Taking interactive events to the Next Level

We spoke to Alessandro Pula our Executive Producer of Creative Technology, about the current landscape of interactive experiences, how we use new technologies to complement a narrative, and what the future holds for these spaces.
Thought August 20, 2021

Over the last few months, we have seen brands rushing in to create interactive experiences that are fully virtual, where live physical interaction once stood.

It’s natural to think of these as a one-to-one replacement of the physical event, but are there other ways to bring events to life online? Can technology help enable us to find new forms of storytelling and push the envelope of how people can interact with these experiences?

The Tomorrowland Festival online experience and the latest Ariana Grande’s experience on Fortnite showed us a new direction. The first one was interesting because it took a very known event to a completely different level of entertainment at a moment in time when people where stuck in lockdown, showing everyone that something different was possible, all by using WebGL.

The second one because it was more than just a one-off experience. A very complex world was built, where people can interact with each other, buy merchandise, etc. even after the main event is done. Furthermore, they both help us make the case that technology is not a constraint anymore.

We can finally focus on delivering deeply immersive experiences, focus on what the story is and helps us in pushing the boundaries of our visual craftsmanship, developing the stunning visuals The Mill is renowned for.

We have worked with our clients in finding new and innovative ways of expanding their reach into new audiences, crafting stories, and building worlds that are truly interactive and that take full advantage of the new technologies and platforms available to us.

We have access to a plethora of technologies that can help us bring an event to life, online or not, as well as physical exhibitions for art institutions, but it’s about finding the right combination of technologies to solve a particular problem. It’s all about us connecting with our audience then them, in turn, connecting with our installations, which ultimately takes them to a place where interacting becomes natural. We always let the story lead and when the available tech is not sufficient to reach our goal, we develop our own tools.

For the Death Stranding installation, for example, we had to work with the very deep concepts of separation, connection, and solitude on which the game is based upon, but we had to find a different way to tell that story. We had to make it ours too. We took advantage of existing technology in new ways, allowing us to create a huge and yet very precise touch surface otherwise difficult to achieve and used our tools to develop content that was a mix between interactive data visualisation and linear content.

The sheer size of the install was also a challenge. We had two connecting, six by three metres interactive walls to take care of. They ran two different types of content, powered by two separate engines, one of which had very specific, bespoke physical simulations.

Kojima Productions and The Mill, 2021 Photo credits: Marina Bay Sands

We have reached a point where standard technology is powerful enough to allow a wide audience to have a lot of fun interacting with very complex, interactive content. 5G will soon make things even more interesting and exciting.

Volumetric capture, Virtual Production, real-time photorealistic rendering, Augmented Reality, AI—these are all technologies that allow for an extreme level of immersion in alternative interactive realities. We love playing with all of them and take full advantage of The Mill’s VFX legacy as well as our creative, and live-action production capabilities.

Soon, interacting with an art piece, whether it’s an artefact exhibition, a dance performance or a concert will be available as a physical experience as well as an interactive virtual one, which will expand brands’ and art institutions’ capabilities in reaching out to new audiences, globally, in the most surprising ways, pushing the boundaries of their physical location.

Alessandro Pula, Executive Producer, Creative Technology

Get in touch with the Experience team to find out how we can transport your audience through live and virtual events.