Machinima Screening With Audience Mashup: Behind the Scenes
by Rob Rothfarb • January 22, 2009
Filmmaker Douglas Gayeton said to crowds both corporeal and digital that Fabricated Realities, the mixed-reality screening of his film, Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey, was ""surreal."" Not just because the simultaneous screening occurred at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and on Exploratorium Island in SL, but also because SL creator Phillip Rosedale was in the (real) audience. 40 people at the Exploratorium watched the film as well as projected views showing the same number of avatars who were gathered in an amphitheater in SL for the screening and the opportunity to dialogue with the filmmaker. The audience in SL enjoyed seeing the live scenes from their world streamed to the theater in real life, then back again into avatar space. After the screeniing, Doug spoke about his own odyssey making the film, collaborating with a SL resident who he's never met IRL (in real life), and shared his insight about the continually changing virtual world medium.
Our "mixed reality" video screening event occurred on January 24th at our museum in San Francisco and on Exploratorium Island in Second Life. Creating the event posed some unique technical challenges. Like other programs for which we've created a virtual counterpart, we took advantage of things we've learned before and techniques and processes we've developed. We scaled back part of the initial plan for what videos signals will be digitally encoded for streaming into SL, but we kept those elements in mind for future Cinema Arts related programs.
For this event, we combined two audiences, one real, one virtual, to hopefully create an integrated experience where a filmmaker can interact with people in front of him and avatars projected alongside. Both audiences viewed the artist's documentary which was shown on a screen in front of them at almost nearly the same time. Only a slight delay of a few seconds occurs when we encode video and stream it into the virtual world. Wayne Grim, one of my colleague's at the Exploratorium, created a theater configuration diagram and an audio/video/networking signal-path diagram that shows how we set up the signals in the McBean Theater at the Exploratorium.