Pushing technology
October 26, 2015

Exciting things are happening at NSCAD’s Academy Building. Home to NSCAD’s Media Arts Program, state-of-the-art facilities within the historic 1878 building include a screening room, soundstage, animation lab, and just recently, a sound production suite.

Those kinds of facilities—and the chance to collaborate with students and faculty—have attracted Fiona and Brookes Diamond of Brookes Diamond Productions. The R&D unit of the Atlantic Canadian entertainment company has set up camp in the Academy Building to test interactive immersive technology as they build a new show on Canada’s multicultural heritage for Canada’s 150th birthday.

Within a research facility facing Citadel Hill, Brookes Diamond Productions has set up “The Dome Project,” a prototype for an immersive and interactive facility for a new way of storytelling. With a 7.5 metre (25’) diameter and 4.6 metres (14’) in height, the geodesic dome functions as a 360-degree screen and completely occupies the room.

Professors David Clark (left) and Bruce Barber (right) flank Fiona and Brookes Diamond of Brookes Diamond Productions inside the dome set up at NSCAD's Academy Building.
The Dome Project “challenges the way we think about screens, audiences, and storytelling,” says Ann-Barbara Graff, Vice-President Academic and Research, at NSCAD University. “This is forefront technology and we’re quite happy to see it here at NSCAD. After all, it’s artists who will really test and challenge this way of storytelling, and transform how we experience immersive spaces in the future.”

Brookes Diamond Productions approached NSCAD after hearing about 2b Theatre’s collaborative research project with Professor David Clark this summer. The project involved applying new technologies to performing arts and storytelling, and included video projection mapping, motion tracking, physical computing, model building, theatrical staging and interactive installation work.

“I ran into Anthony Black (2b Theatre’s artistic c-director) and heard about what was going on,” says says Fiona Diamond, Vice-President of Brookes Diamond Productions. “I thought, ‘oh my gosh, we have to start the conversation … the creative community is so collaborative and that excites us.”

Professor Bruce Barber, chair of NSCAD’s Media Arts Division, says he’s interested to see how the show will develop and will help to facilitate any opportunities its development presents for students.

“We look forward to this collaboration and to the exciting creative possibilities that the Dome provides NSCAD faculty and students in the coming months."