Imagine watching a movie from the perspective of two different characters, or reading subtitles while your friend takes in the film without the words on the screen.
They're among the possibilities with Invisivision, a new patent-pending eyewear technology from Waterloo, Ont.-based startup Pipe Dream Interactive.
“It’s a set of eyewear that allows the user who wears it to choose between two different streams of footage that they see on a screen or on a TV. It applies to gaming, advertising, film education, the works,” said Robert Bruski, chief financial officer and one of the founders of Pipe Dream Interactive.
CEO Ryan Brooks conceived the idea last July, and along with Josh Brooks and Bruski, started working on bringing the technology to life.
“If you go see a film and you’d like to see an action sequence or a racing sequence from two different characters’ perspectives, you can choose that. You can select which character to view from, rather than just from one character or a third-eye perspective,” said Bruski.
“Another example would be dual ratings. An adult can go see a film that’s rated R with blood and guts and all that, while their child that’s sitting right next to them can see the PG-rated version of that film.”
Multiple layers of images are broadcast onto the screen, and the glasses separate those layers into something the viewer can perceive. The process is similar to 3D technology, where two visual streams are projected to the viewer, and with the help of glasses, the viewer perceives them to be a single image. Currently, the Invisivision displays two 2D visual streams, but according to Bruski, another set of lenses could be added to make both visual streams 3D.
The technology is similar to that already used by video-game makers, for example Sony's SimulView, or LG's Dual Play.
Samsung is working on a similar pair of glasses for a special LED TV, to allow viewers to flip between two different streams. Their glasses use a button to flip between the streams, and have built-in headphones.
Pursuing Hollywood interests
Pipe Dream Interactive is launching a Kickstarter campaign Wednesday to fund a short film showing off its technology, starring Canadian actor Aaron Ashmore, whose credits include Smallville and Lost Girl, and J.P. Manoux, of E.R. and Community fame.
“We’re going to use that short film that we create to take down to Hollywood, and show it to the directors and producers and studio houses that have already expressed interest,” said Bruski.
The startup has a signed letter of intent from Universal, pending the successful completion of an introductory film. The company is also awaiting patent approval for the eyeglass technology.
‘There’s also been a few directors that have expressed interest, and a company out of Germany that actually wanted exclusive rights to use it, indefinitely, so there’s definitely interest for this,” said Bruski.
The technology is likely to be attractive to movie studios hoping to lure audiences back to theatres, and according to Bruski, it doesn't take any special new devices or extra work for film studios to be able to produce films using Invisivision.
‘Actually a lot of films are already filmed from multiple perspectives so that afterwards in post-production when they’re choosing which clips to use, now they can choose multiple clips. Directors have more creativity, so they can choose which way to film the film and how it’ll work out better in the end," he said.
“Same with video-gaming as well. A lot of video games, the two-player games are already split the correct way, I mean there’s always some content augmentation you can do, but more or less everything’s already ready to go.”