It's remarkable how many people, on arriving at Inspace, make coo-ing and ooh-ing sounds while wondering why they have never been there before.
Hiding amongst more mundane and less publicly accessible parts of Edinburgh University, in the shadow of the Mosque lies one of the most exciting spaces in Edinburgh. More than an event space, everything that happens there is either programmed by New Media Scotland or a partnership between them and the event organisers. Since the lab itself - which appears at first to be little more than a large white box on the inside - is fitted with some extremely interesting toys, no two events are alike and most are remarkable.
Some of the most envigorting and memorable experiences are the Atmosphere events; it's like watching a film with all the bonus features turned on and surrounding you. And usually with a good drink. Although these happen throughout the year they peak during the Edinburgh International Film Festival - see what happened last year...
This year's Atmosphere screenings were on the theme of 'belief'. Starting with the heavenly Wings of Desire, finishing with Hellboy and passing through Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein, Portrait of Jennie, The Creator, The Illusionist, Finding Neverland and a 24hour Potterthon - midnight to midnight in bed with all eight Harry Potter films.
Sadly I had to miss the first event. I gather Wings of Desire was a great success despite my absence, with acrobats and edible clouds!
Frankenstein featured the premiere of Yati Durant's new soundtrack, largely electronic but with a live violin.
For Young Frankenstein the lab's many projectors helped to liven up key moments in the film. Not that many seemed to notice as they were so caught up in the film itself.
I sometimes wonder what the neighbours must think.
Next up was Portrait of Jennie. For this they installed an ice rink (!) in the lab, hunted down a suitable outfit and graced us with a moody five minutes of skating to open with.
And as the film closed the room was filled with snow. Lovely.
I'm not sure how G&T is relevant to The Creator, a short film about Alan Turing, but nobody was complaining. An oppressive atmosphere as fleshy graphics pulsated on the walls while a computer voice recited numbers. The film was then followed by a Q&A session with the film's creators, Al & Al.
Last year Ericka Duffy, who works for Lush's excellent Gorilla Perfume line, created a signature scent for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. This was a great success so we had high hopes for her interpretation of The Illusionist. Sure enough, Ericka had filled the space with intrigue and had a small team to help make everything happen. The bar consisted of mysterious glass bottles topped with red wax (containing a cocktail of whiskey and byrhh, provided by Lounge Bohemia) and paper bags (with sugared almonds inside) - both to be consumed only when instructed.
Bob Last, one of the film's producers, came to introduce it - much to the surprise and delight of the team.
As the film opened one of the team walked theatrically through the audience with a prop cigarette, wafting scents behind her.
Cued by a projection beneath the screen, the crowd opened their bottles and drank (with a few gasps audible as they realised how strong the contents were).
Next, as the film moved across the water the audience were sprayed with the scent of sea air.
The film arrived in Edinburgh and electronic vaporisers came on at the back of the room...
... and a few moments later the two gorse-covered tubs at the front started to produce a gorse-scented mist.
Then it was time to open the paper bags...
... as bubbles were blown across the room, both by the assistants and volunteers in the crowd.
On the floor in front of the the screen had been painted the famous image from the film of the Nux Girl soap advert. As this scene came on the lips on this painting - hitherto uncoloured - were illuminated with a vivid red light; within moments there was someone there filling the lips in with red paint.
As the film came to the end, mounting Arthur's Seat, the ultrasonic gorse mist went on again, only for the mist to be blown towards the crowd.
The whole experience was magical. I can't wait to see what Ericka might do next time.
After this spectacle the screening of Finding Neverland was a (relatively) simple affair. The lab was covered with gilt and there were fairies projected around the room which people could 'catch' with small hand mirrors and chase them around the walls. Oh, and more gin.
And so to the surreal highlight of the series, although not the finale. A dozen beds had been purchased from IKEA and fitted into the lab.
Places were booked in pairs for people to spend 24 hours watching Harry Potter.
Most came in, or with, their jim-jams. After all, beds!
Three films in there was a pause for breakfast; porridge and toast helped refresh those who had been lulled to sleep by the cozy beds.
Heads down for Goblet of Fire and then it was lunchtime. Off to the Meadows for some Quiddich!
Alas, the match was rained off. Soggy but certainly awake everyone headed back to the lab for salads and coffee, and some intense Sorting Hat quizzing.
The final lap of the films saw everyone invigorated and excited. The strange experiment was drawing to a close and the group had formed an unusual beddish bond.
And then, suddenly, 24 hours after arriving, it was over!
Groggily we went our separate ways, proud of having been part of such a unique day.
How to finish? With Hellboy of course.
The Potterthon beds were laid out beneath the screen, while a fascinating variety of projection-mapped animations passed across the wall.
The film, and the season, ended with the audience doused in flames.
The most puzzling thing for me is that the Film Festival don't seem to have made any sort of fuss about these goings-on. I understand that they have a lot of premieres to wrangle but the Atmosphere events received - as far as I can see - no mention at all in their official coverage. I think they may be seriously missing a trick...