Augmenting immersive cinematic experience/scene with user body visualization.
Type of content
For the proposed masters thesis project, I conducted research into how computer graphics and emerging interactive technologies can be combined to create new immersive home entertainment experiences. It has the potential to change how people engage with the film from watching to experiencing it. Recent advances in hardware technology have led consumer level head-mounted displays to be ideal for immersive visualization providing wide-angle 3D stereo viewing. This project's involvement is to develop technology for blending the body of the user and the surrounding environment into a cinematic scene; doing so would provide the perception that the human viewer and digital content are in the same space. As a home entertainment experience, the system has to be simple, portable and easy to set up like a home video game console. The setup includes a head mounted display, an optical sensor to capture information about the user's environment, and some form of keying technology or technique to composite the user's body into a movie scene. Further investigation went into exploring different characteristics of 360 spherical panoramic movies and its effects with user embodiment on immersion; and also the type of control over blending the user body and surrounding environment that people would prefer; and lastly the type of interface that would be used to control this blending. Results showed a significant difference in the sense of presence and level of user engagement between when body visualization is present and when it is not present. It also showed that people preferred either shared or manual control with automated control the least. Implications of the results with valuable user feedback questioned how user embodiment should be presented and interaction should be supported now that the virtual environment is not any normal computer generated setting, but a cinematic virtual world driven by a story behind it. A set of guidelines is presented at the end with the target of a home entertainment system in mind.