Bubiko: First Flight: the Birth of Spatial Cinema, and its potential for art, business and more.

The afternoon of October 28, 2020. The Baretto Cafe, in Bari, a small Italian city on the Adriatic Sea. The Birth of Spatial Cinema.

Spatial Cinema: filmmaking that utilizes AR to create both films and location-based experiences.

Bubiko: First Flight is the title of the spatial cinema experience that was born in Bari. B:FF was made by a team of three: Novaby, a 3D model making company that also does award-winning work with location-based AR, Augmented.City,who made AR history by creating the first and largest Open Augmented Reality Cloud(OARC)-compliant digital twin of a city; and myself, the producer/director/”screen”writer/cinematographer.

Location-based AR works! Bubiko was positioned indoors, and with a degree of accuracy of 10 centimeters, something not possible with GPS. Model by Novaby. AR by Augmented.City. Bubiko Foodtour concept by Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama.

AR history was made for three reasons:

  1. The accuracy of location-based AR utilizing the technical specifications of the OARC was proven. Years of planning, by an international group of AR experts, became reality! The Augmented.City Bari testbed, along with Immersal’s smaller testbed in Helsinki, will shape the future of city-wide AR.
Dancers: Chloe’ Apfel and Gabriele Montaruli. Choreography by Ezio Schiavulli. The production is by the Italian association Ri.E.S.Co and the French association Expresso Form. Music by Antonello Arciuli. Bubiko loves dance! (And mango sticky rice.)

2. For the first time, a shareable, multi-user indoor/outdoor AR experience was created. Although the Baretto Cafe is the location of one major scene, parts of Bubiko: First Flight can also be be seen other locations, such as the square in front of the 1000+ year old Basilica San Nicola, the tiny passages of the medieval city, and in front of the magnificent Teatro Margherita.

Bubiko and her mango-shaped blimp also “participated” in a dance performance by Network Internazionale Danza PUGLIA. Although the performance among the columns of the Bari Provincial Agency, is gone, videos from the dance can be seen with the AC Tourist app. The AC Tourist app not only allows users to see Bubiko: First Flight, but thousands of other digital objects, such as useful signs, videos and information for tourists to Bari.

Bubiko and her blimp approaching the Theatre Margherita. In the center of the image, at the bottom, is a video by Augmented.City, one of the thousands of pieces of information they have positioned around Bari. The information is visible with the AC Tourist app, and includes history, TripAdvisor reviews and informative digital objects of all kinds.

3. A new art form, spatial cinema, was born. Just at the Lumiere Brothers 1896 short film, Train Arriving at a Station, was simplistic, so is Bubiko: First Flight. However, both films represent a collection of diverse technical achievements. Visionary individuals and companies saw the work of the Lumiere Brothers and realized its potential for entertainment, education, business, health, travel, fashion and more. Today’s visionaries will shape our future with location-based AR.

Long story short: Bubiko: First Flight was originally planned to be an AR installation for my presentation at the VIEW Conference in Turin.

The conclusion of my presentation at VIEW is on Youtube.This section focuses on Spatial Cinema and the story behind Bubiko: First Flight

My presentation was entitled: Two Blimps Walk Into a Bar. Part 1 is about proto-spatial cinema, the history of Bubiko Foodtour and more.

Part two of Two Blimps Walk Into a Bar, with my background information, an analysis of two AR-themed videos and an explanation of GeoPose, the foundation of location-based AR.


The OARC is welcoming everyone interested in AR, and especially those interested in creating large-scale testbeds. Contact Jan-Erik Vijne at the OARC.


Congratulations to the team at Novaby for their win at the AIA/Honor Awards for Washington Architecture.


… recently submitted Bubiko: First Flight to the SXSW Film Festival. Hoping that both the film and its companion AR installation can be shown.


Quick mockup of a digital souvenir for those who visit Baretto. The final version will be in a different location, and the elements will be presented in a more spatial/3D manner. Although the owner of the Vespa was very happy to let me pose with his motorbike, I don’t how many visitors will be lucky enough to meet him and his machine. Digital souvenirs like this are unique mementos, and of course, perfect for sharing on social media.

Fun fact: Halfway through the production of Bubiko: First Flight, a collection of images of historic movies was found hanging on a wall, including this:

One of the first movies ever made on film. In a theatre. 2D, screen, light projected through film.
The first movie ever made in which shared, machine-readable digital information can be viewed in the physical world. (Fortunately, visitors to the Baretto Cafe can now see the beautiful front of the building, which was being repaired when we were there.)

“It’s all data”

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store