Change Making Media Lab
Directors: Jeremy Kagan
The Change Making Media Lab (CMML) mission is to foster positive social and environmental change by promoting research on effective
media techniques and creating strategic high-impact cinema, television and multi-media visual imagery to inspire individuals,
organizations, and communities into action. CMML's vision is to engage community members to leverage the power of the cinematic arts
to achieve health, sustainability, and social justice.
Emergent Cities Research Group
Directors: Scott Fisher (SCA)
USC's Emergent Cities Research Group is an interdisciplinary collective that is exploring research on evolving cities and urbanism through the perspective and expertise of faculty from the Roski School of Art & Design, the School of Cinematic Arts, the School of Architecture, the Price School of Public Policy, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Dornsife College, and other USC areas. The group's focus is primarily on participatory and comparative urbanism as the research methodology and approach to cities and public engagement. Current research is focused on the changing nature of Los Angeles and is examining the ways L.A. is evolving and considering how its transformation can be evaluated and recorded. Other projects by this group have assessed the emergent nature of international cities, including Chandigarh, Brasilia, Gaborone, Almere, Shenzhen, and Las Vegas.
DADA Research Lab
Director: Teresa Cheng
Research at the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts incorporates practice in organic and digital media ranging from works of metaphysical expression and perceptual experience, to the exploration of dreams and narrative storytelling, visualizing science, and documentary animation.
Game Innovation Lab
Director: Tracy Fullerton
The Game Innovation Lab is the premier center for experimental game design research at USC. Founded in 2004, the lab is directed by Professor Tracy Fullerton. The mission of the lab is to pursue experimental design of games in cultural realms including art, science, politics and learning. The international success of games that have emerged from the lab, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Cat and the Coup and The Night Journey, have made it a hub for indie and experimental games culture in Los Angeles. Our Playthink Salons attract speakers and participants from across the city and across disciplinary boundaries. Associated faculty include award winning game designers Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted series) and Peter Brinson (Waco, The Cat and the Coup) as well as pioneering games user researcher Dennis Wixon. Research staff include up and coming game designers Elizabeth Swensen and Sean Bouchard, Todd Furmanski and Lucas Peterson. Graduate student researchers in the lab have gone on to stellar careers at Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Zynga and more.
IMAX Immersive Media Lab
Contacts: Tara Turner
The objective of this lab is to carry out research in the area of immersive media, a new and emerging field of studies that considers
the profound effects of the expansion and intensification of media formats and presentation. By increasing the scale, resolution and
dimensionality of image and sound, a threshold can be reached that radically changes our relationship to media, which is then no longer
a separate object to be experienced from a distance; rather it becomes an experiential environment that surrounds and engulfs us.
Immersive media can facilitate new kinds of cinema, in which narrative can be experienced from the inside; new forms of games, in which
interaction is through direct manipulation of media objects (rather than through keyboard and mouse); and new forms of experience, where
our perceptual apparatus can be directly engaged and challenged. In all cases, immersive media holds the promise of creating large-scale
social experiences that are ideal for multiple users, facilitating direct communication and dialogue. While the techniques for
conceptual immersion are in many cases well understood (although by no means exhausted), the technologies of physical immersion are
still being developed, and the techniques to exploit them are relatively new or nascent.
The Immersive Media Lab is a testbed in which to conduct research into new forms of media. By exploring, extending, combining and experimenting with various immersive and interactive technologies, we hope to gain insight into where these technologies might be headed. While there has been research into certain aspects of immersive technologies -- most prominently in the field of virtual reality -- we focus our efforts on three specific areas:
- Immersive cinema (narrative)
- Immersive games (interactivity)
- Immersive environments (experience and perception)
Each of these areas is critical in the development of new forms of media; together they hold the potential to develop media that extend cinema and television in ways we can only imagine at present. A key component of the Immersive Media Lab will be to make advanced and experimental media technologies available to CNTV faculty and students so that they can try out these new forms. This would augment our research by providing valuable insights into what new kinds of stories and narratives these media could accommodate.
