By Danfung Dennis
My technology startup Condition ONE evolved from the inability to convey the reality of what I was seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though my images and documentary film were published and distributed widely, they were still a passive window into this world, constrained by the frame. I wanted to bring people closer, to actually let them witness these stories first hand.
Technology is allowing us to merge the once separate media of photojournalism, filmmaking and virtual reality to create powerful immersive experiences. Condition ONE has developed a camera system (I can’t yet reveal the camera or number of cameras) that captures the equivalent of the human eye. We have also developed the software that transcodes and stitches these images. By attaching the images to the gyroscope and accelerometer in the iPad2, we have created a highly interactive window into a video. The slightest movement of the device changes the corresponding image, which creates an emotional connection to the story in an entirely new way. The hope is to shake viewers out of their numbness to traditional media and give a visceral and immersive experience.
The challenge of the next generation photojournalist and filmmaker will be developing the syntax and grammar to tell an effective story in this new medium. The traditional rules of cinematography and editing no longer exist. There is no frame. Creating an effective narrative and still maintaining immersion will be the next frontier. This is just the beginning.
* Condition ONE, an immersive video application for iPads, launched through the iTunes App Store this week. It gives users the ability to look in any direction while viewing footage. Pivoting and tilting the iPad literally manipulates the corresponding field of view. The highly sensitive motion controls produce the illusion of looking through a window into another reality, giving a visceral sense of ‘being there’. Condition ONE will offer highly engaging storytelling with a focus on visual content conducive to being experienced firsthand. You can get it on the Apple App Store here.
Danfung Dennis has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006. His images have been published in Newsweek, Time and The New York Times. His footage in PBS Frontline Obama’s War was nominated for a 2010 Emmy Award. His documentary, Hell and Back Again, won the World Cinema Jury and Cinematography Awards at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. He is the founder and CEO of tech/media startup Condition ONE. His background is in Applied Economics and Business Management, consulting small and medium sized enterprises in emerging markets.
You can find out more about Condition ONE here.