Enabling Distributed Theatre Performances through Multi-Camera Telepresence: Capturing System Behaviour in a Script-Based Approach

Publication from Digital
Connected Computing

Kaiser R., Ursu M.F., Falelakis M., Horti A.

ACM, New York, NY, USA 3rd International Workshop on Immersive Media Experiences (ImmersiveME '15), 2015


Audio-visual media has been utilized in theatre in many creative ways, but most of them have been employed to enrich performances on a single stage. Telepresence systems give rise to a new concept: distributed theatre, denoting performances co-acted from two or more different stages, each potentially having its own local audience. To achieve a truly immersive experience, we posit, such systems must satisfy a key requirement: they must be able to dynamically reframe the cameras and mix the content from the various sources on each of the available screens in order to capture the most relevant expressions in each location and appropriately represent them in the other locations. We have developed a script-based approach that allows the production team to express and refine such adaptive behaviour during development and rehearsals, as well as controlling it during the performance. We ran a successful trial of a telepresence system that implements this approach. This paper gives a brief description of the overall approach and of two key software components that control the system's behaviour, with some reflections upon the specific experience of the trial, the overall approach and further research.