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What Does it Feel Like to Be Immersed in Video?

projection light lighting design architecture video immersive environment experimental installation "Focus Lighting"

In honor of the arrival of Spring (at least according to the calendar, maybe not the thermometer), our office recently held a party for friends and family to debut an experimental installation we’ve been working on that immerses visitors in an ever-changing video environment.

As lighting and video become increasingly more intertwined in everything from theatrical design to architectural media facades to the mobile devices we carry around, this installation poses the question: what does it feel like to be immersed in an environment created entirely with video?

projection light lighting design architecture video immersive environment experimental installation "Focus Lighting"

For this particular event, the video content was thematically related to Spring (flowers, nature, landscapes, etc.), but occasionally branched out into other areas such as panoramic cityscapes, abstract moving backgrounds, and projected architecture.  I was responsible for finding and programming the video content using Dataton Watchout software.

The event, as expected, delivered many more questions than answers.  For instance, it was fascinating to see the ebb and flow of guests in and out of the room as the “wallpaper” changed from static images to moving video; although, since we placed food in one room and drinks in the other, it was hard to tell if the movement of people was due to the video content or their need for liquid refreshment!  Several of my coworkers and I tried to directly manipulate the movement of people by making the background of the room more, or less, attractive. While the results weren’t definitive it was certainly interesting to watch. Little did our guests know they would be subject to a sociological experiment at our party! (Insert villainous laugh here.)

A big thank you goes out to the friends and family who served as our “guinea pigs” for this trial event. We received a lot of helpful feedback, and we look forward to using what we’ve learned from this experience to continue to design beautiful and interesting environments.  Here’s hoping our “Spring Fling” will bring some actual warm weather soon!

projection light lighting design architecture video immersive environment experimental installation "Focus Lighting"

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