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creative director at Nxtedition. “You could control kit miles away just by pushing buttons on your iPad or even using hand gestures.” Using AR, sources, prompters, timing screens, rundowns or interactive shotboxes can be displayed on a headset screen so they overlay the director’s view of the real world. “This would be fantastic at Glastonbury,” enthuses Leah. “You could be on top of the tower, see where all the cameras were and do all the monitoring as though you were on the truck, but you’d be feeling and seeing the actual event.” Leah cautions against over-using XR. “In sport, it’s fantastic but I’m not a big fan of VR news studios,” he admits. “I don’t like it when everything looks like a video game when a reporter is giving viewers the harsh realities of life.” He points out the BBC’s live news studio is all real, with no XR – just conventional screens and video walls. Nonetheless, it seems XR is here to stay. “Stanley Kubrick once said: ‘If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed,’” concludes Khan. “With XR and in-camera VFX, this becomes a reality. Filmmakers have a vision to tell their story to a diverse audience, and XR makes this possible.”

NUMBERS GAME Real-time stats in live games allow fans to become armchair analysts, dissecting every strategy as if they were in the coach’s box

VR has the capacity to engage audiences in ways physical theatre finds hard to match. “Alice eating the mushroom can be much more embracing because VR takes over all your visual and audio input – and can very effectively fool you into thinking you’re ten inches tall,” Gochfeld points out. But it does not have to be photorealistic. “It’s about creating a sense of presence rather than realism of imagery,” conveys Gochfeld. He cautions against entering the uncanny valley, a decades-old term for the curious fact that almost-but-not-quite- realistic objects can seem strange and disturbing, while an obviously cartoon-like appearance can be perfectly acceptable. PERFECT FOR PREVISUALISATION Back in the studio, XR has benefits behind the camera as well as in front. “The previs and virtual art direction process can pull much of the decision- making off set into pre-production, and DOPs like Greig Fraser have noted that tools like Unreal Engine perhaps could – and should – be used to plan every shot, as he did for Dune: Part 2 ,” says Rene Amador, co-founder and CEO of ARwall. During shooting, AR on portable devices has the potential to liberate the director from the gallery. “We can run our system on an iPad or even in a web browser on a headset,” introduces Adam Leah, YOU COULD CONTROL KIT MILES AWAY BY PUSHING BUTTONS ON YOUR IPAD OR EVEN USING HAND GESTURES


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