A couple of days ago, I participated on a Reddit AMA about the VR series GONE with my friends from @Skybound and @PettyJTyrant. It was a great opportunity to revisit the creative and technical challenges we faced during this crazy adventure, as well all our accomplishments. So far I have produced or directed over a dozen cinematic VR projects, all of them valuable on their own right, but GONE surpasses all others in breadth and depth. No other time have I been able to explore, test and develop so many cinematic VR storytelling techniques. From camera moves to visual effects and interactive features, GONE remains at the bleeding edge of cinematic VR today. No other piece of 360 video content out there can compare to it, even though we finished production about a year ago and the first episode aired shortly after. We pulled off some crazy shit on this project. In the future people will wonder how could we achieve what we did during times where there were ZERO off-the-shelf production and postproduction tools for this kind of filmmaking. From DIY makeshift camera systems to painfully laborious postproduction techniques and previously non-existent user experience design, we figured out a way to make it all happen. I only wish it was promoted as well as it deserves.
Archive for the 'wevr' Category
A few months ago I produced a VR music video with my friends at Wevr for the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels. I’m proud to announce that The New York Times just dropped it in their nytvr mobile app.
Run The Jewels keeps pushing boundaries with their 360° video for "Crown," premiering on The New York Times's virtual-reality app.Check out the full video from Killer Mike GTO and EL-P: http://nyti.ms/1QOIbed
Posted by The New York Times on Thursday, March 10, 2016
I have to admit it caught my by surprise. I’ve never found my work on top of my twitter feed before. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition 2016 in Virtual Reality is out and available for download today. As Adi Robertson from The Verge pointed out, this might be first time where VR video has been made available to the public for a price. Will people buy it? Time will tell.
And of course hanging out with the Models and my pals from Wevr in the Dominican Republic for a week was a difficult endurance test that challenged every professional skill we’ve developed as virtual reality filmmakers over the last couple of years 😀
Waves was a complete success at the New Frontier Exhibit of the Sundance Film Festival this year. I got my Sundance member card and participated in a series of discussions, panels and interviews with many interesting creative people that have a lot to say about virtual reality and storytelling. Here are some of them: @brillhart Principal VR filmmaker at Google, @Saschkaunseld Creative Director at Oculus Story Studio, my creative partners on Waves @BrainDickinson & @ReggieWatts, @PatrickTOsborne Director of Disney’s Feast, @ImmersiveJourno godmother of virtual reality, and @djabatt of course.
I have been fooling around with ThreeJS and virtual reality boilerplates for desktop and mobile browsers using Oculus and Cardboard for a while, but this just takes things to a whole new level.
A-frame is described by its creators as
an open source framework for easily creating WebVR experiences with HTML. It is designed and maintained by MozVR (Mozilla’s virtual reality team research team). A-Frame wraps WebGL in HTML custom elements, enabling web developers to create 3D VR scenes that leverage WebGL’s power, without having to learn its complex low-level API. Because WebGL is ubiquitous in modern browsers on desktop and mobile, A-Frame experiences work across desktop, iPhone (Android support coming soon), and Oculus Rift headsets.
It is not the first time we see something like this —remember VRML and more recently GLAM— but this is the first time I sense a strong design and content oriented vision behind a toolset of this kind. It has been clearly built taking into consideration the full spectrum of creative people that currently fuel the web as well as the mobile space, and this I hope will help it stick around. To see what I mean just launch http://aframe.io/ from the broswer in your iPhone if you have one (sorry androids), browse through the examples, and hit that cardboard icon.
I spent a couple of months this Summer working with JT Petty on a virtual reality serialized science fiction thriller called GONE that got released today on Samsung’s MilkVR interactive spherical video platform. You can’t really experience it unless you have a GearVR with a compatible Samsung phone, but there are enough resources available online to give you an idea of what this is about, starting with this article on Variety.
GONE is a joint effort from Wevr, Skybound and Samsung to dive deep into the mostly unexplored waters of cinematic storytelling in virtual reality. This means we had to take the format a bit more seriously than it had been done before, starting with the scope and length of the story, cinematic language and camera movements, all the way to building a system that allows the audience to actually explore the scene at will through interactive features, taking them as close as possible to the notion of presence, or being there, that is key to VR. While you watch GONE, you have the choice to explore the settings of a scene at will, and by doing so you might gain better insight into some aspect of the story, but you might also miss out on something equally important just behind your shoulder. So every time you play an episode you will experience a slightly different story based of how you chose to explore the scene.
In order to achieve this, we shot every scene from multiple vantage points, and developed a playback system with a universal timeline that allows you to “jump” between multiple concurrent video tracks. The sense of being there while the scene unfolds around you is outstanding. When I think about all the limitations imposed to us by our 360° video capture, postproduction and playback tools, I can only begin to imagine how powerful this medium will become once better solutions have been developed to support our creative practice. GONE is the first time I watch a VR piece that feels as engaging in terms of story as any of my favorite TV shows, and this the result of JT’s excellent screenwriting in combination with the craft and effort we put into understanding what it means to tell a story in VR, and how to achieve this using the tools we had at the time.