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Cinematic 3D

Over the last two decades 3D has emerged as a popular way to spatially represent. So far, there are some problems that keep re-occurring: confusion in orientation, cumbersome or unnatural navigation, and emotional detachment to the characters and the situations [Bares, Christianson, Darken, Deol Kaur, He, Hunt & Waller, Marsh, Schnabel, Tomlinson]. Interestingly, these same types of problems have been faced by filmmakers for more than hundred years and the ìlanguage of cinemaî has gradually evolved and resulted in a set of rules and conventions so widely accepted they have become more or less transparent. We want to further investigate if cinema conventions can support construction and interaction in 3D environments. We approach this along two routes, the first being more practical, and the second more explorative:

1. Can conventions derived from cinema support orientation and navigation in 3D environments?

2. Can conventions derived from cinema support experience and enjoyment in 3D environments?

The similarities between cinematic and 3D representations have been both noted and implemented in different ways. Numerous 3D games have implemented aspects from cinema, such as introductory credits, framing, edited sequences, and so on [Manovich]. In fact, even the tools for constructing 3D scenes includes cinematic features like dolly, track and zoom buttons [Manovich]. Research has focused on automated cinematography [Bares, Christianson, Drucker, He, Marsh, Tomlinson], and possibilities for interactive narratives inspired by cinematic representation [Laurel, Tomlinson], and the supposed inherent possibility of 3D to be immersive and that it promotes a sense of presence, both of which have counterparts in cinema [Slater, Smith, Witmer]. In the next sections weíll present some earlier examples coupled with our approach to the specific problems.

Orientation and Navigation
This is the most often noted problem in 3D environments, commonly referred to as ìlost in cyberspaceî. Orientation is our awareness of the space around us, including the location of important objects in the environment [Darken, Hunt & Waller]. Cinema has developed a whole range of conventions linked to depicting and representing space, e.g. establishing shots, 180æ rule, point-of-view shots, examples of which all belong to the concept of continuity [Arijon, Bordwell, Reisz, Salt]. We want to explore the effects of automating some shot positions in real-time, specifically to support orientation and to compare this with the common first person-view in conjunction with map-use. After orienting, users in 3D environments starts to navigate [Tomlinson]. A closely related concept is wayfinding, which depends on the user being oriented [Darken, Hunt & Waller]. Furthermore, many of the problems refer to the different input methods deployed, but we focus on whatís on the screen. There are guidelines emerging regarding use of colour, shapes, textures, and lighting [Deol Kaur, Manovich]. Weíll focus on visual linking, match-on-action, overlapping sound, and framing to support memory of visited places and an ongoing understanding of where you are and where youíre going [Arijon, Bordwell, Branigan, Reisz, Salt].

Experience and Enjoyment
Itís been noted that inhabiting a 3D environment often is boring [Tomlinson]. There are of course many aspects to that problem, many of which refer to awkwardness in handling (e.g. orientation and navigation) and weíll focus on dramaturgical functions such as contrasting (imagery and audio) and montage (editing that suggests active interpretation instead of supporting continuity alone) [Branigan, Deleuze, Eisenstein, Laurel]. Can a greater interest in the characters and the situations be supported via these means without interfering with the immersive aspects or the sense of presence [Laurel, Moser, Slater, Smith, Witmer]?


Arijon, D., Grammar of Film Language,

Aumont, J., The Image,

Bares, W. H., Lester, J. C., Cinematographic User Models for Automated Realtime Camera Control in Dynamic 3D Environments,

Bares, W. H., Lester, J. C., Intelligent Multi-Shot Visualization Interfaces for Dynamic 3D Worlds,

Bares, W. H., Lester, J. C., Zettlemoyer, L. S., Rodriguez, D. W., Task-Sensitive Cinematography Interfaces, for Interactive 3D Learning Environments,

Bares, W. H., Lester, J. C., GrÈgoire, J. P., Realtime Constraint-Based Cinematography for Complex Interactive 3D Worlds,

Bordwell, D., Staiger, J., Thompson, K., The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960,

Bordwell, D., Thompson, K., Film Art: An Introduction,

Bordwell, D., Making Meaning,

Bordwell, D., Narration in the Fiction Film,

Bowman, D. A., Kruijff, E., LaViola, Jr, J. J., Poupyrev, I., An Introduction to 3-D User Interface Design,

Branigan, E., Narrative Comprehension and Film,

Christianson, D. B., Anderson, S. E., He, L., Salesin, D. H., Weld, D. S., Cohen, M. F., Declarative Camera Control for Automatic Cinematography,

Darken, R. P., Sibert, J. L., Wayfinding Strategies and Behaviors in Large Virtual Worlds,

Deleuze, G., Cinema 1: The Movement-Image,

Deleuze, G., Cinema 2: The Time-Image,

Deol Kaur, K., Designing Virtual Environments for Usability,

Dos Santos, C. R., Gros, P., Abel, P., Paris, J. P., Metaphor-Aware 3D Navigation,

Drucker, S. M., Zeltzer, D., Intelligent Camera Control in a Virtual Environment,

Drucker, S. M., Zeltzer, D., CamDroid: A System for Implementing Intelligent Camera Control,

Eisenstein, S., Film Form: Essays in Film Theory,

Elsaesser, T., ed., Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative,

He, L., Cohen, M. F., Salesin, D. H., The Virtual Cinematographer: A Paradigm for Automatic Real-Time Camera Control and Directing,

Hunt, E., Waller, D., Orientation and Wayfinding: A Review,

Laurel, B., Strickland, R., Tow, R., Placeholder: Landscape and Narrative in Virtual Environments,

Manovich, L., Cinema as a Cultural Interface,

Manovich, L., Navigable Spaces,

Marsh, T. and Smith, S. P., Guiding User Navigation in Virtual Environments Using Awareness of Virtual Off-Screen Space,

Marsh, T. and Wright, P. Using Cinematography Conventions to Inform Guidelines For the Design and Evaluation of Virtual Off-Screen Space,

Moser, A., MacLeod, D., ed., Immersed in Technology,

Reisz, K., Miller, G., The Technique of Film Editing,

Salt, Barry, Film Style and Technology,

Schnabel, M. A., Thomas, K., 3D Maze: Getting Lost in Virtual Reality,

Schumie, M. J., Van der Stratten, P., Krijn, M., Van der Mast, C. A. P. G., Research on Presence in VR: A Survey,

Smith, S., Marsh, T., Duke, D., Wright, P., Drowning in Immersion,

Slater, M., Measuring Presence: A Response to the Witmer and Singer Presence Questionnaire,

Slater, M., Wilbur S., A Framework for Immersive Virtual Environments (FIVE): Speculations on the Role of Presence in Virtual Environments,

Tomlinson, B., Blumberg, B., Nain, D., Expressive Autonomous Cinematography for Interactive Virtual Environments,

Tomlinson, B., Interactivity and Emotion Through Cinematography,

Witmer, B. G., Singer, M. J., Measuring Presence in Virtual Environments: A Presence Questionnaire,


Uppdaterade 2003-03-05

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Point-of-view and framing are two important tools in cinematic representations. North By Northwest (1959).