Insights EDU

Chronosphere: A Unique 3D Testing Ground That Creates And Shapes The Volumetric World With You In It – Part One

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Puk Franswa | Communications Adviser | 4DR Studios

02 Apr 2021 | 4 min read

Chronosphere is a unique research program in the Netherlands, created by Effenaar Smart Venue and 4DR Studios – with support from Metropool Regio Eindhoven and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

This unique 3D testing ground offers creative content makers, relevant research institutions and the business community an opportunity to discover and explore the possibilities of volumetric video capturing.

A little throwback

Chronosphere started right after 4DR Studios opened its doors – the first and only volumetric video capture stage in the Benelux. This 3D technology is brand-new in the Netherlands and the projects within Chronosphere will use this technology to explore and discover it’s possibilities. The focus of Chronosphere lies on experimental research, we do not want to reinvent anything, but we do want to work together with all these inspiring content creators and share the results with you, the general public!

Inside of Chronosphere

Inside of the Chronosphere (Source: 4DR Studios)

Right now, – Chronosphere has completed a total of 5 out of the 20 productions. Some are still in progress and the last available spots were filled at the end of October 2020. That means that the recordings for 2021 will start very soon!

Volumetric video capturing (later: volumetric video) enables you to add realistic, moving and three-dimensional people to your world. This technology makes it possible to record real people directly in 3D, capturing the smallest details and purest emotions. The 3D people are barely distinguishable from the real people (the ones of flesh and blood), which increases the credibility and acceptance of the virtual world from the general public. In recent months, we have completed a number of projects. Each project originated from a different sector, which makes this experimental research program even more interesting!

Each project has its own research questions and goals to achieve with this program. The questions and goals can be quite diverse and can be explored in a wide timeframe. Two projects from 2020 and 2021 will be explored below.

The French Conquest of Maastricht

The French Conquest of Maastricht is a project within the heritage sector. In this project, a 250-year-old city model forms the basis for a progressive interactive exhibition. But how does Chronosphere make an interactive exhibition for a broad target audience group with a wide age range, in which a digitised historical model is enhanced with a digital and personalized story layer? The aim is to give the city model more liveliness and personality so that visitors can experience the stories of the old Maastricht for themselves. It is a time machine to the past. Filming actors convincingly in volumetric video and then seeing them live in 3D makes it credible, realistic and interactive.

Bias Buster

Bias Buster is all about preconceptions in a workplace. Can augmented reality (AR) combined with volumetric video help to raise awareness of these preconceptions and train people on their implicit biases in the workplace?
By creating various bias situations with augmented reality and volumetric videos, employees are being tested for their consciousness around their preconceptions in the workplace. As the employees face increasingly complex bias situations in which they have to make choices, they develop skills for recognizing similar situations in real life and begin to understand how to consciously act towards them.

A look into the future of Chronosphere

Both national and international productions are planned for 2021, with themes such as: geography, true crime and music. The following project previews give insights into the projects of 2021.

The Uncharted Caves of Kyrgyzstan aims to take viewers through the landscapes of the Kiya Valley in the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan, through an interactive 3D experience. These landscapes of Kyrgyzstan have already been mapped by scientists and geologists, so an interactive 3D experience is only the next logical step. In this 3D experience, viewers are taken on the same expedition as the scientists and geologists have already endured during the mapping of caves through volumetric video technology. Together they explore these landscapes of Kyrgyzstan. By using 3D models combined with volumetric video, the storytelling becomes a lot more believable, realistic and the awareness concerning these landscapes will increase.

With the production ‘And here happened a murder’, Yle – a Finnish national broadcaster – wants to produce a next level true crime documentary, in which people can explore the crime scene themselves. The crime scene itself will be shown in augmented reality and the main character will be added in volumetric video. The audience gets the chance to hear and feel the thoughts of the only eyewitness … the killer himself. The question is: to what extent will the appearance of the main character in volumetric video strengthen the process of connection, understanding and empathizing with the main character and his situation?

Behind-the-scenes stories

In the upcoming Chronosphere article we will take you on a journey through all the phases of Chronosphere production. Keep your eyes peeled for what’s to come! Read part two here.

About the author:

Puk Franswa is currently working as a communication employee at Dutch Rose Media, experts in Augmented Reality and 4DR Studios – the only volumetric video capturing studio in the Benelux. She is also responsible for Chronosphere, a research project where different project partners will explore the possibilities of volumetric video capturing.