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Finnish true crime documentary plays lead in Chronosphere study

An inside look at a killer’s mind in And Here Happened a Murder

Getting inside the head of an actual murderer and hearing his thoughts loud and clear. Sound fascinating and equally scary? And virtually impossible? Nope! The Chronosphere project allowed us to help Finnish national broadcaster Yle bring this experience to life. Welcome to the immersive true crime documentary And Here Happened a Murder. 

Chronosphere, the joint research program of Effenaar Smart Venue and 4DR Studios, has been steadily working hard on ground-breaking experiments. Financially aided by Metropole Region Eindhoven and the National Office for Enterprising Netherlands, our unique testbed allows creative content creators, research centers, and industry to discover and exploit all possibilities of volumetric video capturing. For example, Finnish national broadcaster Yle. At Chronosphere, they tested the impact of immersive media on users. 

And Here Happened a Murder - Passengers

Thrilling true crime docu

Does the appearance of the actual character in volumetric capturing strengthen the process of connecting with and understanding the perspective of the inner voice? To answer this research topic, Yle came to Chronosphere. An abstract inquiry shaped in the form of a true crime documentary, By telling the thrilling tale from the murderer’s viewpoint, the broadcaster wanted to examine if the public could relate to the bad guy and his world. 

As the protagonist, Yle was eyeing a retired Finish crime lord. Unfortunately, contact with him was lost, and the original idea was abandoned. Searching for a new approach, Yle stumbled upon the perfect crime for the Chronosphere experiment. A murder set in the turbulent setting of the Finnish civil war of 1918. After this discovery, it was simply a question of learning more about this historical incident for scriptwriter Laura Majava to turn it into a living history narrative. In this narrative, placed in a contemporary setting, the murderer stole a pair of boots from an upper-class victim. Through this premise, the story also studies the inequality gap that still exists today. 

And Here Happened a Murder - Evidence and shoes

Flip-thinking to desktop 

Through the true crime documentary, Yle also wanted to take the entire genre to the next level. However, the original concept incorporating an augmented reality game proved technically too ambitious. The large data files, and especially the three-dimensional setting filled with single items, merely made the game too heavy for most smartphones. Again, some flip-thinking was in order. Programmer Ruud op Den Kelder came up with the idea of swapping the augmented reality idea for a desktop game, and Chronosphere implemented the digital production for one of the chapters. In this episode, users are confronted at the crime scene with the inner thoughts of the only living eyewitness: the killer. An approach that gives plenty of room for suspense and insights. 

And Here Happened a Murder - Perspective from floor

More engagement, fewer side effects

Even though these changes altered the impact of thevolumetric video, the experiment led to some exciting results. The participants were divided into two groups. One group played a regular computer game, and the other group the volumetric video version. It quickly became apparent that the volumetric video technology significantly boosts the quality of the experience. Becoming more realistic as users were more involved and truly felt part of the scene. Also interesting: the volumetric video group complained less about dizziness, nausea, or headaches. These good reports justify the cautious conclusion that storytelling through volumetric video positively affects immersion and physical responses. 

Immersive boost for every genre

This exciting Chronosphere project clearly shows how volumetric video gives an immersive, powerful boost to storytelling and can create a more powerful documentary and a more lifelike experience. Whether it involved true crime or any subject. Perhaps even the story you’d like to tell through volumetric video? Share your thoughts with us. We love to help you realize a killer experience! 

Made possible by Metropool Regio Eindhoven and Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland.