In our second phase of R&D into volumetric recording we worked with Dr Aki Jarvinen, associate of Megaverse, founder of Game Futures, who took the helm in developing our Stage Manager solution.
Our volumetric offering is based around live performance in virtual reality which requires us to build a similar tool to QLab that traditional theatre’s use to control elements of a performance. We had a basic idea of what this tool needed to include at the start of the process like cueing scene changes, audio and lighting but understood that it also needed to be built in response to the director and actors needs.
“For the last 3 years, I have focused my energy into the immersive space. My work ranges from developing prototypes to teaching design to researching presence, which I see the unique aspect about VR in praticular. Therefore, XR Theatre Lab presented me with an exciting opportunity to bring a number of these aspects together.
During the first run of the XR Theatre Lab, I came in to help to figure out how would a virtual stage system, built in Unity, help in facilitating the performances and add a repertoire of techniques, such as lighting, switching props, scene transitions, and so on.
What became a fairly rudimentary ‘stage manager’ and enabled experimentation during the lab period in July this year, is going to transform into something bigger. We have identified and prioritised features and improvements for the next version. We are working towards securing opportunities to implement these during 2019 and test them out in a live setting with actors, directors, and audience that is present both locally, where the performances happen, but also remotely, accessing the experience via a headset.
This, the 2.0 version, would lead the way to what we envision with the working title Megaverse Studio. It will be a XR application that will enable anyone to quickly create virtual scenes for performances and invite participants to their own live shows. These development are predicated with advances in capturing technology, but there are weak signals out there that lead us to believe this not wishful thinking.
We acknowledge that in order for the type of XR theatre we want to create to work, there are many unknowns in the process of setting up such performance with both hardware and software, and figuring out what types of workflows are required - from the creators point of view - but also, what type of content our test audiences find the most engaging
Finally, we also want to get away from the screen-based design conventions, and make such tools that the act of creating the virtual stage becomes almost a performances in itself, through spatial and embodied user interfaces. This is where my research into VR interaction models and presence will find a productive playground. Onwards to 2.0!”
Dr Aki Jarvinen
Associate of Megaverse