The KTH spinoff with their sights set on Hollywood
Collaboration between researchers from KTH and Stockholm University of the Arts give filmmakers new tools to create even better movies.
Imagine you’re shooting a film in central Stockholm. It’s crowded, time is limited, and your movie is set 80 years ago. Even before you arrive for shooting day, you need to know exactly what to film and from which angle. Sounds tricky, right?
Mirko Lempert and Simon Alexanderson described the scene during our interview in the KTH Innovation office, just one floor down from Simon’s place of work, the Department of Speech, Music and Hearing at KTH. Together with Mirko Lempert, he forms the team behind KTH-spinoff Monocular, providing a tool that gives filmmakers a clearer view of their idea before they begin shooting.
Before recording a film, filmmakers develop storyboards, a way of preparing where to place actors, cameras and extras. In Hollywood you’d usually develop an advanced, animated model of a movie before shooting, but in Sweden the budget seldom allows for that. However, traditional storyboards are rarely enough when scenes become longer and more complicated.
Simon and Mirko started developing Monocular to provide filmmakers with an alternative, an easy and intuitive way of previsualizing film. Using the game engine Unity, and both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology, they build environments where a film team quickly can create a virtual model of a film, for a fraction of the cost.
- You can describe our technology as a miniature motion capture studio, says Simon. We create a 3D model of the scene and project it onto a table, which becomes like a playing field where you can move actors, cameras or items and try different camera angles.
Filmmakers who use Monocular can create better-looking scenes, and save both time and money.
- A few years ago, we worked with the movie Siv sover vilse. An actor was going to interact with an animated badger, and the filmmaker wanted to spend as little time and money as possible on creating material which was then cut in the editing process. Using our tool, they could plan their scenes in detail before shooting.
Before summer, Monocular was one of the teams graduating from the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program, a program for startup- and research commercialization projects from KTH. During a year, the team got office space on campus, weekly workshops to develop as entrepreneurs, and plenty of support in their commercialization process from the KTH Innovation team.
- The KTH Innovation pre-incubator program really helped us find the right way forward for our project, says Simon. Starting out, we weren’t working in a very structured way, and we didn’t really know how to communicate our idea.
In the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program, the accepted projects get support in stepwise developing their projects towards the market. Twice a year, KTH Innovation welcomes 15 new projects to the program, all run by teams including students, researchers and employees at KTH. All are trying to meet a need on the market, often within vastly different areas.
- As a researcher, you often have no idea how to move forward, says Simon. I’d really recommend the program if you’re a researcher interested in commercialization. Being in an environment with other aspiring entrepreneurs was great for us. It gave us new experiences and grew our network.
Apply to the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program
Application to Batch 10 of the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program is open until September 4th, 2019. Follow this link to find out more and start your application.