Bachelor's project enables cinema visits with 3D models and VR
As a bachelor project, a group of students at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology made a reconstruction in virtual reality of the old cinema Flamman in Gothenburg.
In the spring of 2021, six students from three different programmes at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology investigated how to preserve cultural heritage with the help of virtual reality (VR). The building that was investigated was an old cinema building called Flamman.
“The project has been about investigating how to preserve cultural heritage with the help of VR but also how to combine this with a really good VR experience”, says Jonathan Eksberg, IT student at Chalmers who was one of the participants in the project.
A unique, modernist building
Flamman is classified as one of the first modernist buildings in Gothenburg. The building was completed in 1935 and was used as a cinema for almost 50 years.
“Why we chose this particular building is because it has a great architectural value and is still intact. It has been easy to get there to take reference photographs, and the drawings are still in the city archives”, says Thommy Eriksson, senior lecturer in interaction design and supervisor in the project.
An application for cinema visits
Based on the floor plan, the students developed a 3D model of the cinema. The final product was an application developed in the game engine Unity.
“We have made a VR application where an unlimited number of people can connect and walk around together in our 3D model of Flamman and watch movies together in the cinema”, says Adam Rohdell, IT student at Chalmers.
“The project has been especially interesting during the pandemic. A virtual solution like this means that you can still experience a cinema visit together, even though you are still keeping distance.”
Balance between cultural heritage and good user experience
A major challenge during the project has been to strike a balance between cultural heritage and a good user experience, according to Jonathan.
“Deciding whether we should adapt the application according to how it was then or according to what will be a good VR experience, it has been a bit tricky. We are doing a reconstruction of what has been at the same time as we want to develop and learn how to make a good user experience. The balance between the two has sometimes been difficult.”
The department of computer science and engineering is a joint department between Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg. The department conducts research and education at both universities, and is responsible for, among other things, the bachelor's programme in computer science at the University of Gothenburg.