Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Nomadic Cinema 「アカリのさんぽ」

Last Friday I went to Roppongi Hills to go experience what my school's Nomadic Cinema project, that was part of TIFF (Tokyo International Film Festival), was actually like. I have to say it got me very excited. Hence this post about it now...

The idea of Nomadic Cinema is that it's a movie experience where you don't stay in the same place for the whole movie making the viewer an active participant in the story. It also offers some additional interactive elements, which I will talk about in more detail later in this entry.

Firstly, here is the overview of the locations for each scene of the movie:

Map of Roppongi Hills

You started your movie experience at the Information where they lend you a smartphone with the Nomadic Cinema application implemented (with severe consequences of course if you didn't return the phone after going through the movie route). After you're all geared up and ready to go, the first scene is right around the corner....! Oh yeah, before I go into that. I want to mention that there were a couple of people tasked with filming (*coughstalkingcough*) viewers in order to record their reactions for their further research and yeaaaah, of course I got to be one of those people. Such a strange sensation getting filmed while watching a movie.. but ehum, yes. Onwards!

1st Scene

I think the point of the first scene was that when you walk over to a certain place, your phone would play a tune and you could view the first scene from your phone screen or that the environment would somehow complement (sounds, etc) the video you'd watch from your phone screen. I am not sure about this, as I think there were some network issues at this scene and nothing happened. So I just watched the first scene from my phone and continued on! By the way, the first scene was about this young girl aspiring to be a singer meeting a lady in a park and telling her about her dreams. Well, something like that. I couldn't understand everything because of lack of Japanese skills.. orz

2nd Scene

Here the movie scene was projected on one of the tree containers. This fit really well, considering how the scene was about the young girl now burying her treasures. She is with a young woman. Not sure what they talk about together. On one of the other tree containers there was a picture of the Nomadic Cinema logo that worked in a similar way as QR-code I believe. When you went to camera mode on the phone and aimed at the logo, the logo would change into a picture of the box that the girl buried. I thought this was really nice, since it gave the illusion of the box being in that particular container under the tree, kind of like it was an x-ray of some sort.

3rd Scene

I am not very sure about the context of this scene (again because of my Japanese), but at first there are two men shown, one of them leaves and the other stays behind and sees the young girl. The man talks to the young girl and gives her sunglasses. The face of the man is not shown. Then there is one more scene of an interview-ish situation where the man's face is finally revealed....... and here's the fun part. For this scene, the movie used facial mapping. At the start of the scene the people working at this spot would take a picture of your face and implement it in the system resulting in the man having your facial features at the end of the scene. So, considering I am a girl... you can probably imagine how creepy and girly the man's face looked. Gave me a good laugh. xD

4th Scene

This scene was shown from a screen on the wall (like the previous one actually) and was about the young girl and her American childhood friend. They play around together taking pictures and they stop a random stranger aka you, and ask if they can take your picture. Thus they take a few pictures. I think this scene is still in baby's shoes though, since no true interaction occurred - the characters just happened to be staring at the camera and thus at you. I think this will be taken further later though. So anyway, after they are done taking pictures the boy says they can't go take a picture of the last place they wanted to, because he is moving back to the USA. However he also mentions that he will be back in 10 years. At the end of the scene we fast-forward to the present, where the grown up boy shows up at an auditorium by himself and takes a picture of the last place finally.

5th Scene

In the fifth and final scene, which was projected to the wall we see in the little picture above, we see the young girl, now a young woman, preparing for her first live. She has the box she buried as a kid with her and takes out the old keitai she put in there. Her young self had recorded a voice message to herself in the future, so the woman puts the phone on her ear to listen to it. At this moment.... your phone rings! And when you pick up the call, you can actually here the voice message from your phone. Really neat! Afterwards, people start gathering to the live and we see the woman she met before come sit in the audience. The boy is there too. And finally, we get to see her perform and sing in front of an audience for the first time! When the credits begin rolling, your phone rings again! You get to hear this very touching little monologue of the young woman, which actually made me stay and watch this whole last scene again once more. On a fun side note: I helped out with the concert scene as an extra when it was filmed, so you can see me on there. xD

Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable experience. It gave watching a movie an exciting new twist and I believe it has a lot of great potential to go a lot further in the future. I hope to get to see the next upgrade of this and hopefully even be part of making it happen.

And just so you get a better grasp of what I am talking about, I found a trailer of the movie on Youtube! 

If you want to find out more about this, here is the website of the project:


  1. Greets, RjOkami!
    I recently found your blog and I was very happy to see somebody from Japan writing in English about stuff like this! I wanted to thank you very much for sharing it!
    Despite that, I think this is an awesome idea. I mean, instead of bothering with 3D, holograms and similar stuff you can get people to really, actually feel what's going on, instead of simulating it. I think it would be even better if this was made to theater show, but organization of such a thing would really have to be perfect.

    One more thing, since you said it was your school project, I assume all the students went together. How many people are around you while you're experiencing this? I would personally prefer being alone or with a little crowd and not waiting in rows too much, but I guess that's impossible...

    1. Greetings!
      I am very glad to hear you are enjoying my blog, so thank you very much for telling me!(^-^) I will try to find the time to write about as many things as I can in the midst of my busy schedule. If there is some aspect of Japan you'd like me to write about at some point, do tell and I can see what I can do.

      Indeed, I very much agree with you. To achieve a truly interactive experience, you really should have the actors there too. I think it would be very interesting to see a combination of filming techniques and live-acting (+perhaps the implementation of all senses, to some extend) used in unison to make a very unique story-telling experience. How feasible this would be, I don't know. Maybe I will look into this at school in the next couple of years.

      Ah, actually, that wasn't the case interestingly enough. My school has quite many projects going on, so not everyone is interested in this kind of thing or had the time to attend. I went right when this began at 17:00, so for some scenes it was just me and one other person at best or then a small group of ten people or less. So, no waiting involved whatsoever, I strolled through the spots at my own leisure. ^^

    2. You're welcome. ^w^ I really need to thank you again for trying so hard. You seem to feel as it's your duty to post as often as you can. n.n I'd be glad to read on! Also, there isn't anything specific I'd want to know, I just want to know more of those everyday things. I'm kinda sorta trying to draw manga and I need to know more about Japanese perspective, since their mentality is the very opposite of my country. But if anything comes up, I'll let you know, I guess you need inspiration once in a while too! n.n

      It would just make you feel as if you were there watching the actual event, not the projection of it.

      Uh, that's good. I thought more people would come at such an event, since the concept is pretty innovative. But I guess that's how it is today, everyone has smarter things to do.