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Making Emotional Connections With Volumetric Video | SXSW 2021

Kiira Benzing
XR Director/Producer at Double Eye Studios
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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Making Emotional Connections With Volumetric Video | SXSW 2021
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About speakers

Kiira Benzing
XR Director/Producer at Double Eye Studios
Jason Waskey
Principal Creative Director at Microsoft
Antoine Cayrol
Founder and Producer at ATLAS V
Illya Szilak
Director at Cloudred

Multi-dimensional VR director & filmmaker. Recent festival circuit: LOVESEAT (Venice International Film Festival), RUNNIN' (Sundance, SXSW Jury Award Winner for Interactive). My studio in NYC builds interactive experiences and we have experience working with Social VR worlds and Live Theater. Cardboard City, my 360 VR short won the Samsung Gear Indie contest in 2016. My interactive documentary "Cardboard City" included VR, an AR installation and a hands-on Makerspace and premiered at the NYFF at Lincoln Center.

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Jason is an award-winning creative director for Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studios where he is focused on the innovation and incubation of holographic video technology and tools used for storytelling, communication, and memory.

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Producer with 15 years of experience in the production of immersive works, transmedia documentaries, short films, music videos and high-end commercials. He is the co founder of Atlas V, a company that specialises in the development, production and distribution of virtual, augmented and mixed reality works. Some of their award-winning projects are Gloomy Eyes (Annecy Cristal 2019, sxsw 2019 winner, Sundance 2019), Spheres (Venice International Film Festival Grand Prize 2018) and Vestige (Peabody Award 2019, Tribeca 2018) or Ayahuasca (Tribeca 2019).

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Dr. Szilak is a writer, director, installation artist, and interactive storyteller. Her long time artistic partner is Cyril Tsiboulski. Their work is collected in The Electronic Literature Collection. Their first VR experience Queerskins: a love story premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival in 2018 in a commissioned interactive installation that incorporated performance photography. Queerskins www.queerskins.com was honored by A Peabody Futures of Media award in transmedia. They are the recipient of grants from The Sundance Institute, The Tribeca Film Institute, and The Peter S. Reed Foundation. Their current VR project Queerskins: ark is being co-produced by Intel Studios. She teaches narrative design at IFP Made in NYC Media Center. A board certified internist, she continues to practice medicine part-time at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in NYC. She writes of her experiences at rikerssite.wordpress.com

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About the talk

Video can be one of the most important digital storytelling tools available; what happens when you have 3D holographic video that can be played on any platform or device? How do you tell stories that make strong emotional connections with audiences generally, and does what you play it on matter - whether it's on a 2D touch screen, web, phones or head mounted display? Hear from four seasoned creatives on what stories they found make the strongest emotional connection with audiences and the most effective way to make and retain those connections.

About SXSW:

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, this year’s online event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities. For more information, please visit sxsw.com.

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Hello and welcome to making emotional connections with volumetric video. I am your host and moderators are been saying, I'm the founder of double ice Studios and the director of the live yard theater Productions, finding Pandora ex and I'm doing today. I'm trying to hold her and co-founder of include sausage fragments missing pictures in Iowa and a fun fact. His recent work included over three performers filmed on the dimension seat in London and also joined with sirach. A,

writer-director a new media artist who is the co-founder of hundred thousand will be Christians fly. And finally, I'm going with the principal creative director at Microsoft, has been involved with volumetric at Microsoft's earliest more than a decade ago. Incredible fact. He has been part of hundreds of sessions and thousands of captures for a wide range of experiences. So thank you all so much for joining us today. We would normally be gathered together in person and we would be putting headsets on our audiences

watching their behavior. How they responded and interacted with the experience. So I just want to take a moment to reflect back to those in person days. If you can think back to some kind of emotional responses that you've witnessed, Putting someone inside, one of your experiences that featured video. The first virtual reality experience was called, Chris really know what to expect as far as these two grieving, parents are to take a trip down memory lane,

the level of emotional engagement and the response to its varied across the Spectrum. Depending on people come out of headset crying because that brought them back as as gay and lesbian people to their own experiences with children. People who founded by an incredible experience, visiting all of those stories for the first time through what it must be like, to be gay and be rejected by your parents. It was incredibly powerful and I think is so emotionally and assuming that we really

