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World-first Instrumented Auditorium cinema capable of measuring audience response to open in Bristol

One of the world’s most innovative cinemas, capable of monitoring audience reactions like never before, is coming to Bristol.

Officially called an Instrumented Auditorium, the 36-person 150-metre squared cinema has received a £400,000 funding grant from the Wolfson Foundation to equip it with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to record data on audience members and how they react to the content they are watching and hearing.

The controlled environment will record audiences’ biometric responses to what they’re watching and hearing, including their heart rate, eye movement and brain activity.

Researchers will even be able to monitor the electrical properties of people’s skin to gauge their subconscious emotional and sympathetic responses.

These new insights will underpin future commissioning, directorial and production approaches to new content creation using emerging creative technologies.

Iain Gilchrist, Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol, said: “If we want to understand whether a new experience or new technology is working, we have to ask the audience.

“The Instrumented Auditorium will allow us to stream data that captures audience responses moment by moment, providing unique insights that take us way beyond current questionnaire-based methods.

“This is the first fully instrumented facility of its kind in the world, which is exciting not just for us as researchers but for those working in the creative sector, providing insights which will shape the future of film, television and beyond.”

The Instrumented Auditorium is due to open in May next year at the MyWorld creative hub at The Coal Shed on Avon Street, St Phillips, as part of the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.

The auditorium will be just one of the world-leading research and development (R&D) facilities at The Coal Shed on Avon Street, where MyWorld will be based.

MyWorld is led by the University of Bristol in partnership with 12 other organisations, including Bristol Old Vic, Watershed, Aardman Animations, the BBC and BT.

The new facilities, alongside training and production activities, will open a world of R&D to creative organisations, big and small, in the region and beyond.

Pictured: A computer-generated image of the Instrumented Auditorium courtesy of AHMM Architects

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