Hear From Experts Dr. Jacquelyn Morie and Kate McCallum

Beyond Entertainment: How COVID-19 Is Revealing the Truth About the Applications of Immersive Media

By Brittany Haynes on May 20, 2020

As businesses and schools transition into online-only environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are questioning the impact the pandemic will have on the adaptation and implementation of technologies such as virtual meetings, worlds, and reality as well as other forms of immersive media even after the pandemic has subsided. With ever-advancing technology and the possibility of future waves of the pandemic and other infectious diseases, immersive media, online education, and augmented/virtual realities to meet and gather with colleagues, friends, and more seems to be an appealing and believable future direction of society. As such, media experts Dr. Jaquelyn Morie, from All These Worlds, LLC, USA, and Kate McCallum, from Bridge Arts Media and Vortex Immersion Media, USA, editors of the IGI Global publication the Handbook of Research on the Global Impacts and Roles of Immersive Media, share their insights on this topic and the importance of their research, especially during this turbulent time, in the interview below:

What inspired you to pursue research activities in immersive media?

JM: I have been working in immersive media since its very early days. I was creating and researching in virtual reality in the 1980s. It was just starting to become useful then but was still too expensive, and the environments being built were practical, but not very exciting or meaningful. So that is where I decided to focus my research. I wanted immersive worlds that were emotional, evocative, and meaningful, and that is what I have been doing for the last three decades.

KM: As an entertainment and media professional  and board delegate for six years on the Producers Guild of America (PGA) New Media Council, I was very involved in education initiatives at the PGA to help inform the membership (8,000+) of new trends in immersive media technologies and content creation.  I had had 20 years of experience in studios, NBCUniversal and Paramount, working in traditional scripted television and feature film development and production, and I had left the studios to pursue new media opportunities. In 2010, I joined Ed Lantz and Vortex Immersion Media as a consultant/producer in fulldome immersive media and then VR and realized this was the birth of a new media paradigm shift. There hadn't been a comprehensive text that I could locate on the topic, thus the desire to research and co-edit and co-author a book on the topic that I felt would be helpful in the field. I knew that Dr. Jacki Morie was the perfect person to collaborate with given her years of expertise in the medium as both an artist, practitioner, scholar, and researcher. 

Why are your respective areas of research important to the field at large?

JM: My work speaks to the research community in immersive media that is creating the future – where the work is ultimately going to be a useful medium for humanity. This includes not only entertainment, but also mental health, training and education, scientific visualization, and especially how being immersed within all forms of media affects us as human beings.

KM: Immersive media has become such a powerful new media paradigm, and I believe that it is important to codify and record its history as well as current trends in the industry and future speculations as it becomes more and more commercially viable and accessible to humanity in all areas: education, wellbeing, health, industry, the arts and entertainment, etc.

In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of your research to its community of users?

JM: So much of the progress in this area has been hard to find – people are working and making great strides, but with the exception of academic research, there has not been a place to go and read about or see what is happening. We wanted to bring that information to the public.

KM: For many, because this is an emerging field, there is some confusion in the space around the taxonomy and definitions around the various platforms/experiences that fall under the umbrella term of “immersive media.” This book features chapters from experts in each of these technology arenas as well as provides general, solid information about the potential business applications, career opportunities, and possible uses of these powerful tech and story formats.  

What are the future directions of your research areas?

JM: I am currently working on helping birth the metaverse – something I have seen working on since the early 1990s. We are poised to finally implement this in a big way. The current situation with the pandemic has accelerated the need for vibrant virtual spaces where people can safely gather, share their thoughts, connect with friends and family, and explore new spaces and ideas. 

KM: I will continue to research the latest trends in the immersive and interactive tech space, as our company's mission is to use the latest in media tech to provide experiences for individuals, communal users, and audiences.  I am also passionate about how these experiences can provide a social impact at a personal, community, and global level for education, wellbeing, and transformation. 

What are some other evolving research trends you have observed in your industry/field over the past several months and what would you say are some of the innovative research directions you foresee in the future? How do you feel your publication sets the pace for these innovations?

JM: The biggest efforts right now are in making immersive applications better than they have been. The chapters in our book are essentially a roadmap for what needs to be done and what creatives and academics are doing to push the envelope of what is possible. We will get to that better future, in part, with people sharing their techniques and ideas with others. We need more books and writings that share that knowledge.

KM: VR/AR/XR is being used more and more in industry, medical, and education sectors. Fulldome theater is emerging as a new commercial art format, as indicated by the investment from Madison Square Gardens (MSG) in THE SPHERE going up in Las Vegas and in future locations. Streaming and live events online, in virtual worlds and in the metaspace, has been greatly catalyzed by users during this COVID-19 situation. During this pandemic, sites like Zoom have been like early TV, and I can imagine a whole new type of software for live presentations/programming emerging from this period in history.  Animation, CG and "Synthetic Thespians" may be on the rise should production of live action programming and content continue to be delayed. Many of these technologies will become solutions to progressive education that can be taught at home versus in school settings. Storyworld development and transmedia strategy will continue to become more and more ubiquitous as a go-to formula for launching media properties as the number of media platforms continue to emerge. Social impact entertainment (SIE) will become more and more popular as humanity seeks answers to our challenges and problems. Storytelling and media can assist in these efforts.  

