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Giant: A VR film presented by HP

Giant, an innovative Virtual Reality film presented by HP in collaboration with the NEXT pavilion in Cannes this year, is the first film utilising the latest technology in fully immersive film experiences. 

The 6 minute short is about two parents, who, trapped in an active war-zone, struggle to distract their young daughter by inventing a fantastical tale. Inspired by real events, this cinematic virtual-reality experience, transports the viewer into the family's makeshift basement shelter. The parents' fairytale intensifies as bomb-blasts draw closer and closer...

Directors Milica Zec and Winslow Turner Porter III talked to us about their project and the challenges in VR filmmaking. “We are still quite limited in what we can do compared to what we want to do, because technology is not quite there yet 100%. But it is progressing so fast that by next year our ideas and plans will definitely be achievable.” 

With the idea that you are static in a room and the camera doesn’t move, the viewer can actually turn their head and observe what’s around them, which is the interesting with VR, the actual recreation of space. The main problem according to the filmmakers is with people “as we have to 3D scan them, inch-by-inch and even if we do, the human body changes every second, there are wrinkles and movements that cannot be predicted or captured, there are the zones in-between fingers, toes etc. that are almost impossible to scan. That’s why we are still quite limited with having people’s movements limited in VR films, as it would look faulty and fake at times.” 

3D objects are made by taking hundreds of photos of an object and then sticking them together. It’s the so called Biometric Video Capture. It’s still not perfect and quit expensive though, but in few years “we will be laughing with those things”. 

Most people are exploring VR for the first time and there are some necessary queues to lead them, but according to the filmmakers the younger audiences are more comfortable and understand it much faster, “they are eager to push their senses as much as possible”. But it is similarly difficult for the actors “since they are filming in a green room, with nothing else around and they just have to use their imagination for picturing what’s around”. 

Co-director Milica Zec pointed out though that “it is a natural instinct to react to things happening around you, so it would be actually weird if people became immune to virtual reality.” 

Very soon audiences will be able to walk around and explore more. “We are not far from the museums of the future where people will actually get inside the paintings and make their own path.” 

 

About the directors: 

Milica Zec (Director, Co-Creator) is a New York City-based film and virtual reality director, editor, and screenwriter. Her directorial debut in the virtual reality medium was a short narrative piece called, “Giant,” which premiered at Sundance Film Festival New Frontier 2016. Since its premiere, “Giant” has been lauded as a seminal expression of the potential of virtual reality as a storytelling vehicle. Milica has been collaborating for 9-years with the performance artist Marina Abramovic on numerous projects. milicazec.com

Winslow Turner Porter III (Producer, Co-Creator) is a Brooklyn based director, creative technologist and producer who has always been fascinated with the possibilities of how the intersection of art and technology can elevate storytelling. 

Interview: Martin I. Petrov 

gersbach.net