Saschka Unseld Talks VR at Oculus Story Studio

Saschka Unseld (The Blue Umbrella)who left Pixar to become creative director of Passion Pictures and co-founder of Oculus Story Studio, appeared this week at  Future of Storytelling Summit. We discussed  re-imagining the theatrical experience with VR.

Bill Desowitz: You left Pixar for VR. What is the attraction for you?

Saschka Unseld: I got fascinated with VR working with Max Planck [who also left Pixar and is currently supervising TD Oculus Story Studio] and some of the others. Their thought was to start a small studio to do things in VR and then we realized that should be part of Oculus. We know what it’s like to do a proper animated experience. It’s not something someone can just do on the side. So we met up with them and their thought was to do exactly the same thing in-house as a unit to explore that. And now here we are about a year later.

It has sparked a sense of wonder and awe again. In film, I have to work really, really hard at it and, in VR, it’s just there. And my sensibility of film is much more quiet and whimsical, as you saw with The Blue Umbrella. And for some reason in VR those are the strongest moments, which makes me really happy. A lot of people really like quiet things suddenly, which is beautiful, somehow.

BD: It is wide open in terms of storytelling and there are choices to be made in defining it. What do you take from film? What do you take from gaming? And who’s going to be in control of the story?

SU: I think there’s stuff closer to interactivity from games and I think there are things farther away from games. And I think they can all co-exist. Because I know sometimes when I go home, I just want to sit down and watch something and not do anything. Sometimes I want to play a game that is really involved and sometimes I want to play a game that is really straight-forward with a lot of storytelling and only a tiny bit of interaction. The things we’re doing, I see them as constrained storytelling. I want to be in control of drafting at least 80% the timing and cohesiveness of character and narrative. I want to be in control of giving you an experience, and what you to be acknowledged as an audience and can do things but only in a limited scope. At least right now, that’s what I feel comfortable with and in that area there’s enough to explore.

Read the rest at Animation Scoop/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Crafts, Movies, previs, Shorts, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production

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