What has your experience been like publishing with IGI Global?

JM: IGI Global was great to work with, especially in the speed at which things could get done. Especially with a time-sensitive volume such as we produced, we very much appreciated the ability to work on an accelerated schedule, even though it was challenging at times. It was also great that IGI Global could work with us on invited chapters and adjusting the peer reviews to our needs, as we had many production experts included who have never written anything about their work. 

KM: I will speak for myself. With the great support of my collaborator, Jacki Morie, once I became accustomed to the publishing platform and protocol, it became easier to do the challenging work of curating and editing the book.  The staff at IGI Global have provided excellent support and have been very responsive to our questions and concerns.  They also were flexible when we requested certain chapters be included in the book. It is a publication I am extremely proud of, and I have gotten very positive feedback from our contributing authors as well.

This publication is currently available in electronic (EISBN: 9781799824343) and print (ISBN: 9781799824336) format through IGI Global’s Online Bookstore. To support customers in easily and affordably obtaining titles in electronic format during the COVID-19 pandemic, IGI Global is now offering an automatic 50% discount* on the electronic format of this publication as well as ALL e-books and e-journals ordered directly through IGI Global’s Online BookstoreAdditionally, enjoy a 20% discount on all other products and formats. This publication is also available across preferred providers such as GOBI Library Solutions, EBSCOHost, Oasis, and Ebook Central (Note: The automatic 50% discount is only available through IGI Global’s Online Bookstore), as well as IGI Global’s InfoSci-Books (5,900+ e-books) database.

Be sure to purchase or recommend this publication or the InfoSci-Books database to your library to have access to this critical content.

IGI Global would like to thank Dr. Jacquelyn Morie and Kate McCallum for sharing their research on immersive media, especially during this turbulent time. For more information about this research, view the publication here.

About the Editors:

Dr. Jacquelyn Morie’s 30 years of researching & creating meaningful VR experiences combines multi-sensory and perceptual techniques for VR that predictably elicit emotional responses from participants. Her company All These Worlds, LLC is active in social VR, Mindfulness applications, storytelling, stress relief experiences, avatars and immersive education & training. In 2016, she concluded a special project for NASA called ANSIBLE, a full virtual world ecosystem designed to provide psychological benefits for future astronauts who will undertake extremely long isolated missions to Mars. ANSIBLE was tested in an analog facility called HISEAS in Hawaii, where a team of six scientists was sequestered for a full year to simulate the conditions of isolation on Mars, including long communications delays. Dr. Morie also investigates the use of personal avatars for how we use them and how they affect our human selves…Read Full Bio.
Kate McCallum is a forward-thinking multi-media producer, writer, and digital arts and media strategist with an emphasis in IP development, transmedia, and new media technology platforms. Kate served as a Board Delegate on the Producers Guild of America New Media Council for six years and on the PGA National Board for three years. She was the recipient of the 2019 Marc A. Levey Award for Distinguished Service, and as a Co-Chair, Kate helped to spearhead the creation of the PGA Social Impact Entertainment Task Force. She is a member of the TV Academy, the WFSF: World Future Studies Federation, and is Chair of the Arts & Media Node for The Millennium Project, a global futurist think tank. In 2004, Kate founded her own development and multi-media production company, Bridge Arts Media, LLC, and consults and produces for a variety of clients including Vortex Immersion Media, a company specializing in fulldome 360/VR immersive content and experience design, immersive brand experiences, VR, interactive, live mixed-media performances, and projection mapping. In 2010, Kate established the Vortex AIR: Artist-in-Residence program and innovation lab in The Vortex Dome CineTheater at Los Angeles Center Studios. Prior, Kate spent 20 years at NBCUniversal and Paramount Studios working in development and production of feature films, and broadcast and cable episodic television with some of the top showrunners and writers in the industry on such shows as Miami Vice, Law & Order, Equalizer, Gimme a Break, Charles in Charge, and The Marshal to name a few...Read Full Bio.

For your reference, find below a sample of related titles on immersive media, which are also featured in IGI Global’s InfoSci-Books database and are available for purchase in print and electronic format. Be sure to recommend these titles to your librarian, to ensure your institution can acquire the most emerging research.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.

About IGI Global: Founded in 1988, IGI Global, an international academic publisher, is committed to producing the highest quality research (as an active full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics “COPE”) and ensuring the timely dissemination of innovative research findings through an expeditious and technologically advanced publishing processes. Through their commitment to supporting the research community ahead of profitability, and taking a chance on virtually untapped topic coverage, IGI Global has been able to collaborate with over 100,000+ researchers from some of the most prominent research institutions around the world to publish the most emerging, peer-reviewed research across 350+ topics in 11 subject areas including business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, and more. To learn more about IGI Global, click here.

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