Members of UK media regulator OFCOM recently paid a visit to the School of Digital Arts (SODA) for an exciting collaborative project, exploring the innovative ways in which future audiences could engage with television programmes.

Simon Parnall and Sanya Osisanya from OFCOM’s Technology Group attended the premiere of Mercury in Retrograde, a thought-provoking short film commissioned by OFCOM as part of their research into new forms of digital broadcasting.

Stills from experimental film, Mercury in Retrograde

The film, produced by SODA students, offers viewers the ability to choose alternative scenes, delve into additional layers of storytelling, and even access a captivating 3D environment on a second screen, providing further clues related to the narrative.

Stills from the project’s second screen featuring 3D imagery

The project involved the creative contributions of SODA students Jorge Walsh, Phoebe Grace Bonser, Finley Hunt, Lilian Vidor, Ali Asadi, Charlotte Proctor, and Department of Art & Performance student Lily Mcclatchey.

“It was fantastic to work with OFCOM on this project to explore what object-based media (OBM) will mean for near-future media productions,” said Dr David Jackson, Lecturer in Digital Visualisation and post-doctoral research associate at SODA.

“We have done other projects with OFCOM, looking at the landscape of OBM, but this is the first time we have really explored the creative potential with our students. We were really impressed with the piece and students and staff learned a lot from the process.”

Thanks to SODA staff members Mark Thomas, David Jackson, and Alasdair Swenson, who played key roles in bringing this experimental showcase to life.