Block: An XR Scenographic Tool

Project partners: Megaverse and University of Leeds

Megaverse is an internationally acclaimed interactive content studio based in Sheffield. They harness the latest digital technologies to craft unique real-time user-centric interactive experiences. 

Together with academics from the University of Leeds and funding from XR Stories, Megaverse developed an AR scenographic tool, Block. The tool is designed to help theatre practitioners and live performance creators co-design spaces and scenes with the help of augmented reality (AR).

During the research phase, Megaverse carried out workshops with the support of Dr Joslin McKinney from the University of Leeds. The workshops helped the project team to understand production challenges and key wishlist functionality. It also informed the development process, ensuring the AR scenographic tool was fit for purpose and met the needs of theatre practitioners and industry professionals.

Block acted as a translation tool between technical and non-technical creative teams, to speed up the production workflow. Using the latest Apple AR devices, directors and theatre makers were able to collaboratively create the foundations of a 3D set, and see their design in the real world with AR. The app design was simple enough for anyone to start build structural forms on. The sketched-out scene could be edited and reshaped in real-time, providing flexibility and allowing for the spontaneity of the rehearsal process. Finally, the scene could be exported and developed into a full-scale 3D model.

The project has shown that Block could have a wider use outside of theatre, with potential applications in 3D game design, architecture and exhibition planning.

Ben Carlin, director, and industry partner on this project, says:

“Block has successfully demonstrated how production teams can save time and money by interacting with theatre set designs in augmented reality before committing to a final decision. By removing the barriers of ‘real world’ limitations and harnessing the flexibility of AR, Block will enable greater scope for innovative storytelling.

We see this XR Stories funded tool as the first of many as we continue to develop our suite of products to enhance live and online experiences.”

Categories: Performance, Technology