The Digital Studio
When UFA LAB took up its work in 2009, the iPhone had been on the market for two years, and YouTube was four years old. Alongside the smartphone, which allows people to shoot and play back videos anywhere, social media and their interactive offerings have undone the old division of labor between producer and consumer. UFA responded by establishing a research and development division tasked with sounding out the new market for fields of labor and potential sources of revenue. Assignments pointed in all directions: UFA LAB devised a transmedia concept with the ZDF network that lured viewers away from the TV and onto the internet. Blogs and web series were conceived for Facebook and YouTube. Educational formats targeted at young internet users were developed for non-profit organizations. On a job for a brand-name manufacturer, an UFA LAB team traveled to Florida with a 360-degree camera system in 2015: the virtual experience of riding the boulevards of Miami in the passenger seat of a convertible was used at fairs and in showrooms for the launch of a car model. One hundred years after UFA’s founding, one thing the LAB is currently working on is “immersive film,” in which viewers feel like part of the production unfolding around them.