Immersive media R&D project Immersify in full swing
by Vassilis Economou
- Five key European players in researching and developing new tools for immersive media are aiming to take the next innovative step in virtual reality applications
With virtual reality (VR) quickly taking on a new role in a wide range of media applications – including, of course, cinema, TV and video – this has created the need to conduct further research and develop the new possibilities of a tool such as VR to be made available to a broader audience and be released from the niche market to which it is still confined.
This is the mission of Immersify, a European R&D consortium launched by five key players in new technologies. Aiming to develop the next generation of immersive media and tools, PSNC – Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (Poland), Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH (Germany), the Cannes Film Market (France), Visualization Center C (Sweden) and Ars Electronica Futurelab (Austria) have teamed up since October 2017 on a programme that is being supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme; hence it will run until March 2020.
According to the Immersify partners, the R&D project will be focused on four major challenges. The first is to invest in new technologies in video compression, as the content is constantly being improved in terms of all its technical aspects, demanding more data. Secondly, media players and different content formats must be able to support as many technical environments and devices as possible. Thirdly, creative individuals who are developing high-quality videos and CGI in 2D and 3D must be given the option to combine these elements in order to deliver a customisable, complete experience to the final user. Finally, Immersify is planning to showcase its progress and possible results and demos at special, focused markets such as the Ars Electronica Festival and the Film Market in Cannes, which will give a wider audience greater access to their releases in the future.
The partners collaborating on Immersify, which each have a different background, are based in five European countries. Starting with the research and development centres, based in Poznan, Poland, PSNC – Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center is affiliated with the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IBCH PAS), and is an active research and development centre specialised in new-generation networking, high-resolution and immersive media, among others. Berlin-based Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH develops high-performance video codecs for the next generation of high-quality video applications, enabling ultra-high-quality video applications such as 4K and 8K UHD, immersive video projection and video walls, and next-generation virtual reality and 360° video. Sweden’s Visualization Center C is a research and science centre in Norrköping, conducting a unique mix of leading visualisation research and public outreach activities. The centre’s production department creates public experiences based on real scientific data.
Certainly, the Cannes Film Market is known as the biggest market event in the film industry, and at NEXT, its innovation hub, VR exhibitors and creators hailing from the world over showcase their latest VR products. Finally, the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz, Austria, is a trans-disciplinary media art lab that enjoys an international reputation as one of the leading non-university R&D facilities in the areas of media art, information aesthetics, interaction design, persuasive technologies, robotics and virtual environments. One of its many reference projects is the worldwide, unique Deep Space 8K, which is set to be further developed as part of Immersify.
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