Secret Coast by Immersive Storylab

Taking place along the UK coastline, Secret Coast is a mobile augmented reality encounter between people, place and time. 

A fully functional prototype in a few weeks

Immersive Storylab, along with several other University and Company partners, including developed a fully functional prototype as part of a UK programme to bring immersive content experiences to new audiences in the UK.

The project has been support supported through the Creative XR immersive content innovation programme from the Digital Catapult and Arts Council based in the UK, which is a programme that is allowing companies to experiment and innovate with new ways of reaching audiences with AR and VR content.

Over the course of the 12 week programme, Immersive Storylab, utilising the platform, developed a storyworld that enables users to enter the past through sound, video and augmented reality portals to enter with complex scenes that people can walk around and interact with. Using volumetrically filmed actors in combination with CGI environments and creatures to bring history to life. The prototype demonstrates some of the advanced capabilities of using next generation augmented reality, such as Apple’s ARKit, to engage people in story experiences.

The app is designed to be a shared experience aimed at Families, Teenagers, Young Adults, Walkers, School Groups and Place Visitors. It’s designed with different levels of interactivity in mind: young children will be engaged with age-appropriate interactivity; whilst deeper story complexity for older audiences make it into a shared experience.

Secret Coast home screen

The Concept: a mobile-AR experience, bringing invisible cultural heritage to life.

This mobile app enhances walks along Britain’s coastline: 11,072 miles of beaches, coves, seaside-promenades, towns, villages - a place of national contemplation, reflection and emotion; part of who we are, capturing our powerful connection with the sea. With stories of piracy, wrecking, smuggling, mythological creatures, it’s a space not fully explored.

Secret Coast has a scalable, multi-layered, interactive storyworld melding fact and fiction, time and space, past and present. Imagine history is happening all around you, the past encountered through ‘breaches’ in membranes between time-periods. Modern-day villains have crossed these’ breaches’, ransacking the past, stealing communal treasures.

Characters from history need you. You’ll enter Violet’s 18th Century world through sound, immersive videos, gameplay and AR. You’ll be part of it, helping Violet protect ‘treasure’, hidden by her infamous grandmother, Mother Redcap.

And ultimately you’ll save the real treasure: dying sea-creatures….

The Camouflage, Lucca Comics Mask Festival, Italy, October 2009

The Result

“We’ve created Secret Coast to use AR’s unique abilities to enhance environments which are usually difficult to reach as arts and cultural propositions. Our aim is to create shared experiences which move audiences, emotionally but also literally, to important, yet perhaps under-explored, and under-invested areas of the country.

Our story captures a formational period in UK’s coastal history, combining it with fantastical aspects of what makes the sea a place of inspiration, awe and wonder—with mythological creatures and characters. AR is such an exciting technology to work with, but ultimately We hope our work helps people to think about how deeply connected we are with the sea, emotionally, historically, culturally and environmentally.”

Peter Woodbridge, Creative Producer, Immersive Storylab


The Trailer