miracle Theatre from Falmouth (UK) will perform a single play of Shakespeare’s The Tempest split between two theatres, each with their own audience. Live footage of these two venues is combined through audiovisual communications in a single experience that can be enjoyed simultaneously by the audiences in the two theatres and an online audience.
The performance is a test case for remote sharing of live experiences. It will be used to evaluate the experience and level of immersion of the different types of audiences, and to discover the factors that influence these. The Tempest is an ideal pilot project, as Shakespeare situated the play in distinct locations. One theatre will show the location where the protagonist Prospero stays, and the other where people from the shipwreck land. The scenes performed in the remote theatre will be shown on-screen. Online audiences will see a composition of the two venues.
CWI’s Distributed and Interactive Systems group develops, together with other partners from Vconect, the technological infrastructure for the set-up. The main research challenges are the seamless integration of the live audiovisual footage with minimal delay, and the semi-automatic editing of the material from various camera angles and microphones into a single experience that simulates the live theatre experience as close as possible.
This research is part of the EU-funded Vconect project. The vision of this project is the adoption of high-quality video as a medium for mass communication within communities. The project members (British Telecom, Portugal Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent, Eurescom, Goldsmiths’ College, Fraunhofer, Joanneum Research, and Falmouth University) are building a video communication platform that can take intelligent decisions to mediate audiovisual communication between group members. The Distributed and Interactive Systems group at CWI, which participates in Vconect, investigates next-generation shared experiences through multimedia.
Image: The Tempest promo, Miracle Theatre