Todd Margolis

Distributed Cinema

"Stories unfold over time and through space in layers of media forms."
Adriene Jenik

Distributed Cinema


Role: Mixed Media Specialist

Vroom (Virtual Room) is a next-generation reconfigurable tiled display environment in development at Calit2. Vroom enables freely scalable digital collaboratories, connecting distributed, high-resolution visualization resources for collaborative work in the sciences, engineering and the arts. Vroom can transform a space into a completely immersive mixed media environment with interactive display surfaces and spatialized audio.

The system utilizes narrow bezel display walls, directional audio and advanced interaction devices to share ultra high resolution data. Vroom builds on previous research from the NSF funded OptiPuter project by integrating modular OptiPortables (portable tiled display systems) with open-source middleware for local and remote collaboration.

Vroom enables group collaboration for local and remote participants to share knowledge and experiences. Possible applications include:
  • Remote learning
  • Brainstorming / Storyboarding
  • Post-production review and collaboration
  • High resolution video playback
  • Tele-immersive 3D interaction
  • Easy-to-use screencasting
  • Image, video, text media sharing

Vroom features include:
  • Support for multiple user interfaces (optical tracking, touch UI, gesture interface, etc.)
  • Support for directional and spatialized audio
  • Giga-Pixel image interactivity
  • 4K video streaming
  • 3D visualization
  • Tele-matic production

Previous compatible system (HIPerSpace, HIPerWall, AESOP, OptiPortal) have been developed at Calit2 and distributed around the world to dozens of academic, government and corporate institutions. These systems are connected to high-speed optical networks to enable remote collaboration.

The installation of Vroom in the Calit2 Theater will have approximately 100 displays, both 2D and 3D in a reconfigurable arrangement. Open-source software developed at UCSD and the Electronic Visualization Lab at UIC will enable the graphics (SAGE, CGLX and CalVR) and audio (SoundBender, VMAP and Sonnotate) middleware to share data across the local Vroom system as well as with remote nodes. Vroom will use 10Gb/s networking to all the display nodes with 10 (eventually 20) 10Gb/s uplinks to remote servers. Using both research systems and commercial platforms, we will integrate HD video tele-conferencing with remote nodes. We will employ spatialized audio with distributed Meyer speakers along with multiple wave field synthesis speaker arrays to provide directional audio. 4K video streaming and playback will be integrated into Vroom for both tiled display walls and projection surfaces.

I am the lead UI researcher for markerless and marker-based head and hand gesture tracking for Vroom. My initial role on Vroom has been to facilitate the fabrication and quality-control of the first phase of OptiPortables. I am a collaborator in the design and production of various Hollywood studio demos and the SIGGRAPH 2011 demonstrations in July/August. In addition to overseeing the deployment of multiple systems at remote international venues, I serve as the Stage Manager for these tele-collaborative events.

Support for VROOM has been provided to Calit2 from the NSF, NTT, Pacific Interface, Inc., Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), Cisco, VICON and others through unrestricted gift funding.


Linked Media


CineGrid 2012 Demo

ON*VECTOR 2013 Demo


ON*VECTOR 2013, San Diego, CA

CineGrid 2012, San Diego, CA

SIGGRAPH 2011, Vancouver, Canada.

Tokyo International Film Festival, Tokyo, Japan.

SuperComputing 2011, Seattle, WA

AES 2011, San Diego, CA

CineGrid 2011, San Diego, CA