Unsound - The World's First Emotional Response Horror Film
A collaboration with Dr Miguel Ortiz Perez and the Sensors and Emotion (MuSE) cluster at Queens University’s Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), began as a discussion about creating films that helped the audience feel more involved, and more immersed in the experience. To complete the team, horror feature-film writer Spencer Wright scripted a short film and Belfast-born director Nigel Bristow directed it.
With 18 months of research at SARC, the team developed a prototype with a non-intrusive Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors. And with funding and production scheduled, ‘Unsound’ would become a reality.
KEY VALUE POINTS
IDENTIFY EMOTIONAL EBB AND FLOW OF YOUR STORY
OPTIMIZE CONTENT TO BE MORE EMOTIONAL AND ENGAGING
FILTER OUT BAD CUTS EARL
The signals from the GSR and ECG sensors measured the electrical activity of the heart and the conductance of a persons skin. This response level is correlated with your Autonomic Nervous System, related to such emotions as fear, anger and excitement. This data was processed and depending on what the audience’s response was at any particular point determined what changes occurred in the film.
This unique cinematic experience allowed the audience to experience changes in the score, the sound effects during scenes, the placement of audio within the SARC lab, and changes in character point of view. SARC added to the experience for the audience with a 48-channel sound diffusion system.
With multiple screenings at the Belfast Film Festival in 2011, every group of respondents got a unique viewing experience. Each person had a role to play in the store development and the audio stimuli.
‘Unsound’ premiereds at SXSW in March 2011 with raving reviews and attendees from all areas of the television and film industry.
This project was the starting point for the creation of the Sensum platform to understand emotional response to stimulus. The changing shape of the media landscape, from audience participation through to the blurring of media lines and boundaries, offers up a wild range of opportunities to people and companies able to experiment in this space.
The film 'Unsound' was part of the 'Biosuite' project which was to investigate what kind of emotional entertainment could be generated for the future of TV, film and gaming.