Italy and Burkina Faso together on one virtual stage

Italy and Burkina Faso, West Africa were joined together on one virtual stage in real time, via satellite at the recent Festa del Cinema held in Rome, Italy. The successful demonstration was part of the ESA-sponsored project known as ISIDE.

ISIDE intends to develop, implement and validate a satellite based system of N- (Networked) Cinema, oriented at providing a range of services and applications in the field of D- (Digital) and E- (Electronic) Cinema.

The demonstration, called Global Stage, is part of ISIDE's framework to provide an example of linking two groups of actors in the same scene in real time. Using a three-dimensional virtual stage design inspired by Federico Fellini's Book of Magic, Italian director Carlo Lizzani, applauded the use of such technology.

"Global Stage is pure innovation," said Lizzani. "I hope to be able to repeat such an example between Tibet and the West, Israel and Palestine."

Global Stage was a demonstration of old and new. While its purpose was to show the latest efforts in presenting digital cinema, the story told on stage was a message of ecology.

"The show was about an ancient myth from Burkina about the creation of the world," explains Francesco Feliciani, ESA technical officer for ISIDE. "The actors presented the traditional story about the impact of man on the environment, illustrating the catastrophic effects caused by mankind when overusing power. It was really remarkable to see the relevance of such a primordial story.

"Through the presence of ancestral elements in a futuristic virtual environment, and the link between two different troupes of actors distant thousands of kilometres, the Global Stage event has demonstrated how huge separations in space and time can be nullified through the combination of art and technology.  We are really delighted for having seen the satellite being an essential element of this exciting experience."

Actors from Burkina and Italy took part in the demonstration. Although they were thousands of miles apart, the actors were joined together on the virtual stage.

Actors from Burkina and Italy took part in the demonstration, joined together on the
virtual stage.

A behind-the scenes look at the technical side of such a performance

For those watching the performance in Rome, the audience could see the actors from Rome working in front of the blue stage as well as see the end result projected on screens above the actors' heads. The presentation also combined recorded elements along with real-time elements.

A permanent validation platform for N-Cinema is the objective of the ISIDE project. This is expected to take place over the next two years. The objective will be to validate and promote different forms of exploitation of the theatres, ranging from featuring digital movies, digital advertising and alternative contents to live events, shows in virtual reality and interactive applications. The project would also optimize and validate new European standards in order to provide a complete and working platform for digital entertainment distribution.

The N-Cinema platform will become an asset open to third parties interested in developing, testing and validating innovative applications targeted at digital theatres.

ISIDE now moves into the Pilot phase and Market Validation phase. Final review of the project is expected in 2009. For more information, see the links located in the top right column of this page.

Event Date

24 October 2007
Published 02 November 2007
Last updated at 02 November 2007 - 16:40