Credit: Ars Electronica / Robert Bauernhansl

It’s almost as if you were there: immersive media let us dive deep into images and videos – sometimes to the point where we completely forget the world around us. In order to transform this new kind of media from a niche phenomenon to a widespread practice, the Ars Electronica Futurelab and four partners from all over Europe are working on a common research project, Immersify.

What the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC) from Poland, Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH from Germany, the Ars Electronica Futurelab from Austria, Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes from France and the Visualization Center C from Sweden started in October 2017 is to be continued until June 2020 thanks to funding from the EU program “Horizon 2020”. The declared goal: to enable and create media more immersive than ever before.
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What it means to design immersive media is easier to explain than to implement: videos, computer animations and other media content should be so lifelike that one could almost forget the real world around them. This requires the right video technology, better codecs, displays, media rooms, specially created content and much more, from technical details to artistic visions.

Designing beautiful content increasingly means working with large amounts of data, which is why better data compression is important. In order to play the new content well, media players and formats should support as many different technical environments and devices as possible. Techniques such as ultra-high resolution or CGI in 2-D and 3-D must be freely combinable with each other – and all these developments must remain accessible. Demos at the Ars Electronica Festival and the Marché du Film in Cannes prove: Immersify will not be locked up behind closed doors.

But the Immersify team doesn’t stop there. Immersive media should not only be as realistic as possible, but also enable participation and interaction. What may still be feasible for an individual becomes complicated as soon as the audience is larger. Media rooms like Deep Space 8K in Austria or Visualization Center C in Sweden already give a foretaste of what might be possible in the future.

Immersify and the five teams from all over Europe are facing big challenges. The strategy to develop immersive media between all these factors is therefore based on the collected expert knowledge of the partner institutions – and on concentrating on the most important core elements.

The first results already show that the expert knowledge gathered pays off. Visualization Center C, for example, uses its own dome cinema with a 6P RGB laser projection system to create interactive films. PSNC in Poland, on the other hand, focuses on audio installations and infrastructure, and Deep Space 8K deals with artistic installations. As different as it sounds: They are all concerned with media that could not have been shown before the start of the project. Which leaves only one question to be asked – how immersive can media get until the end of the project in 2020?

Project webpage: https://immersify.eu/

Read more in an Interview with the project partners of Immersify on the Ars Electronica Blog:


Ars Electronica Futurelab: Roland Aigner, Roland Haring, Anna Kuthan, Christopher Lindinger, Johannes Lugstein, Nicolas Naveau, Ali Nikrang, Johannes Pöll, Clemens F. Scharfen

PARTNER: Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC); Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH; Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes; Visualization Center C

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 762079