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Repurposing and enriching images for immersive storytelling through smart digital tools

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Cutting-edge solution is bringing new life to still photos

An EU-funded project has developed novel tools that are revolutionising how people use photography to portray stories.

Digital Economy

Advances in technology have opened the door to new ways of telling stories, from uploading photos and videos on social media platforms to immersive 3D and virtual reality experiences. As a result, there is a staggering amount of digital content available at the click of a button. For creative storytellers, this raises questions on how to best repurpose this content and the innovatory tools required to do so. With a focus on photojournalism, fashion and festival industries, the EU-funded FotoInMotion project developed a solution for repurposing photos for immersive storytelling. “We have successfully delivered an integrated tool able to automatically, in a few seconds, create an appealing video clip from a still photograph with storytelling and branding effects,” explains Konstantinos Thivaios, member of the coordination team of INTRASOFT International, the project host. To achieve this, the project capitalised on and advanced novel technologies based on research and developments in image analytics and recognition by INESC and 3D technologies by QdepQ, both project partners.

A closer look at the solution

The tool is available in desktop and mobile versions whereby users can transform their photos into spatial and 3D video experiences by applying automated editing functions and dynamic effects made possible thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) object identification and 3D technology. Despina Anastasopoulos, a member of the coordination team notes: “The advanced technologies of explainable AI and deep learning were fully utilised to develop a tool that could support the targeted industries.” The key and innovative aspect of the solution is its ability to generate useful metadata for the creative process, thereby reducing the costs of content production. It also offers simple capture and video creation possibilities, prosumer grade filters and machine learning-driven story generation, as well as easy dissemination to video formats and social media. “Furthermore, the annotation tool, implemented within the mobile app of the FotoInMotion tool, is a prototype to create a synthetic media service that can connect to any industrial platform available in the market,” adds Paula Viana from INESC.

A new era of storytelling

FotoInMotion’s technological outcomes will enhance the way creative industries use photography in storytelling and impact on other photography-related fields. “Maria Goirigolzarri from NOOR, an international documentary photo agency and the project’s pilot partner, highlighted that ‘having a tool that uploads an image and receives automatic recognition of objects in the picture and automatic key-wording of those objects would be of high value in the photojournalism industry, and not only’,” outlines Anastasopoulos. The Italian fashion company Marni, also a project pilot partner, sees the potential of the web and mobile app for public relations and communications teams in industries such as fashion, as it provides a stand-alone tool for digital reporting on social media. “Sten-Kristian Saluveer, from the Black Nights Film Festival and Storytek, also part of the project’s pilot programme, found the solution’s template and semi-automatic functionality an extremely valuable tool for the events and festival community,” says Anastasopoulos. Moving forward, the project is currently investigating the possibility of exploiting the outcomes of FotoInMotion either by capitalising on the work for further research or by identifying market opportunities. Anastasopoulos concludes: “Several approaches that can contribute to increasing the performance of the solution, additional functionalities and adaptation to other application scenarios were identified and will be kept in mind.”

Keywords

FotoInMotion, video, photography, social media, fashion, festival, immersive storytelling, photojournalism, mobile app, content production, AI,3D conversion

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9 March 2020