Immersive Media Lab
Director: Candace Reckinger
The Immersive Media Lab is a mixed-reality incubator enabling students from all divisions of SCA to create interactive and cinematic mixed-reality content with mentorship from industry leaders.
Mobile & Environmental Media Lab
Directors: Scott Fisher
The Mobile and Environmental Media Lab is currently exploring location-specific mobile storytelling. This research investigates the idea of ambient storytelling and how the built environment can act as a storytelling entity that engages and interacts with people in specific spaces. Development of personalized responsive environments arise as people spend time in these spaces and build a relationship with the spaces they spend time in every day. By integrating context-aware interactions and access to backstory about an environment, ambient stories emerge and can be accessed through mobile and pervasive computing technologies and applications. Our current research concepts came out of early research about new models for mobile advertising in which the goal was to create compelling experiences in contrast to the current state of mobile advertising, which relies on banner ads or text messages. The idea of backstory, location and context-specific information about products and objects became a recurrent theme when thinking about new forms of advertising. This became the groundwork for our current research into ambient and mobile storytelling. In addition, the practice of lifelogging, or documenting and broadcasting one's daily activities with wearable computing devices, has been another topic of our research. However, instead of people documenting their activities, we are focusing on designing lifelogs for the built environment. These lifelogs for physical spaces combine various building, environmental and human sensor data, as well as collaboratively-authored character development. These elements, when combined, create the groundwork for ambient, mobile storytelling.
MXR Lab & MXR Studio
Director: Todd Richmond
MxR at the University of Southern California explores techniques and technologies to improve the fluency of human-computer interactions
and create visceral synthetic experiences. MxR is part of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and works with the Interactive
Media Division at the School of Cinematic Arts. Research and prototypes focus on immersive systems for education and training
simulations that incorporate both real and virtual elements. Projects push the boundaries of immersive experience design, through
virtual reality and alternative controllers. The MedVR Lab and Graphics Lab at ICT are frequent collaborative partners.
The MxR studio is located in the new Interactive Media building in the SCA complex. The studio is an atelier environment in which students have access to experimental interface technologies that are being created at the MxR lab, as well as across campus. This includes head mounted displays, a multipoint motion tracking system with body suits, a large Microsoft surface, kinect workstations, ipad and phone type immersive viewers, and a rapid prototyping machine.
Director: Tara McPherson
The Scalar Lab explores new forms of scholarly publishing aimed at easing the current economic crisis faced by many university presses while also serving as a model for media-rich digital publication. In essence, we are creating a pipeline to support emerging genres of scholarship that moves from soup to nuts, integrating core intellectual questions in our fields with content acquisition, training for scholars in digital research methodologies and new paradigms and partnerships for publication, dissemination and warranting of scholarship.
Co-Director: Kiki Benzon
The Situation Lab designs immersive and generative situations for the public good, for clients, and for kicks. A joint initiative between the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Carnegie Mellon University School of Design, the Situation Lab was founded in 2013 by Stuart Candy (CMU) and Jeff Watson (IMGD); its current co-directors are Candy and Kiki Benzon of Media Arts and Practice. Our research explores how playful systems, narrative, and environmental design can come together to shape the real world. Like any kind of practice born of the post-internet age, our work is always deeply and implicitly imbricated in the digital; however, we to swear allegiance to no particular technology or practice. Our true medium is "the social."
World Building Media Lab
Director: Alex McDowell
Established in September 2012 at the University of Southern California's famed School of Cinematic Arts, the World Building Media Lab has emphasized the power of using technology as a vehicle to enhance storytelling capabilities. With explorations into Virtual and Augmented Reality, the WbML, has established itself as a leader at the forefront of technological-based entertainment. Working on multiple projects with well-known clients, the WbML shows how the principles of cinematic storytelling can enhance any experience that has a built in world. And, sometimes applying the lab's process helps define the shape of such a world. Focused on the underlying belief that technology and narrative create an everlasting feedback loop, with one constantly improving the other, the lab continually tries to ask questions that push on the boundaries of established beliefs. As the WbML helps carve out a new space that is not quite movie nor game, it will introduce new methods of interactivity that will further enrich previously unforeseen entertainment experiences.