A world-first cinematic experience that seeks to fully immerse its participants in its story will premiere at the University of Salford’s MediaCity campus this month.
Vera’s Not Alone is a new ground-breaking film installation from the University’s own Dr Pavel Prokopic. It uses cinematic techniques to blur the line between the real and the imaginary.
Premiering for public view from Tuesday 27 June, the film is Dr Prokopic’s first example of using his Nested Cinema concept, which is interdisciplinary practice-as-research that is inspired by and builds upon art cinema traditions.
The concept involves “presenting the film to its audience through multiple distinct layers of the cinematic experience that provides an immersive experience for the viewer which blurs the boundaries between the physical and the virtual.”
In practical terms, this means using filmed content displayed on screens in a location that brings the world of the film to life, cinematic virtual reality (provided through VR headsets) to bring the audience further into the story and the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology through sound and lighting devices within the installation space to ensure that the participant becomes fully immersed in the narrative.
The narrative follows the character Vera who we meet in an apocalyptic environment and soon discover that she is not alone.
Dr Prokopic, lecturer in film at the University of Salford said: “This is a world first. The whole concept of Nested Cinema is a completely new approach in which you bring your audience through multiple layers to experience film in a new way that will be fully immersive. It combines the real advantages of using virtual reality in the performance and utilising smart devices, specifically lighting, to creating a truly unique environment.
“I hope that each audience member gets a deeper and more profound experience of film as a result. It is a real showcase of what cinema can achieve, the atmosphere that it creates and what it means for its audiences.”
The intimate setting for audiences to take part in the 15-minute installation is an atmospheric interior space in the Development Lab of the University’s MediaCity campus building.
It has been developed by Dr Prokopic, who created, wrote and directed the installation, alongside the Creative Technology Labs team in Technical Services and fellow academic colleagues based at the University’s School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.
Dr Prokopic added: “It has been super important to have the support of my colleagues at the University to deliver this exciting new project. Multiple people have made a big contribution, especially Jayne Sayer, who designed the installation set and flexible lighting atmospheres as well as Roger McKinley, John Joseph and Jake Orton from the Creative Tech Labs team.
“As it is such a new idea, there have been a few challenges but I have had a lot of support around me to find the solutions to them.”
As the project can be transported, Dr Prokopic is hoping that in the event that the installation is a success, it could be exhibited elsewhere across the UK.
The installation will have a private preview on Monday 26 June from 5pm and will then be available to the public from Tuesday 27 June until Friday 30 June, opening to visitors from 10am until 5pm.