For the personal project this term, we have to look at expanded animation beyond the flat screen. As a collaboration with MA Sound Art, we have to respond to a specific sound art piece for our work. I am working with Bibie Wataniyakun and Ashiela Amara for this project, and we are exploring VR animation and film.
We knew that we wanted to explore stop-motion combined with VR, because it is a relatively new technique that hasn't be used much yet. Being a 360 film, we first thought about how to remove ourselves from it - unlike a flat screen stop-motion film where the filmmaker can hide behind the camera, in the VR equivalent they would have to step out of the room in some way. We discussed creating a large dome and using clay to create shapes and characters that we would put inside the dome along with the 360 camera, and we would take off the dome after each photo to adjust the clay. In relation to this, we looked into what has been done in this field, for instance Tippit Studios' MAD GOD, an elaborate stop-motion VR narrative piece with puppets and incredible sets, or VR experiences associated with films like Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs. We also considered the more common use of VR technology, in combination with digital 3D software for virtual experiences and video games.
What we thought would be interesting, specifically with video and stop-motion VR, would be to add a meta/ performative aspect. Given our time and budget limitations, we thought of focusing more on the conceptual side and thinking more about the medium we were using. We looked into immersive and performative VR pieces and mediums, like the performative experience Dust or the technology of the Google Tilt-brush which lets you create 360 VR art.
Google Tilt Brush
We thought of the idea of having ourselves present in the piece, as some masked giants moving the pieces around. The fourth wall doesn't technically exist when it comes to VR, so we thought we don't necessarily need to recreate it by removing ourselves from the stop-motion film. Playing with this idea, We thought about having a slit in the dome through which one would be able to see us looking in and maybe moving things around the set. This would be a meta-exploration of both stop-motion and VR, along with posing interesting narrative questions on creation, motion, being watched and controlled. We were particularly interested in how the texture of the clay, being so close to the camera, would look so detailed.
Guldies - Heartbeat