Shaun the Sheep in Shanghai: A Location-based, Mixed Reality Cinema Experience

Imagine sitting in a cinema where a new “Shaun the Sheep” short is playing; yet the audience will be sitting in an auditorium that is digitally enhanced and art directed to look like it is part of the film. Characters will leave the two-dimensional canvas to continue their story in the auditorium space.

This project, funded by the AHRC, proposes a new partnership between the Centre of Architecture and the Visual Arts (CAVA), Aardman, China Media Capital (CMC) and the Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA) that is the basis for a new alliance between the UK and CCI/Media organisations in the Shanghai region. The aim of this a research/industry partnership is to collaborate on a unique, location-based, mixed reality cinema experience in a specially designed theatre in Shanghai.

Shaun the Sheep is already a global entertainment brand known principally for its linear, animated, non-dialogue content (movies; TV series). This project will therefore focus on technical, creative and business innovation rather than on audience acquisition. It will also put Aardman at the forefront of developing innovation, new methods, new knowledge and, through creating new audiences, access to a new market.

In terms of technological innovation, the team will seek a collaboration with partners in the UK and China. By using mixed reality technology (e.g. holograms tracked by computer vision), the project envisions to blur the traditional boundaries between the screen and cinema space, creating a new “narrative space” in which audiences are part of and feel fully immersed.

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