23. January 2019
SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards 2019: Mackevision one of five finalists
“Ocean Mind Experience” in the category Visual Media Experience

SXSW announced the finalists for their Interactive Innovation Awards this year. Mackevision is nominated in the Visual Media Experience category with the project “The ocean mind experience – Humpbacks of Hawaii”. “We are tremendously happy and proud to be nominated for an SXSW Award. This is a huge honor for us, especially since this project was just another heart project” says Armin Pohl, Mackevision CEO.

Some of us may have swum with dolphins before. But with humpback whales? Together with the documentary filmmaker from Kiel, Daniel Opitz (Ocean Mind), the CGI specialists from Mackevision made exactly that possible. An illusion so perfect that even scientists of the US state authority NOAA are impressed. For 13 minutes, viewers can experience the massive sea mammals in the depths of the ocean, coming closer than almost any other human before. “A 15 meter long humpback whale floats above you, 100% realistic, close enough to touch. That is fascinating. We make this possible and bring this experience into cinemas”, says Armin Pohl.

A team of around 20 CGI specialists helped Daniel Opitz’s Fulldome experience, “Humpbacks of Hawaii” to deliver immersive and unmatched realism. The work on this unique XR project, which brings to life numerous whales, took place in several phases throughout a period of more than a year. “We created a perfectly realistic stereoscopic 3D experience and enable the audience to discover the whales and their natural habitat. In the process, we give the audience the opportunity to observe and reflect on a world that they would never have had access to in reality because of nature and wildlife preservation laws”, explains Steffen Bärenfänger, Global Creative Lead at Mackevision. This enabled the director, Daniel Opitz, to position the camera freely – anywhere within this newly created 3D world. This creates awe-inspiring sense of closeness to these majestic marine mammals. The team worked intensively with marine researchers and archaeologists to make the animals appear as realistic as possible for the audience when seen from such a short distance.

One major focus revolved around achieving an ambitious goal: to raise the awareness of the Fulldome’s audience for the vast underwater world and the need to protect its inhabitants. Three to five Fulldomes will be built around the world and will present the experience. “Humpbacks of Hawaii” celebrated its premiere at the beginning of 2019 in the specifically created dome for this experience in the Maui Ocean Center on Maui/Hawaii. A location in Berlin is planned for Germany and another Fulldome is already under construction on Germany’s favorite island: as early as spring audiences may have the opportunity to admire Daniel Opitz’s whales in the Palma Aquarium on Majorca.

Visitors to this year’s SXSW will also have a chance to discover the breathtaking digital giants of the oceans. The project will be presented exclusively to the jury and international press at the Interactive Innovation Award Finalist Showcase at SXSW in Austin Texas on March 8, 2019. Later that day the showcase will also be accessible to all SXSW visitors to the Accenture Interactive booth. Mackevision team members will also be on site for a chat on the project. Stay tuned for more details!

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