AFI Fest features Google shorts in VR Showcase

AFI Fest kicked off in Hollywood this weekend featuring the newest films coming to theaters but the silver screen was not the only screen festival-goers could watch from. There was also cardboard. Google’s Cardboard that is.

Apart of the State of the Art Technology Showcase: Innovation and Immersive Storytelling, AFI Fest attendees got the chance to experience virtual reality shorts including “Pearl” and “Rain or Shine,” from the Google Spotlight Stories using a pair of Google Cardboard glasses.

Directed by Academy Award® winning director Patrick Osborne, “Pearl” places viewers in the passenger seat of an old Pearl Google Spotlight Storiehatchback car and home named Pearl, as the story of a dad and his daughter unfold whisking off cross country as traveling musicians.

Although far from creating convincingly looking people, the emotions felt in this short is utterly real due to the immersive experience that is free from distractions and  provides smooth transitions in between scenes. With the 360-degree movement of the camera, the viewer gets a better sense of who the family members are and Pearl, placed around the action instead of just in front of it as with two-dimension films. Even the music played through the short, takes a surround-sound sort of feel, as the dad and his daughter play their guitars.

The soon to be released, “Rain or Shine” directed by Felix Massie and produced by Nexus Productions, drops viewers off in a sunshine-filled London town, as it tells the story of Ella and her new pair of sunglasses.

Although visually stunning with vibrant colors and a crystal clear picture quality, it is hard to tell when “Rain or Shine” actually ends.  However, this does gives viewers the chance to explore more as they follow Ella, who gets caught up in numerous rain storms. Unlike “Pearl” that used a tight focus throughout the narrative, “Rain or Shine” does utilizes a variety of shots with the wide angle being the most breathtaking, as its captures every detail of the cartoon town, resembling what would be seen if it was truly reality.

Both pictures were discussed in a Google Spotlight Stories Case Study, with specific points about the development and production that included a special panel including producers and production designers of “Pearl” and “Rain or Shine.”

The VR showcase will continue until Sunday, November 13 in several locations of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the VIZZO lounge.

Google Spotlight Story: Pearl


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