RTL Group | Potsdam, 11/24/2017

A Journey Through 100 Years of Film Production

Subject: Media & Services, Society
Country: Germany
Category: Project

For UFA’s one hundredth anniversary, the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen opens the special exhibition “Ufa- The History of a Brand”. It reflects the development of audio-visual media from World War I to the present. The “immersive” or volumetric film with action shown in a 3D environment is one of the highlights of the exhibition.

For UFA’s one hundredth anniversary, the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen in Berlin dedicates the special exhibition “Ufa – The History of a Brand” to the strategies of a media company, its reactions to social and political framework conditions, and the aesthetical and technological innovations of each epoch. The exhibition reflects the development of audio-visual media from World War I to the present in an exemplary way. It is on show from today until 22 April 2018.

Demonstrating the newest technological developments, “The Time Tunnel” of the television media library in the museum’s permanent exhibition presents projects of UFA Lab, the digital studio of UFA.  Exhibits showing projects from the online video, virtual reality/360-degree-video and transmedia clarify how digital forms of narration, user interaction and distribution have developed and how they can open new business areas.

The “immersive” or volumetric film is a pioneering technology. The special feature of this new medium is the fact that the action is shown in a three-dimensional environment. Viewers can move freely around the actors and watch them from any perspective, thus becoming part of the scene. As part of the exhibition “Ufa – The History of a Brand”, the volumetric film “Ein ganzes Leben” (An Entire Life) celebrates its premiere. The production was announced at the “VR Now Con” conference in Berlin last week and is now made accessible to a broader public.

Cooperation between UFA Lab and UFA Technology

“Volumetric video” is considered the next important developmental step in the media production segment worldwide. Especially in light of the rapid market developments of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), volumetric video is currently becoming a key technology. “3D Human Body Reconstruction (3D-HBR)”, an especially innovative technology, was developed at the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institut. UFA Lab and UFA Technology cooperated in using this technology for a test production for the volumetric short film “Gateway to Infinity” (nominated for the 2017 Innovation Award Berlin Brandenburg) as an innovative VR experience. Although the holograms for “Gateway to Infinity” could only be presented in a limited form due to the technology’s early stage of development, the actors were captured from all camera perspectives and placed in a virtual room for the first time. The exhibited experience is Germany’s first volumetric film in which the actors can be observed from all perspectives during the action.

Real Actors Instead of Computer-Generated Characters


In the VR experience “Ein ganzes Leben”, viewers follow actress Maria (played by Franziska Brandmeier) through the history of cinema. In an immersive world, they experience the filming of early 1920s productions – and how technical tricks and illusion were used to seduce the viewers even back then. Surprisingly, this set world also turns out to be an illusion because Maria takes her viewers along on a journey through the history of German cinema. Alongside Franziska Brandmeier, Herbert Knaup can be experienced “up-close and personal”. By casting the roles with famous actors, the untrained viewer can also see that the holograms are real actors and not computer-generated characters.

“Ein ganzes Leben” is a production of UFA Lab in cooperation with UFA Technology. The executive producers are Kristian Costa-Zahn and Ernst Feiler, and Fabian Mrongowius is the film’s producer. Floris Asche wrote the script, and Thomas André Szabó directed the film. Frank Govaere was the VFX supervisor. The film was produced in collaboration with the Fraunhofer HHI, Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, and the Triad creative agency. The project was funded by the Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg and Telekom. UFA is a member of the Virtual Reality Berlin-Brandenburg e. V.