The Internet has a new arrival. A four-minute short film called The New Arrival is premiering this week at the Cannes Film Festival, and is also being shown for free online at AtomFilms.com.
The director, Sundance veteran Amy Talkington, created The New Arrival with computer viewers as the intended audience.
The film allows viewers to change the camera perspective in real time, thanks to a special 360 degree lens used during the filming. While viewing the film, you can click on the panoramic video image to check out an actor, peek out a window, or even look up and down as the scene progresses.
"With a great film you see in a cinema, you could get something new every time you go back and watch it," says Scott Roesch, director of Web entertainment for AtomFilms. "That experience is enhanced with this technology. There's no way to catch everything that's going on with this movie at one time. Sometimes it takes a few viewings to put the whole puzzle together."
To create the film, Talkington used a camera and software system from start-up firm Be Here Corp. The company's IVideo system has been used to create Webcasts of the Super Bowl but this is the first time a narrative film has employed the technology.
"We allow you to interact with video in a personalized way," says Ted Driscoll, president of Be Here. "It's a natural fit for someone watching a movie on the Internet."
To view the film, you must first download a 44kB add-on to RealNetworks Inc.'s RealPlayer. Along with AtomFilms and Be Here, Intel helped fund the project, and not surprisingly, the film can be viewed only on a PC running Windows.
The movie's release kicks off 360 Degrees Forward, a contest for new film ideas that would use the technology. AtomFilms will pick a winner and will then provide the technology (which typically costs about £1,500 a week to rent) for producing the film. Entries are due by June 16, 2000, and the movie premiere is slated for September.