have to start Reckoning with me. I'm a princess by for the second year in a row watching these people training or experience that we do what we can work on the same situation come back on a Tribeca, 2018 example, Where'd you get that piece called Vestige with a piece about grief and used desk? It has available image of capture. And a lot of people of the audience, removing the hats actually, crying actually experiencing emotional connection, with what we

wanted to say. Like, it's alive of lizard who lost her husband and try to explain you how she reacted instead of the grief and doing piece of others like running and that's what she told, a guy I can get into all kinds of people that was in 2020 and I was actually writing the Monkees sad emotion or dancing. Motion on the audience and even more. And I think Jenny Mason. But I don't have the same time and motion on the audience, and there's something that really struck me,

was going to meet you around. I'm just so special. And of course, in Salisbury where we are not together. I want to take us back also if you know to think about, you know. So we are part of a film festival and film as this wonderful storytelling language that we know so well it gives us his point of view. The director gets to frame things that make choices and volumetric video eliminate says it's even referred to as free View Point Cinema and some gives us the opportunity to have a piece and I'd love for you to think about you know if you could share with us, what happens are there ways

that you've experimented in your experience, is to generate the feeling of a clothes off and volumetric video? Rolling a little bit on those things, require an active presence in the story. And I think, how would you say zero in on a statement? Point in a story about emotional emotional character and witness what happened? Distance from Astoria. I love how you talk about the opportunity that the audience in a way cats to step in or or distance themselves and what the creators of the

possibility of doing and Antoine here at you reference, a dental Studios and that is something we really wanted was for our players inside the experience to get close to those dancers and wants to dance with them. Your feelings about the clothes up and also the possibilities of distance, you know, how it is. That how does buying a video help, an audience form, an emotional connection better than to be video? And enable us to utilize is kind of stepping closer or just something from our our stories. So I

talked about one of the reasons a biometric is so incredibly powerful storytelling is just not, it's not just this interactivity, is that? It is associated with a live after and somewhere in the back of your mind that was associated with this animation for the visitors to have agency. In the story, short example, of which next episode, First episode of lovers on our conversation, never be able to access. We wanted to make that your decision of how close you felt comfortable, going to

a special sound to do that. You actually it's kind of part of the conversation so you really encouraged to for a subtle and get clothes and I think we've approached the idea. That's really wonderful. A lie. I've had the opportunity to get to experience some of your pieces. And I remember from your first clear, skins PS4 you have this opportunity to listen to this grieving, couple in the conversation of the loss of their son. I need to have this possibility of almost eavesdropping and moving your head. And closer into their dialogue or playing with these interactions objects,

that that memorialize their son. It's, it's a wonderful opportunity to choose your engagement within the story. Jason, I've got a question for you about emotional connection and empathy is so by using volumetric chapter, in an exarch. Is emotional connection, just an expectation and a given with our audiences, does the filmmakers simply capture performance of document, the scenario and then emotional connection hours Wow, that's a great question. I think a lot of what we talked about

our section of film theater, expecting to see the contest expression, and this person into the world of sense of scale, the things that interact with of embodiment that sensor. Connection to the content is actually kind of automatic from open up, conduit to start emotional attachment to those moments because there's a one-to-one scale for the most part. The thing that you do and it's more like being in the store, your dad, being a remote viewer Looking Through the Glass That's really wonderful. Jason, we really are putting people inside of stories and I love how you talked about the

possibility of scale, keeping it realistic or altering it on for us to talk about the shaping of these types of Stories, the genre is that you seen emerging across the landscape. We're working obviously inside of game engines world-building and realizing three dimensional spaces. We're fitting these fully three-dimensional volumetric chapters in to these worlds. But I'm curious what you find about. The types of story that are getting made. How do you see narrative experiences for our landscape games? Deleting games

free games of Gamers on the stars, and I've got your Red Sea on games, but Did you show me some museums in the East Orange Street and that happened? The last two years to bring more and more interactivity into when we went to the first ride, a cow or some Dance 2016, 2017, and I really love. That wasn't right. That's right. Now is a general that are represented maybe I should mess coming back stories. Interactivity, Do you like procedural animation of this kind of stuff? So I think that's a big, big train working right now on the field. All of you back to this

dude from moment because I really love to hear from all of you on this next. One about this, the new types of stories that we can tell, we know that biometric filmmaking is quite different from picking up, a mobile device and filming for hours on end. We are often using dozens if not hundreds of cameras for volumetric capture, it is complex. It is expensive. So, I'm curious about what types of stories we put on these marvelous sieges. How do you choose? What story you're going to tell volumetrically? For me, I think we

