Video: The swirling, surreal world of Obscura Digital

CNET News' multimedia team visits the San Francisco studio of Obscura Digital, a company that aims to push the boundaries of digital marketing and advertising.

CNET News' multimedia team, reporter Kara Tsuboi, photographer James Martin and cameraman Jared Kohler, visited the San Francisco studio of Obscura Digital, a company that aims to push the boundaries of digital marketing and advertising.

To talk or write about Obscura Digital's projects just doesn't do them justice. Their work is meant to be experienced first hand, hence the catchy phrase CEO Patrick Connolly kept throwing around to describe the 7-year-old company's work: immersion and interactive technologies. Watch the video that we shot on our recent visit to this unassuming warehouse space located in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood.


Having never actually been invited a party or trade show on the kind of scale for which Obscura would be commissioned, I could only imagine the way its projection domes could be used. The projection dome we sat in was 30 feet across, but the company's largest to date spans 93 feet (three times as large!) and was an installation at a real estate party in Dubai. Figures. Bigger is better there, no?

The coolest projects that fall into Obscura's interactive technology category are the touchscreens. Not long ago, Webware Editor Rafe Needleman showed me his video of one of the company's touchscreens , and that was all I needed to see to set up an appointment to meet with the Obscura folks at their studio. Relying on multipoint touch sensors, these screens act as a data hub for your media, Internet feeds, and potentially much, much more. You could waste some serious time flipping through the photo archives, enlarging the pictures, tossing them out of frame, or even calling up a movie and stretching the screen to suit your tastes. So much fun.

Sure, I've played with Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's Surface, but not only is Obscura's touchscreen much, much larger, there's virtually no delay and there's a certain grace to the technology that just makes it enjoyable to play with and watch.

Sadly, Obscura's studio isn't open to the public for tours. If you're still craving more visuals from its mesmerizing space, check out James' audio slide show below.

About the author

Kara Tsuboi has covered technology news for CNET and CBS Interactive for nearly seven years. From cutting edge robotics at NASA to the hottest TVs at CES to Apple events in San Francisco, Kara has reported on it all. In addition to daily news, twice every week her "Tech Minutes" are broadcast to CBS TV stations across the country.


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