• Wed
  • Jul 30, 2014
  • Updated: 3:19am


PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 December, 2003, 12:00am

It's not exactly Minority Report but you can catch a glimpse of what the future holds for billboard broadcasting and advertising in Hong Kong at the Polytechnic University (PolyU) this afternoon.

Organised by Citybroadcast, an independent and free Web-based television platform, 'M Bomb' is an audio-visual exhibition and multi-media show that looks at the commercial and artistic potential of outdoor displays.

The exhibition features a series of advertising billboards that interact and 'speak to' potential customers. While this futuristic vision may seem realistic, it is pure science fiction - for now.

Foster Fung, the producer of the three-hour event, believes billboard broadcasting will take off in a big way in the near future as a result of urban development. 'M Bomb' aims to give people a taste of what is to come.

'Our ultimate goal is to create an interactive experience beyond technology where everyone becomes a participant and to make audio-visual media more interesting,' he says.

So forget about those big TV screens that you see in Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. According to Fung, these open air displays have been hugely misused. He believes his company can resolve this 'problem'.

'These billboards are just like traditional televisions at the moment. But passers-by don't really want to watch television on the street. These displays could be put to better use,' says Mr Fung.

'What we have created is more like architectural decorations and new gimmicks.'

'M Bomb', to be held at the PolyU TV Studios from 6pm to 9pm today, consists of four programmes. One features an 'architectural video wall', measuring 10 to 12 metres in width and four metres in height, showing a Hong Kong night scene 'in slow motion'.

'The idea is like looking out from a revolving restaurant - your view changes very, very slowly,' explains Fung. 'The purpose of this wall is to demonstrate how commercial billboards can get messages across in a more aesthetic and artistic way. At the moment, very little thought goes into a standard on-screen commercial. Some are beautifully shot, but most aren't.

'So the screen production [of a commercial] has to be gimmicky, otherwise the message is completely lost and it won't attract any attention.'

Mr Fung adds that in a way, these billboards will become a visual artistic platform. The huge screen will also show beautifully shot architectural photos to highlight the aesthetics.

In another programme, Robert Ellis-Geiger, a lecturer at PolyU, will show off his piano playing and singing skills in 'Video Piano Voice Trio'.

Mr Fung says: said: 'He has a very special and engaging performing style and his music will be accompanied by video images and projections.'

The university's MIC (Multimedia Innovation Centre) - which conducts research on digital entertainment, focusing on video games - will be demonstrating various interactive audio-visual systems. Presented by the Centre's Dr Alpha Lee, one features a screen that reacts to the sounds and noises of its surroundings.

While the concept of presenting something commercial in an artistic way is easy to grasp, in practice, Mr Fung says finding enough content to fill these billboards around the clock is already an issue. However, he thinks once the idea has caught on, the billboards would literally change the visual landscape of Hong Kong.

'I think there is great interest among companies to have their products shown on these big screens because of the publicity they can generate. For example, music labels would be more than happy to showcase videos of their artists,' he says.

'However, the videos would need to be re-formatted for the big screen post production.

'At the exhibition, you will be able to see how we turned one music video to look like a big concert video backdrop.

'It is hard to describe the visual impact ... you will have to come and see it for yourself.'

Admission to 'M Bomb' is free


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