As part of the ACTS Concertation Meeting, 16-18 February, a Workshop was hosted by the European Commission to explore future directions for new media in the areas of technology, content creation, services, applications, and new business areas for European industry. What are the areas that the work programme of Framework 5 should seek to address in the area of new media?
The programme agenda was as follows and was chaired by Fernando Pereira.
1. Introduction (Eric Badique, EC ACTS Programme)
2. Telepresence and Shared VE's (David Leevers, BICC)
3. Technology for Content Creation (Richard Storey, BBC)
4. The Future of New Media (Rae Earnshaw, University of Bradford)
5. Open Discussion and Conclusions
In the area of multimedia services there are currently around 60 projects funded by ACTS. These are concerned with the management and manipulation of multimedia content, interactive distribution and transmission, and the development of services.
Developments in 3D, virtual reality, telepresence, coding, computer vision, and technology convergence are all creating a framework for the future that we should capitalise on. In addition, Europe's content assets can be linked into the technology for content - whether animation, games, miniaturisation, access, search, control, management, or new languages. Entertainment is taking on new forms of context, structure and aesthetics via virtual actors, motion painting, and cubist cinema.
The ACTS SIC Chain (Service Integration - Content) aims to bring together the relevant ACTS projects in this area (e.g. 3D acquisition, virtual environments, restoration of film and media, virtual and distributed studios, and museums) and distil out generic guidelines and best practice recommendations. Areas to be covered include:
The Information Society Technologies Programme (IST) from 1998-2002 will receive 3.36 billion ECU for funding work in the key action areas:
Projects in the SID Chain covered the following generic areas:
The BT Laboratories "Shared Spaces" project is currently exploring our relationship to real and virtual space.
Generic guidelines have currently been produced for:
Current user interfaces do not enable the user to be fully creative. The emphasis is on the technology rather than being designed for the content to be accessed. For example, in general voice or gesture from the user are not utilised. Today we are largely using "new" technology for old things in old ways.
We have recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the cinema. History illustrates that it took many years for tools to develop that would effectively handle the language the cinema was using (illusion, montage, close-up, reproduction, sound, colour, wide screen, digital compositing) and enable the viewer to understand and relate to the story without thinking of the medium being used to present it.
Similarly multimedia technology needs to get to the point where the user interacts with the content without being aware of the medium being used to present it. Currently multimedia is being used to present traditional materials but allowing rather more interaction (e.g. computer-based training and simulation) than was possible before.
Games are an area where the technology is utilised directly to maximise the user's interaction with the content. Thus content (i.e. potential user sales) is driving the technological development and design.
Content makes the impact and is the product of the creative process. Technology should assist directly in this process and in the mediation to the user.
In the future, content creators should be able to move from storyline to media product via on-line metadata. Dramatised CNN could generate immediate spin-offs in media other than TV. Advanced interfaces, intelligent agents, and speech are all areas where investment of time and effort will improve the quality of our access to, and creation of, tomorrow's content.
The new media axis is from Technology and through the gap between People and Content.
In the area of communication, "one to one" and "one to many" had been covered. However, "many to one" had not been covered.
University of Bradford