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Immersing the audience, atomising news

An augmented reality project aiming to bring heritage and cultural artefacts into the audience’s homes is being demonstrated in IBC’s Future Zone.

Over the past two years, BBC R&D has been examining VR, AR and other immersive technologies and as part of this launched an interactive 360 audio and video application, BBC Taster VR.

The app allows production teams to use light interactivity in the form of hotspots, plus immersive audio to tell stories that are impossible with linear 360. The company is also examining WebVR as a creation and delivery technology.

Also on show is Newsbeat Explains, a mobile-first prototype aimed at younger audiences who broadcasters are typically finding harder to reach.

The prototype is part of BBC R&D’s research on atomised news, which involves breaking down key aspects of a story into smaller, reusable, self-contained pieces of information loosely linked together by rich metadata.

Atomising content enables non-linear and contextual content experiences. The pilot was built using existing news production systems and stories were written by BBC journalists, proving to be such a success that the atomised format was used in the BBC’s recent UK General Election coverage.

The second prototype looks at ways of creating atomised-style videos in multiple lengths from existing content sources and articles not written with atomisation in mind.

The concept takes headlines, dates, standfirsts and other sources of structured data and reassembles them to make adaptable video summaries so they fit a user’s preference, context or situation.