Category Archives: npar

more “Age of Sail” news

Wow, it’s been a busy few weeks since we launched “Age of Sail“!  Hard to keep track of all the news, but here are a few highlights…

It’s been nominated for four Annie Awards

For the first time, the Annie Awards will honor animated VR productions. Vying for the prize are “Age of Sail” by Google Spotlight Stories and Broadreach Pictures; AtlasV’s “BattleScar”; “Crow: The Legend” by Baobab Studios; “MindPalace” by Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg GmbH; and Polyarc’s “Moss.”

In addition to the VR bid, Google Spotlight Stories’ “Age of Sail” came away with three other nominations, including character animation in an animated TV/broadcast production (Sikand Srinivas); character design in an animated TV/broadcast production (Bruno Mangyoku); and production design in an animated TV/broadcast production (Celine Desrumaux and Jasmin Lai).

Gnomon released the video of the making-of talk that John Kahrs and I did. (John’s part is not to be missed: a life lesson in thoughtful, personal filmmaking.)

Watch The Making of Google Spotlight Stories: ‘Age of Sail’ from Gnomon_School on www.twitch.tv

And AWN just ran a nice interview with me and my partner-in-crime, Chromosphere’s Theresa Latzko, about the art and tech challenges of the ocean, the look, and more.

Still reading?  Really?  Well, here’s some other nice press, about both VR and cinematic cuts:

 

Age of Sail launches today!

The show we’ve been working on for more than a year is finally out in the world, in all its forms!  You can see it:
 

“Age of Sail” was directed by John Kahrs, and produced at Chromosphere, Evil Eye Pictures, and Google Spotlight Stories.  Working on this story, with this crew, has been an unforgettable experience. I’ll have lots more to say about it in future posts, but for now: enjoy the show!

Coming to VIFF this weekend!

New Realities Image

This just in: I’m coming up to Vancouver this weekend for the Vancouver International Film Festival’s “VIFF Immersed” event. We’re showing Age of Sail (a Canadian premiere!) and Back to the Moon in VR.  I’ll also be doing a talk about both projects in the “New Realities in Storytelling” conference, Saturday September 29th from 3:30-4:15 in the Reliance Theatre at Emily Carr University.  Looks like there’ll be lots of other interesting VR-related talks happening all weekend!  Here’s the full conference program.  The VR exhibition will be running from Sunday to Tuesday in the “Hangar” building at the Centre for Digital Media. Tickets are available here.

Age of Sail premiering at the Venice Film Festival!

John Kahrs VR Short ‘Age of Sail’ Premiering at Venice Film Fest

But who’s that guy with the beard, and why does he keep blocking the screen?

Why do we hate high frame rates?

At the VR Storytelling Meetup last night, an interesting conversation with the other panelists got me thinking about frame rates again. Apparently, for filmmakers shooting live-action 360º video, the high frame rate required for playback in a VR device can be a bit of an obstacle. Not just technically, but psychologically: it’s a turnoff for the audience.

I felt that emotional turnoff when I finally saw Peter Jackson’s first Hobbit movie at 48 frames per second. It was astonishing and beautiful in the sweeping exterior shots. But when it was just characters sitting and talking, it felt… fake. I found myself scrutinizing the makeup, looking for flaws and finding them. At the time I attributed it to a cultural bias: because I grew up in an era when high quality entertainment came in the form of 24p films, and cheesy soap operas were 60i video, I must subconsciously associate high frame rates with low quality.

But what if there’s more to it than that?

In a recent interview about Pearl, Patrick Osborne pointed out that simplifying the visual style, removing texture and detail, leaves room for the audience to put themselves into the characters. It lowers a barrier to empathy. Scott McCloud said as much in Understanding Comics. This is why I’ve always preferred non-photorealism over realism. It’s what you leave out that counts.

What if a similar mechanic is at work around the question of frame rates?  The secondhand report from the live action VR filmmaker was that at 60fps, it felt too obvious that the people were actors. You could look at a background character and tell instantly that they were pretending. Leaving aside the possibility that it may have just been bad acting: is it possible that the high frame rate itself lets you see through the ruse?  Could it be the density of information you’re receiving that pushes your perceptiveness over some threshold, and makes you a sharper lie detector?

And if that turns out to be the case: how should filmmakers respond?

Vote for “Pearl” for the FoST Prize!

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-8-40-04-am

Pearl is one of twenty finalists for the Future of Storytelling Prize! Now’s your chance to vote for Pearl!

kaleidovr

In other news, we’ll also be showing Pearl at the Kaleidoscope VR Summer Showcase, which travels around the world to London, Seoul, Berlin, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I’ll be at the SF event on September 30th.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-8-51-01-amPearl has also been nominated in three categories (Narrative, Mobile, and Original Score) for the Virtual Reality Foundation’s third annual Proto Awards, coming up on October 8th. The nominees all look amazing. I can’t wait to meet them!

“Pearl” at SIGGRAPH 2016

s16_high_fullcolor_left_tag

Pearl will have a big presence at SIGGRAPH this year! We’re doing our making-of presentation in a Production Session on Sunday, July 24th from 10:45-12:15, and showing it on the Vive in the VR Village all day from Sunday through Thursday. Pearl will also be shown at the Appy Hour event on Wednesday, July 27th from 5-7 pm.

I’ll only be there Sunday-Tuesday, but I’m sure looking forward to it!

More press about “Pearl”

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 9.41.08 PM

Banana Frog, June 2: The Making of Google Spotlight Stories’ Short Film: Pearl

Nerd Reactor, June 2: Patrick Osborne on ‘Pearl’ VR-animated short and life after Disney

Cartoon Brew, June 1: Nine Can’t-Miss Events at Annecy 2016

iAnimate Podcast, May 31: Interview with Animator & Director Patrick Osborne

Fast Company Design, May 27: Don’t Be Surprised If Google’s New Animated Short Wins an Oscar

Beyond the Cartoons, May 22: Patrick Osborne’s ‘Pearl’ Launched at Google I/O Conference