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The audience takes control

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27 October 2010

Now that stereoscopic 3d is firmly embedded into the mainstream, it will soon be yesterday’s news – so, what’s next?

Well, how about being able to subliminally influence the storyline, feel and direction of a film or TV programme via emotional responses? It sounds like sci-fi but it’s the vision of Rugby-based Keith Bound who’s developed an interactive film-analysis concept called Emo-vie.

Emo-vie tracks an audience’s response to a film and changes the story based on emotional reactions to key scenes and key moments of dialogue. So the direction of the story is adapted on the fly through the unconscious interaction of the viewer.

To make the system work, audio-visual content has to be pre-tagged with different “narrative trajectories”. The content can also change properties such as colours, tone, lighting, vfx and sound based on audience reactions.

Bound has already won a Cisco I-Prize Global Innovation award for Emo-vie. He told Televisual: “The broadcast industry has not yet managed to create a fully responsive experience for the audience. At the moment, the only way users can engage with interactive content is through conscious decisions and mouse clicks, rather than unconsciously.”

The Emo-vie system, which was originally developed for the healthcare market, uses biofeedback technology to monitor heart rate and heart rhythms and analyse the emotional intensity felt by the user. It’s little more than a concept at the moment, but in a few year’s time, who knows, maybe going to the cinema will literally be a heart-wrenching experience.

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