Viewfinders is a design-led research project exploring emerging opportunities for
i-docs (interactive documentary) and smartphone filmmaking. The i-doc serving as the
practical component is part of a larger collaborative research project between Dr. Gerda
Cammaer and Dr. Max Schleser, and focuses on defining new Creative Mobile Media
Practices. Responding to recent developments in collaborative media, augmented
reality, and computer vision technologies, a mobile web app is designed that proposes
new active modes of viewing for the travel film genre.
The Viewfinders app asks the question; what happens when a travel documentary can
itself travel? Turning conventional AR on its head, Viewfinders does not seek to augment
the live environment but rather positions the real world as the augmentation, harnessing
ambient phenomena to augment the i-doc.
To progress the narrative viewer-users are asked to explore their physical surroundings,
with geolocation and computer vision algorithms interpreting evolving environmental
factors to evoke corresponding sequences of travel footage. The non-linear narrative
comprises a series of 60 second clips of peer-generated video that are re-ordered
dynamically, with an aim of aligning experiential factors across both the viewer’s world
and that of the documentary.
Viewfinders has no play button. Taking its cues from the viewer’s own journey, the world
is its play button.