Cinemas are already watching you; in an effort to curb piracy, many theatres have systems that pinpoint camcorder-wielding patrons. But the next generation of those systems will be watching for something else entirely: how much you're enjoying the movie.
Aralia Systems, producer of one of the popular anti-piracy solutions, has received a grant for roughly $US350,000 to develop a system that will watch moviegoers and analyse how they're reacting to what they're seeing on the big screen. Basically heavy-duty analytics for the film industry.
Dr Abdul Farooq from the University of the West of England's Machine Vision Lab, a collaborator or on the project, explained the aim of the project to TorrentFreak:
We want to devise instruments that will be capable of collecting data that can be used by cinemas to monitor audience reactions to films and adverts and also to gather data about attention and audience movement.
Using 2D and 3D imaging technology we aim to do this in two ways. Obviously cinema audiences are spread out in large theatre settings so we need to build instruments that can capture data for different purposes. We will use 2D cameras to detect emotion but will also collect movement data through a 3D data measurement that will capture the audience as a whole as a texture.
Within the cinema industry this tool will feed powerful marketing data that will inform film directors, cinema advertisers and cinemas with useful data about what audiences enjoy and what adverts capture the most attention. By measuring emotion and movement film companies and cinema advertising agencies can learn so much from their audiences that will help to inform creativity and strategy.
Image via Blake Emrys/Flickr