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AR Challenges

Augmented reality (AR) is an engaging way for storytellers to reach their audience. It’s entertaining, fun and very innovative. As an emerging medium, AR faces a lot of challenges. By producing City of Ghosts, a fully immersive and interactive augmented reality film experience, we learned a lot. All the rules of workflow and traditional cinema cannot be applied anymore. Our president, Robert Young, participated on a panel at AWE Europe 2017 in October and here are the topics and viewpoints that came up as being critical to the success of an AR production:

1. Believability

Providing a lifelike realistic experience becomes a challenge when content creators need to use the real environment as a basis for their story.

“If the door is closed, the character cannot enter the room. It’s live, and we can’t say cut and do it again like in cinema,” said CieAR President, Robert Young.

This is where AR experiences become more complex to design and produce. If the character talks to you without looking at you, the lifelike effect suddenly disappears. Believability is key to convince the viewer to dive into your story and enjoy the experience.

2. A Nonlinear Storyline

Immersive and interactive experiences are not linear. Content creators can’t use the traditional ways of creating and producing content anymore – unlike a movie, where people sit in front of a screen and they are forced to watch it the way the creators planned. Content creators need to innovate and find new ways of making the viewer follow the storyline. The viewer is completely free and decides where to look and what will grab his/her attention.

3. Viewer Attention

So, how to capture the viewer’s attention? The way people are looking into a story changed according to Robert Young. Content creators need to innovate and explore the platform they are using to create captivating stories. Creative people are going to drive content to create something spectacular using the strengths of the medium whether it’s sound, cinematic, interaction or other. For example, in City of Ghosts, we combine visual and sound cues, interaction with characters and others techniques to attract the viewer’s attention. A character can whisper something in your ears or walk around you, objects can flicker to capture your attention, etc.

We still have a lot to learn as content and platform providers to help creators develop engaging quality content. AR brings a lot of opportunities to the entertainment industry. Trials and errors will lead developers to create the seamless and realistic interactive experiences we’re all imagining!

This blog was inspired by a panel at AWE Europe on immersive entertainment moderated by Lauren Bedal -Senior interaction designer at Matter. Watch here!

*Photo credit: @ARealityEvent

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