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Mandetech.com-ETIA Transmedia Storytelling Panel

Mandetech.com-ETIA Transmedia Storytelling Panel

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ETIA Transmedia Storytelling Panel
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June 17, 2014, SMPTE Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age Conference, Stanford, CA—A panel
addressed the issues and challenges in developing transmedia for stories. Roland Angst from Stanford opened
the session with an overview of the various display modes and their impact on media.
The goal of an immersive feel and interactivity on multiple platforms is getting closer. In the fields of augmented
and virtual reality, the changes in hardware are enabling new modes of creation and expression. Entertainment
and virtual reality are moving closer together.
Content can be pre-recorded or interactive. Pre-recording is fine for cinema, and interactive is highly suited for
training and games. The developments in augmented reality hardware are enabling better integration between the
real and virtual worlds. New efforts for 3-D displays in parallax barrier and light-field displays allows the head-
mounted displays to become more immersive. The challenges are still in limited resolution, field of view, and low-
latency head tracking. The other enabling technologies for this field include improvements in low-power CPUs,
sensors, motion, and cameras.
Cameras and projector systems are already being integrated into systems like the Kinect. AR on mobile devices
can use location information to extend the capabilities for augmentation. The issues include overlay and camera
position, motion tracking, and image recognition.
Interactive storytelling is in games, but must be compromised for the story elements. These elements can be
active or passive in an open world. Small story elements are amenable to AR technologies while cinematic
elements are better suited for VR. This situation calls for greater support for VR technology development.
The various aspects of vision and storytelling are driving convergence in many businesses, e.g. consoles and
services plus original content. The changes are blurring the lines between TV and games. Now it is possible to
mix game content and high quality live action shots in either medium. Transmedia takes elements on different
devices and fragment those elements for the story. In a coarse fragmentation, the storyteller creates the full story,
like in the Star Wars franchises.
A fine-grained fragmentation would take partial elements from the story for an AR game, like a Web-based
scavenger hunt that mixes the Web and the real world. The Web in everywhere, so collaboration is possible in
location-based games. adding AR functions then makes a lot of sense for this type of activity.
The panel, comprised of Tom Annau from JauntVR, Maya Zukerman from Transmedia SF, and Charles Jablonski
a gaming expert, then tackled some issues relating to content creation and game and movie mixtures.
Zukerman opened with comments about transmedia as a new media ecosystem. It broadens the story world for
ancillary story lines and changes storytelling while increasing audience involvement. The work depends upon the
project, and all projects need to be staffed with multiple disciplines. The creators need to evolve the story and
make the story amenable to all media platforms. One key is to test often and use all the feedback you get. You still
have to create a good user experience even under changing funding models.
Annau compared and contrasted cinematic VR and gaming. The latest hardware can provide a full 360 degree 3-
D experience that can change the user experience from a strong, single point of view to something akin to the real
world. The brain enters a new world map versus cinema where the scenes are only in front of you. In addition, you
cannot forget the importance of 3-D audio to enable the complete experience. Consumer-level cameras are
coming, but for now, only high-cost cameras are available.
Jablonski stated that the technology is still far ahead of the creators. Technology adoption is either a replacement
for existing functions or displaces current technology with new ones. Neither of these characteristics is truly
disruptive. The resulting platforms still define the user's perspective. The point of view and the platform are still
needed but overall, the story still matters. Creators have to integrate across the technologies.
Zukerman noted that new technology is in the hands of the early adopters. VR is emerging for the second time,
and is still not ready for the masses. People will use different media at different times of the day. Changes in
technology lead to changes in creativity. Gaming generates greater interactivity, but users want TV to be a lean-
back experience. The second screen is not necessary, but can be worked into the content presentation.
Creative tools?
Zukerman responded that technology usually takes a field of dreams approach to adoption. There is no market for
some technologies due to the uncanny valley effect (a feeling of disgust or uncertainty when faced with something
almost human).
Jablonski suggested rapid prototyping and fast iterations. Creators need to listen to their customers. The creatives
need to adopt with an understanding of multiple learning curves. All technology adaptations with creativity have to
involve the user and be integrated to make a better user experience.
Annau mentioned that he works with creative people as a technology company. One key is to make transmedia
stories on screen anywhere easy to follow. Successful stories are easy to use. The creative vision is much more
important than issues of functionality and use.
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Posted by Tets on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm
Filed under Featured Content, New Technology, Tradeshows · Tagged with 3-D, etia, Event, experience, games,
hardware, smpte, software, story, technology, transmedia, VR
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