Academy Award-nominated film director, writer, and producer Bruce Beresford has hailed the world's first 360-degree stereoscopic cinema as revolutionary.
Created by Neil Brown, Dennis Del Favero, Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel at UNSW's iCinema Research Centre, this new cinema form lets viewers create their own 3D cinematic experiences on a 360-degree screen.
Beresford says T_Visionarium has "fantastic possibilities" for art galleries, museums, educational institutions and certain "niche" cinema forms. "The clarity is astounding, and being able to interact with images and sound in a three-dimensional cinematic environment is revolutionary," he says.
"If you were doing big exhibitions, say in the national gallery or the big state galleries, I've never seen anything that could bring them to life with such fidelity. I can imagine that galleries and museums all over the world could use it to their advantage. It would be wonderful as a tool in eco-tourism, cultural tourism and teaching."
The T_Visionarium experience begins as viewers wearing special glasses stand inside a huge cylindrical cinema theatre. Twelve overhead digital projectors create high-resolution stereoscopic images around the screen, while audio is delivered via a 24-channel surround sound system.
Viewers using a special interface to select and sort video images from a database of over 20,000 video clips captured from 28 hours of free-to-air Australian television. Then magic happens as up to 300 videos fly about the fully immersive 3D cinematic space, arranging themselves in ever-changing narrative relationships.
Beresford, who has directed 26 feature films, believes the National Film and Sound Archive could enjoy a new lease of life with the technology.
"If you digitised the collection, this technology would mean that you'd be able to search it by actor, location or dialogue, for instance, and bring them to the screen instantly and simultaneously. It would be a useful application of this technology for researchers, documentary makers, writers, historians and film buffs.
"The other thing that's impressive about T_Visionarium is that it only takes a day to install the cinema, so it's something that can travel anywhere with a minimum of fuss. No doubt it has unimagined applications that will come to light once people play with it and see the possibilities."
"This technology means that television doesn't have to be something we passively consume, but a resource where we are the directors and editors of our own media experience," says UNSW's Jeffrey Shaw, iCinema's Director.
iCinema's Chairman, Dennis Del Favero adds: "T_Visionarium is a way to integrate the physical and the digital worlds, making the digital more user-friendly and relevant to the way we would like to live in the world today."
Where: iCinema centre, Scientia Building, UNSW, Kensington
When: January 9-13, 16-20, 23-27 from 11am-6pm.
Media contact: Dan Gaffney, 0411 156 015