C.a.p.e. Drop-Dog

C.a.p.e. (Computer Assisted Personal Environment) is the CREW configuration for nomadic untethered immersive “VR” experiences. The latest version, C.a.p.e. Drop-Dog, is a “VR” creation commissioned for the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016, by the Dutch Foundation of Literature (NL) and the Creative Industries Fund (NL).

CREW chose to collaborate with Tonnus Oosterhoff, an acclaimed Dutch writer and poet who pioneered internet poetry. The result is an HMD based immersive performance, entitled C.a.p.e. Drop_Dog, bringing two transformative stories that shift one’s perception about location, personal space and time.

The two 8 minute-long experiences combine 360° text and images. Text is not being used to illustrate or accompany the images, but rather as floating thoughts which, in juxtaposition with the images, make the immersant construct a narrative very much upon his own. Particular care was given to “guiding” the immersant through audio and tactile input. At this stage we choose not yet to build in interactive possibilities (choice of different paths e.g.), although this should be a strong advantage of the Unity environment.

In line with the new technological basis, a new hardware configuration for the presentation was developed by iMinds, it was funded outside of the Dreamspace project. The new backpack configuration comprises a tablet (instead of a portable PC) and a cellular-phone based HMD (instead of an Oculus/HTC type), and uses the internal trackers and gyroscopes of the tablet and those of the phone and HMD (instead of external IMU’s on head and shoulder). As well the technology developed for the remote control application which is running on a tablet attached to the backpack. This application uses WP5T2 HPV technology to synchronize 4K video to what the viewer is seeing inside his headset. The synchronization is done wireless, since the Samsung GEAR VR is a self-contained device. This approach allowed for a precise frame-sync between the source, since the HPV player allows for real-time seeking without any delay. The recording and capture was carried out with a mobile and lightweight version of iMinds’ 360° camera, and its new editing and post-production software.

The immersive experience was performed for the first time in Brussels and in Amsterdam with a group composed of the commissioners, professional audiences and a selection of festival programmers. A first public preview of C.a.p.e. Drop_Dog was performed at Oerol Festival 2016 (NL) and Cultura Nova 2016 (NL).