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Research: Film, Television & Digital Media

Bridging Media on Cultural Sites

Rieti and Rome, Italy, 2011-2012.

Bridging Media on Cultural Sites: the Colosseum as Media for Non-linear Storytelling was an experimental project in collaboration with Centro Sperimentale MEDIARS. It aimed to create engaging non-linear storytelling media based on historical scenes (known and unknown) in the Colosseum using video streaming, HTML5 technology and mobile phones combined with storytelling and cultural elements.

As one of the most popular monuments in the world, the Colosseum is able to attract and seduce millions of visitors every year. It has inspired not only numerous movies and television programs well known to the international audience, but also new media products such as websites, interactive DVDs and video games.

The project did not intend to distract the visitor from looking at the Colosseum, but similar to the example provided by The Forbidden City, strove to add an invisible layer to the historic place, creating a new playful experience.

The research project created a prototype that, during a visit to the Colosseum, adds a virtual aspect to the reality of the historic remains. The system combines a non-linear narrative, calculated through the visitor's own choices and movements in the site. It's an entertaining application that analyzes an ongoing visit and presents the contents in a personalized way. Furthermore, it identifies a set of "responsive objects" that are the keys to create links between the virtual world of myths and the reality of the historical site.

The project also required the selection of talented young participants for the positions of screenwriter/director, editor, architect/set designer/art director, cinematographer, producer and developer.

Site: colosseum.bridgingmedia.net.


  • Start project, content research (November 11, 2011)
  • More photos at the site for image recognition (January 18, 2012)
  • Software design (Start of February 2012)
  • Testing with Google (February 29, 2012)
  • International participants arrive at UCLA (Start of April, 2012)
  • Pre-production with Alumni and Students (April 13, 2012)
  • Media production (May 1, 2012)
  • Team moves to Rome (June 24, 2012)
  • Initial tests on site (July, 2012)
  • Test and refinements (July/August 2012)
  • Software development (End of 1st week of August, 2012)
  • Demo at the Colosseum (November, 2012)

Project Team: Alessandro Marianantoni (UCLA REMAP), Massimo Ciavolella (UCLA Italian Department) and Marcella Spinotti (Fondazione Italia).

In Collaboration With: UCLA REMAP, Fondazione Azzurra, Google.

Mentors: Marc Abraham, Betsy Heimann, Andrea Morricone, Pietro Scalia and Dante Spinotti.

Images and photos of on-site data collection and tests at the Colosseum

Images and photos of the video production work in Los Angeles