Is Augmented and Virtual Reality about to Revolutionize Storytelling?

One of the world’s leading documentary filmmakers, a pioneer in multi-platform storytelling and St Cross Fellow, Anthony Geffen, held a workshop on the Future of Immersive Storytelling in May as part of the St Cross College Professionals in Residence programme.  

Anthony is a BAFTA and Emmy award winning director who, while working closing alongside Sir David Attenborough in several nature documentaries, has also produced many notable pieces such as Back to the Titanic. Using 4K cameras which later show the famous wreck in 3D thanks to software, scientists rediscovered and studied parts of the ship for the first time in 15 years. 

He explained to workshop attendees the custom technology used for that piece and others, while also giving insight into documentaries Anthony’s teams have been part of such as The Coronation, which Queen Elizabeth II herself shares memories of the ceremony for the first time.

But - alongside Alchemy Immersive director Iona MacEwen - it was exclusive insight into cutting-edge technology they have deployed and are developing which was most exciting for attendees. 

Alchemy Immersive’s award-winning content uses the most innovative technologies such as AR, VR, MR and AI to create unique and breath-taking experiences. From prehistoric animals with Sir David Attenborough to space exploration with Tim Peake. 

Using an Oculus Quest 2 headset, workshop attendees were able to study plants and critters from an insect's point of view while also seeing prehistoric animals float across their field of vision as though they were actually in the room. In another scenario, workshop attendees were strapped into the console that returned Tim Peake to Earth from the International Space Station, viewed the planet from such heights, then experienced how it feels to re-enter the atmosphere. 

This fascinating new project is a wonderful example of how technology can bring history and culture to life, and showcases the incredible innovation of the UK’s creative industries. I hope it inspires people of all ages to explore the exciting worlds that are now at their fingertips. - Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for the UK Government

Anthony’s team had a working lunch where students who got a chance to connect one-on-one with them and get in depth knowledge of this field and possible career paths in the field of immersive storytelling. 

May’s workshop followed the success of the first one held in October 2021. During which Anthony shared his inspiring journey from Oxford student to a multi-award winner film maker.  

He gave behind the scenes insight into his earlier productions and spoke about the future of AR, VR, MR and AI, and how this technology may soon be scaled to market – much like smartphones over the past ten years. 

Learn more about Anthony's exciting work at Atlantic Productions.