choose to do stories in volumetric again because of the expense and other things that are involved because of the emotional connection. That's what we're really thinking about. Creative stories which really use a movement base language. But actually working procedure late about how we tell their stories and really focusing on creating language to a story through that movement of their bodies. 100%. Strong, physical movement plays really? Well, it's because it's how actors and performers and

like, well, do a specialized medium wanted to tell you. I think the moment enough to tell us things for us right now, it's just a narrative that we make sure. What is effectively a very still and restricted access to media. And make sure that we tried to open it up for the many interesting Converse voices, both in front, and behind the camera. And we try to do that least within our group was trying to make sure that we made. Places to bring in subsidized creators to tell some stories until when they were around, they did the same thing.

I'm coming up on the folks who are in charge of making the technology to make sure we don't repeat the mistakes of the past, by blocking off access to the cost or due to technical complexities are part of what we try to do is to make the technology expensive, more accessible videos and just make sure that we get a wine versity of experience of invoices. Not this American that we don't want to just try to get a new language. I think that we was everything that I say on my side, text Nickelodeon

animation, none of that. Insurance me, I'm choosing a story. Like I went to the story that I want to say, I wouldn't trust the director that I love this Vision by Queen. OK Google direct R1 seat and then you said Okay so let's get you into and let's do not. Kind of moderation and and how are you friend with paste of the movie or so people can wear anytime of the emerging and even with any kind of its really changing the way up until the story on the way up here we come through the storytelling for me. It's

country insurance which kind of the way I would say. But the fact that it's really granddaughter because of the Thousand camera and not taking his phone and actually one year ago I just read this morning. The fact that you know, and really getting out there you might miss a Creator program and you just an iPhone. You should you and then you'll just love you man. Come directly live in 209 and I think it's only the beginning of what it will be soon. And

I think we would be able to do ball cap and all this kind of smoke. A boat shop digital humans that are ours, was a phone. I think we're on the verge of being so different. I love that possibility and and thinking about how we might be able to shoot ball cap for hours and hours on end because I love the possibility of putting people in these fully three-dimensional experiences. And I'll just had a quick point of view to the possibility of the new types of stories that we can be telling. And if we do have such an opportunity here with volumetric. So making where we can be creating new stories,

putting new types of Stories of the center of the state and we have an opportunity to change the focus of where Chalmers have been pointed before. So as we begin to head towards the final segment of our sessions together, I just wanted to give you each an opportunity to pick a kind of final. Question of choice. One being about covid or empathy so it so you can eat your question. The question about these times, I'm curious what this present time in covid has taught each of you about the story of your bitching. And if you want to think about

Embassy, what kinds of empathy Cancel makers create by using volumetric video. If we go for hops, Jason Antoine and Elia I will tell you I know it's covered in top of mind for all people, for wanting some reasons but I can't help. But a little bit. We're going to see attention to the thing that is more interactive immutable and changeable. I believe in Harrison, I think you can still drive with At its core. The authenticity has an innate value, that section, by the way,

nice against you that starting my performance will be five or ten years tension and battle of how do we make the past connections with contest? Has even more authentic and immutable or plastic an interactive? I think the empathy question too. And I'm serious and I think something I want to be scale in VR. I really want to be seen out. I want to let you know, I like how you are and maybe monster movie. Maybe I do like me to 312 diving to just send them. That's something else. I think it's becoming more and more

and more, and more. I think it has shown us that we are M, we have a need for touch. We have a need to be connected and that the virtual world and in the sense that it reaches price of recapitulate, reality is always going to be found wanting cuz it is not reality. So, I want to use these tools to create new ways of being with each other, new forms of intimacy new father's connection. And I think about to be in the space now because this is a laboratory of

connecting with people understanding people, when we can actually physically be together, Hell yeah, that's so. Well said, thank you for bringing it home and for touching all of the wonderful points there. Thank you audience for being here with us today and this digital space for having your presence here with us. We look forward to seeing your avatars and your digital representations around the festival and funny Leah and Jason. Thank you for your beautiful minds and thank you to the South by Southwest staff for all of your hard work and for making us a

wonderful space to connect in the special year.

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Kiira Benzing
Jason Waskey
Antoine Cayrol
Illya Szilak