Thanks to Chris Colman and the folks at PIG China for the opportunity to further expound on China’s virtual reality industry. This interview was given last December, following my presentation on “The Art of Indirection” at the 7th International Conference & Exhibition on Visual Entertainment in Beijing.
Thanks to Toony Wu and the talented team at Jelly Monster in Beijing for hosting an iAVRrc salon yesterday afternoon, featuring my presentation on “The Art of Indirection”, and a few words from Nokia’s Jill Smolin on the creative potential of the OZO virtual reality camera.
(A seven-year odyssey comes to fruition as Disney’s first original Chinese TV co-production.)
This week, I’m taking a break from virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to talk about actual reality: Chinese stone lions are alive!
A “seven-year itch” was finally scratched as I watched the premiere of Ban Jin Ba Liang (半斤八兩 in Mandarin, which loosely translates to “tweedledum and tweedledee”) January 16th, 2016 on China’s Dragon TV channel. In 2009, Wen Feng, Yi Yan and I had the crazy idea to make a buddy comedy about Chinese stone lions. Initial development was bootstrapped by our Beijing-based content company Magic Dumpling Entertainment under the working title Stone Cold Lion, featuring our hearty heroes Chip and Nick.
The title may be a tad hyperbolic, but thanks to the folks at the MIT Technology Review for the piece on my VR activities in China…
The Beijing Film Academy has joined the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA), with International Animation & Virtual Reality Research Center Executive Director Kevin Geiger serving as the school’s IVRA council representative.
The IVRA was established by HTC and other leading enterprises and research institutes in the VR area, under the guidance of China’s Electronic Information Division of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The IVRA aims to enhance the development of the VR ecosystem by promoting technological innovation, formulating industrial standards and bridging hardware, software, content, platforms and industrial applications.
Mr. Geiger noted: “HTC and their partners, in cooperation with the Chinese government, has provided a great service to the VR ecosystem in the form of the IVRA. As China’s first and foremost film school, the Beijing Film Academy is proud to serve on the IVRA council and to contribute to the evolution of immersive media.”
The following is a transcript of my presentation on VR storytelling principles, “The Art of Indirection”, delivered on December 1st at the 7th International Conference & Exhibition on Visual Entertainment in Beijing.
I’m here to talk about the development portion of the entertainment workflow, specifically related to virtual reality. My own background focused upon production during the first half of my career, the 12 years I spent with Walt Disney Feature Animation. After moving to China in 2008, I shifted my focus to development. This development work began in traditional areas of film and television – which I have taught here at the Beijing Film Academy – and shifted to virtual reality over the past year.
Virtual reality requires a different way of thinking. I believe you’ve heard this already. There have been great comments made today on this point, not restricted to virtual reality, but related to any new means of storytelling. When Demetri Portelli talked about shooting at 120 frames per second in 4k, he said something obvious, but also easily overlooked: the director needs to think differently about how to direct; the actors need to think differently about how to act; everybody involved in the production chain needs to review their assumptions, to adapt and expand upon what’s possible in the new media environment. This applies to VR as well. It’s easy to bring your preconceptions and old ways of working into play. In this respect – and I’m not the first person to make this observation – the current state of virtual reality is very much like the early days of… (full post on AWN)
As an antidote to the rash of news regarding the exploits of major Chinese entertainment companies and real estate barons, I thought I’d offer insight into China’s creative grassroots with an interview of entrepreneurial animation director Toony Wu, a graduate of the Beijing Film Academy who began working in animation in 1999, and is now immersed in augmented reality and virtual reality. In 2007, Toony co-founded what would become known as Dreamspace Media, specializing in 3D and 4D animated shorts and special-venue projects. Dreamspace won various awards for their work, and Toony went on to direct the Chinese animated series DRAGON SUPER CREW (小龙大功夫) for The Walt Disney Company in 2013. In 2016, Toony co-founded Jelly Monster, a Beijing-based animation studio specializing in AR publishing and VR content. I was fortunate to get enough time from this busy creator for ten questions related to his career in animation and his aspirations in immersive… (full post on AWN)