LAS VEGAS — The award for the biggest Hollywood presence at CES 2023 might go to Canon USA, a digital imaging solutions provider that teamed with director M. Night Shyamalan to craft a show booth that places visitors inside of his latest movie, Universal Pictures’ Knock at the Cabin, which opens in theaters Feb. 3.
Wanting to demonstrate to CES attendees how its technology is working to help dissolve limits between real and virtual worlds, the company worked with the director to develop an immersive movie experience that allow fans to “enter” the cabin and nearby woods and interact with the actors.
“As we worked to build this experience, I thought, you obviously have a lot of amazing minds changing the way we tell stories,” Shyamalan said at a Jan. 4 press conference at Mandalay Bay. “We worked together to create an environment unlike anything I’ve ever seen, so that everyone here at CES can use Canon technology to experience Knock at the Cabin for themselves. It’s an amazing combination of creativity, collaboration and tech, all coming together for this mega, immersive moviegoing experience.”
“This booth is unlike anything we have ever done,” Canon USA president Kazuto Ogawa added. “A lot of thought went into creating this experience.”
One of the Canon technologies that has gone into the making of the Knock at the Cabin experience is Kokomo, an immersive virtual reality software designed to change human communication by combining virtual reality with video calling. The software is designed to provide users with a way to meet friends and family virtually “in-person” by using a compatible VR headset and a compatible smartphone. Kokomo will allow users to see, hear, and interact with one another in real time from their own setting or from a photo-real environment, ranging from a desert retreat to a Hawaii beach house.
Think of it as Facetime on steroids. According to Canon, the objective of Kokomo — essentially, a 3D video call — is for people to feel as though they are actually hanging out with each other, even though they may be hundreds or even thousands of miles apart.
At the Canon booth, visitors are able to put on a VR headset and step into a 1-t0-1 Kokomo conversation with one of four characters from Knock at the Cabin.
Another new technology Canon is showcasing though the immersive movie experience at its CES 2023 booth is its Free Viewpoint Video System for arenas, stadiums and studios. The system consists of more than 100 Canon Cinema EOS-based 4K cameras and lenses. The data captured from the cameras is sent to a server system that creates point-cloud-based 3D models that quickly reproduce various viewpoints or desired camera angles, similar to that shot from a drone swooping in and around players, or a small POV camera, looking at actors in a commercial or music video shoot. The result is an immersive and customizable viewing experience from perspectives that may not be possible with traditional camera systems.
So far, the system has been installed at two NBA arenas, Rocket Mortgage Field House in Cleveland (Cavaliers) and Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (Nets). The video can be broadcast out live and also compiled into replay clips. The system also allows virtual advertising and other opportunities for monetization.
CES attendees can view an action scene from Knock at the Cabin from multiple perspectives as captured by the Free Viewpoint Video System, supervised by Shyamalan and shot at Canon’s Volumetric Video Studio in Kawasaki, Japan. Viewing the scene from multiple viewpoints allows for different perspectives to be uncovered as attendees watch through the “eyes” of the various characters.
Also being demonstrated at CES 2023 is MREAL, a mixed-reality experience that utilizes Canon imaging technology to integrate real and virtual worlds, showing end-users what this type of integration can do for industry, education, medicine, entertainment and more. Canon describes it as a “premium visualizer/simulator that helps account for limits of scale, perception, analysis, and participation, and provides superb, almost life like image clarity and color accuracy.”
MREAL technology is currently in the market research phase, but an example can be seen in the Canon CES booth. Visitors are able to experience a break-in scene from Knock at the Cabin as if they are a character in the movie. A gamified experience gives CES attendees the ability to immerse themselves in the movie’s action. Users can interact with virtual furniture and other objects in order to barricade themselves inside the cabin and successfully keep intruders out.
Lastly, Canon is also demonstrating its AMLOS (Activate My Line of Sight) solution, developed by the company to help amplify how people see and interact in hybrid meeting environments. The AMLOS solution is a software-and-camera product suite designed to provide a high level of engagement for collaboration across multiple meeting locations. The advanced software-and-camera product suite features sophisticated PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) camera functionality guided by hand gesture controls for certain actions for in-person participants. Remote users are given the flexibility to customize their viewing experience and to see objects or areas of the in-person space. This allows both in-person and remote participants to engage in meetings or collaborative discussions, with an intuitive experience with hand gesture controls for certain actions for in-person participants, and a user interface that can be customized by a remote participant to help promote collaboration.
Using AMLOS, visitors to the Canon booth are able to connect with a stranger on the actual set of Knock at the Cabin in Philadelphia. They can then work together to investigate the aftermath of events from the movie while creating their own stories on what could have happened in the cabin. Canon worked with Shyamalan to develop clues placed throughout the space for participants to discover, varying from handwritten notes to broken furniture and more.
“I believe Canon will be at the forefront of how we tell stories for years to come,” Shymalan said at the press conference.