How To: Control a Movie Plot with Your Emotions

Control a Movie Plot with Your Emotions

Not in the mood for a sappy ending? Well, strap in because "Emotional Response Cinema Technology" lets your own body physiology control the movie music, the special effects, and even the movie ending. A collaboration between BioControl Systems, Filmtrip, and the Sonic Arts Research Center at Queen's University Belfast, the technology was recently showcased at the SXSW film festival in Austin, TX, where the newly minted horror film Unsound interacted with the audience through wires connected to their fingertips. Viewers say it was less than fantastic cinema, but that the real wow was in the potential of the technology.

The fingertip sensors pick up pulse rate and measure the amount of moisture on fingertips. For decades, scientists have used these body reactions as standard signs that a person is experiencing some kind of emotion. If a chase scene in Battle: Los Angeles begins to quicken your pulse, Emotional Response Technology might trigger techno music to get you going even more. If you're a scaredy-cat and the ghosts in Scooby Doo make you sweat, the movie might respond with a less-than-frightful ending to calm your nerves.

Makers of the technology refused to comment on exactly what emotions triggered which responses in the film. But, Filmtrip producer Gawain Morrison told the audience:

"We all attend movies because we want to experience various emotions—the joy, the sorrow, the anticipation. By experimenting with emotional response and making the audience a part of the film, who knows where we could go?"

Just think—in 10 years when you go to the movies, you might have another option: old fashioned 2D, 3D, or "Choose your own adventure." And, for the movies available in emotional response format, you get a different movie every time you see it.

SOURCE Culture Lab

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