African american man in vr glasses, watching 360 degree video with virtual reality headset isolated on black background. Source: Adobe Stock
Technologically enhanced theater performance now extends beyond sound and light effects.
First Made-in-Taiwan VR experimental theater
Taiwan brings on the first interactive and immersive experimental theater show –“Kaleidoscope,” at the National Theatre and Concert Hall.
The technology behind was built from the ground up by tech companies convened by Industrial Technology Research Institute(ITRI). Audiences can expect to walk in the theater and see the show by the third quarter next year once infrastructures are matured.
Fully made from the ground up, the show is conducted in a combination of VR 8K 360 video, flowing to a 4K high-resolution live streaming of multiple angles broadcast upon the audiences’ selection of the roles’ perspective.
With VR 360 video technology, the show begins with an 8k high-resolution animation taken place at the bottom of the sea, and whales swimming around.
A lively, first-person perspective makes audiences feel much more present via the VR 360 video, bringing immersive and interactive content closer to reality.
After the first scene, a 4K high-resolution live streaming brings audiences to the second scene. Audiences can freely choose from which character’s perspective to view from on a tablet to genuinely be part of their ventures and eventually, audiences are brought back to reality inside the theater hall where the ending is eventually revealed.
5G technology allows exploration for new performing arts territories
Technology breaks free from physical limitations and sets a new era for art performances. Taking advantage of 5G technology allowing for a seamless virtual and reality combination.
ITRI convened Taiwanese tech companies including Alpha Networks Inc, Compal Electronics, and Quanta Computer to set up the 5G technology infrastructures and the VR headsets. Under the 5G connection, 8K resolution could achieve a low 0.4-second latency rate to create in-person experiences closer to reality.
National Theatre and Concert Hall contributed to the stage design and art performances. The script was written by Chih-Keng Chuang, specifically designed with 5G networks, virtual reality technology, and multiple angle broadcasting features.
No longer confined to a single perspective
Audiences are no longer confined to the director’s single perspective, but could freely switch roles alongside the play, altogether creating an innovative digital theater narrative.
The chosen 5G frequency band was 4.8GHz and 4.9 GHz instead of the regular 3.5 GHz. Compal Electronics and ITRI developed compatible VR glasses and RF modules particularly for the base station as a result.
Head of Industrial Technology Department, Chyou-Huey Chiou, says the demonstrative show is just the beginning to see what could be achieved. Starting from next year, fully Taiwan-made equipment and systems will become more mature. The interactive/immersive theater will officially be brought to the audiences by the third quarter of next year.