Nova Scotia

NSCAD video dome offers new interactive experience

Researchers at NSCAD University have pulled back the curtain on a new immersive video experience.

Second version will be double the size and built on the Halifax waterfront

NSCAD University's dome project uses five projectors and a single continuous piece of fabric to surround the audience. (Brett Ruskin / CBC)

Researchers at NSCAD University have unveiled a three-dimensional video prototype, technology that will form the platform of a new interactive experience on the Halifax waterfront. 

The Dome Project has built a 7.6-metre dome with five video projectors inside. The individual video feeds are digitally stitched together to create one uniform projection that encapsulates the audience.

'Story all around them'

"When you tell stories in an immersive context, you're allowing the person who's watching the story to decide what they're watching," said Jac Gautreau, the Dome Project's creative producer.

"They're being told the story all around them. So they become the director. They can choose what it is that they're focusing on," he said.

NSCAD and ExSpherience, an immersive entertainment provider, are collaborating on the project.

Organizers plan to unveil a dome that's twice as large later this year on the Halifax waterfront. A specific location hasn't been announced yet, but the temporary installation should be complete by this fall.

Much of the dome video technology exists in other cities, but this project adds an extra component.

Animated character interacts with audience

Gautreau said they have used the dome to project a giant animated character on screen that interacts with the audience. Hidden outside the dome, an actor wears a motion-capture suit and watches a live feed of the audience.

The actor's movements dictate the motion of the on-screen character, meaning the actor can point at and speak to specific people inside the dome.

"The actor is able to interact in real time," Gautreau said. "They're able to ask the audience to do things — to get their reaction — and change the story based on their reaction." 

Dome open to public next month

Members of the public will be invited to experience the dome next month at NSCAD's Academy Campus as part of Doors Open Halifax. The event runs June 4-5 and offers one-day access to historic sites, government buildings and institutions that are usually off-limits to the general public.

Jac Gautreau, creative producer, demonstrates how on-screen characters can interact with audience members inside the video dome. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

About the Author

Brett Ruskin


Brett Ruskin is a reporter and videojournalist covering everything from local breaking news to national issues. He's based in Halifax.