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Title: Filmmaking of the future: A co-design-led investigation into the potential of immersive technologies to enhance the small and medium audiovisual production processes
Other Titles: Filmmaking of the future
Authors: Bodini, Aimone
Advisors: Garaj, V
Manohar, A
Keywords: Virtual Reality;Augmented Reality;Collaboration;Tool;Affordability
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: In common with many other fields, the audiovisual (AV) industry is being transformed by the use of real-time graphics engines in combination with immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This technological mixture enables what is known as virtual production (VP) and introduces professionals to numerous new ways of creating AV content. However, VP is still in a relatively early stage and there are various barriers to democratization that must be overcome if these technologies are to become widely used in the industry. Specifically, there is a need to promote and identify the best ways to facilitate the uptake of the technologies within the context of independent small and medium productions (SMPs). The main aim underscoring this PhD project is to investigate how VP can enhance the process of independent SMPs; the key output is a set of recommendations for implementing VP into current production practices. Recommendations are based upon a new VP process that focuses on immersive pre-visualization of filming locations. This process is enabled by using affordable, accessible, and easy-to-use immersive technologies to support creativity, communication, and collaboration during the pre-production phase of an AV product. Unlike previous studies in the field, this work was performed by adopting a co-design approach whereby professionals were actively engaged in and contributed to the research by sharing their valuable knowledge, creative ideas, and feedback. The overall methodological framework adopted to develop the research was design research methodology (DRM). The PhD project comprises five consecutive and interdependent studies: In the first study, the working habits, challenges, and perceptions towards VP were explored through a series of semi-structured interviews with professionals who performed different roles within SMPs. This stage contributed to the initial understanding of the SMPs' operational context and the identification of the basic user requirements for adopting VP. The second study involved a new sample of professionals who engaged in a series of remote co-design workshops that validated the findings from the previous stage. This study also introduced into the project the method of design fiction, a process in which participants are prompted to conceptualise possible and probable ideas for the future use of VP in their work. This second study generated 14 initial scenarios on how alternative VP processes can benefit SMPs. In the third study, ideas from the second study were merged and extended into three highly detailed design fiction scenarios that were presented in an online questionnaire. The data collected from professionals who responded to the questionnaire allowed to identify the scenario considered to be the most valuable and worthwhile of being developed in practice. In the fourth study, a practical prototype was designed and developed based on the detailed scenario from the third study to aid professionals in the pre-production phase of an AV project. The prototype was then evaluated in person by different teams of professionals who employed it in a simulated alternative VP-enabled process. The prototype and process were seen as useful and ready to be implemented in a real-world environment. The fifth study encompassed the final stage of the project, which involved self-reflection on the practical prototype as well as the process developed and evaluated in the fourth study. Accordingly, a set of recommendations based on the all the previous studies, was generated for the design of future VP processes for SMPs. Overall, this exploratory research contributes to better understanding of an emerging area of investigation – VP applied to SMPs – and highlights the urgency for further research activities.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
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Brunel Design School Theses

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