michael naimark

Aspen Moviemap

Aspen Moviemap

The first interactive moviemap was produced at MIT in the late 1970s of Aspen, Colorado. A gyroscopic stabilizer with 16mm stop-frame cameras was mounted on top of a camera car and a fifth wheel with an encoder triggered the cameras every 10 feet. Filming took place daily between 10 AM and 2 PM to minimize lighting discrepancies. The camera car carefully drove down the center of the street for registered match-cuts. In addition to the basic "travel" footage, panoramic camera experiments, thousands of still frames, audio, and data were collected. The playback system required several laserdisc players, a computer, and a touch screen display. Very wide-angle lenses were used for filming, and some attempts at orthoscopic playback were made.

See Also:

"Aspen the Verb: Musings on Heritage and Virtuality" Presence, Special Issue on Virtual Heritage, MIT Press, 15.3, June 2006.

"Place Runs Deep: Virtuality, Place, and Indigenousness"
Virtual Museums Symposium, Salzberg, 1998

"A 3D Moviemap and a 3D Panorama"

SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 3012, San Jose, 1997

R. Mohl, Cognitive Space in the Interactive Movie Map: An Investigation of Spatial Learning in Virtual Environments, PhD dissertation, Education and Media Technology, M.I.T., 1981

Lippman, Andrew, "Movie-maps: An application of the optical videodisc to computer graphics," Proceedings of the 7th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques, Seattle, Washington, United States, 1980, pp. 32–42.


Architecture Machine Group & Media Laboratory demo, M.I.T., 1979 - (ongoing)


The Aspen Moviemap began as an idea by MIT undergraduate Peter Clay, in collaboration with graduate students Bob Mohl and me. Peter "movemapped" the hallways of MIT in early 1978, as the second videodisc demo made by the Architecture Machine Group.

The Aspen Moviemap was filmed in the fall of 1978, in winter 1979, and briefly again (with an active gyro stabilizer) in the fall of 1979. Many people were involved in the production, most notably: Nicholas Negroponte (Architecture Machine Director, who found support from the Cybernetics Technology Office of DARPA), Andy Lippman (Principal Investigator), Bob Mohl (who wrote his PhD dissertation based on it), Ricky Leacock (MIT Film/Video head), John Borden (Peace River Films), Kristina Hooper (UCSC), and people from the Architecture Machine Group, including Rebecca Allen, Scott Fisher, Walter Bender, Steve Gregory (faculty), and Stan Syzaki. Many more people at ArcMac were involved after production, including Steve Yelick, Paul Heckbert, and Ken Carson. I was at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and was responsible for cinematography design and production.