Christopher Nolan played a lot with our minds with the unexpected end of The Prestige. Then there was another mind-boggling end for American Psycho when we keep guessing if it was all part of his hallucinations. Then again, The Prisoners. The Detective Loki hears the whistle and the screen goes blank. We are perplexed with these surprising ends. Then the romantic ones, such as The Fault In Our Stars, which break our hearts with a sad ending. Our heart bleeds for the protagonists to whom we relate. Some movies stick in our minds though they are works of fiction or intended for only entertainment purpose. What if we change that? Our hearts go for those characters on screen when something unfortunate happens to them. With genius minds writing mind-blowing stories, extraordinary directors directing those stories, and actors giving life to those characters, some movies stay with us even after we watched them, and we linger on events happened in those movies. What if we decide not to let anything unexpected happen?
It is possible now. Viewers can change the plot. The brain-controlled movie has been produced and it changes the plot based on the responses of viewers. The viewer wears an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset. Richard Ramchurn, a graduate student at the University of Nottingham in Nottingham, England, has been making films from past several years that can be controlled with the mind. The headset detects an electrical activity in the brain, and the music, animations, and scenes on the screen change depending upon what is in the mind. The different versions of the film have been filmed and there are nearly trillion possibilities regarding the narrative. His film, The Moment, explores the dark future as the characters fight for survival.
Ramchurn explained, “The headset reads really tiny electrical signals generated by the firing of neurons in your brain. From that, we get attention data that gets sent via Bluetooth to a computer where I’ve built a multimedia system that will choose different narrative threads based on drops in attention.”
In a special-scenario at Nottingham University, a student named Charlie Grainger watched two versions of the movie. Both versions were controlled by his subconscious. He told that he enjoyed the experience of shaping the story. He told Sky Sports, “You know when you watch a film and you kind of will the characters to do a certain thing? It doesn’t always end up that way, so maybe it’s nice to have more control of the film in that way.”
Mr. Ramchurn plans to take the idea of giving freedom to a viewer to shape the story. He did not change the ending of the movie. He has an idea that the technology is in the initial stages. The technology will be developed further in next 15-20 years. There will be more artistic freedom to filmmakers. Though the end of this film was not altered, there will be films which will allow viewers to change the ending. Then the entire purpose of the movie will be changed. This may work against filmmakers as the performance of the film is largely dependent on the ending of a film. Let’s see how the technology will progress, how filmmakers will adapt to it, and whether an audience will prefer it.