Yorkshire companies leading the way at prestigious international festival

A number of Yorkshire-based companies have helped cement the region’s growing reputation as one of the most creative and forward-thinking areas in the world.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is a world-famous festival held in Austin, Texas and attended by thousands of delegates from around the world. The event celebrates the confluence of technology, education, film, music and culture. Held in March each year, it features sessions, music and comedy showcases, film screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities.

This year, a number of innovative companies from Yorkshire and the Humber attended the event, firmly cementing the region as the place to be for cutting edge digital technology, XR and production.

Two companies showcased projects developed through the XR Stories and WarnerMedia R&D challenge, 5G Futures. Prox & Reverie, a Doncaster-based next-generation immersive media, product development and technology company, provided festival delegates with a taster of INTERCHANGE, a portable physical doorway system capable of connecting worlds that allows audiences to step into virtual realms. Watch their Audience of the Future Live @ SXSW session.

Charisma.ai is an award-winning technology that powers digital humans, so that audiences can talk to them, and they talk back. Their projects change the nature of storytelling itself, casting audiences inside stories alongside the characters, enabling a new level of immersion. Their 5G Futures project welcomed audiences into a virtual world where they talked to characters using natural language, and changed the narrative as a result. At their Audience of the Future Live @ SXSW session, the company presented Steppenwolf: From Virtual Production to the Metaverse, exploring how they took the multi-million dollar CGI model of The Justice League’s Steppenwolf and repurposed it into a real-time immersive experience ready for the Metaverse.

Both companies were well received at the festival for their potential to break new ground in interactive storytelling and set a new standard for immersive experiences.

XR Stories supported company, Production Park, the world’s premier campus for live events, film and TV based in Wakefield, delivered the live production support for the music part of UK House @ SXSW. Production Park recently played host to the XR Stories and SIGN event demystifying virtual production, alongside industry partner XPLOR. Production Park also supported Northern Ballet with their XR Stories extended-reality R&D project, helping the company develop immersive experiences based on their repertoire of popular narrative ballet.

West Yorkshire based Live Cinema UK hosted the panel session, Headsets Make Us Throw Up, exploring the immersive environments that allow 360 degree and VR content to be consumed by a collective audience. They also joined a number of panel discussions throughout the festival. Live Cinema UK is a unique organisation that brings artists, exhibitors, distributors and producers closer together to create experiential cinema events. The organisation received funding from XR Stories’ Surround Stories Lab project to develop content for fulldomes and erect a temporary, portable fulldome to allow artists to develop their work in the Yorkshire region for the first time.

Photo credit: SXSW, Sara Strick

Published on 31 March 2022

Filed under: Conference, R&D Projects, XR Stories