Creative XR (work in progress) Application
General Project Summary
Imagine taking an epic journey through an exquisite miniature world made entirely of paper. A world perceived at scale where paper skyscrapers tower above you and paper forests stretch into the distance.
Now imagine what it would be like to be reduced down to the size of a Borrower and inhabit such a world, to interact with it, move through it alone and at your own pace and discover a story.
Within this project, we want to do exactly that.
Our idea is to create a VR experience that mimics the perspective and scale of a tiny person immersed in an exquisite paper world crafted by hand rather than CGI.
This project will mix the digital sophistication of VR technology with the tangible, imperfect quality of papercraft and take the user on a whimsical adventure that’s impossible to have in the real world of human experience.
"Magical and exquisitely crafted, Davy and Kristin McGuire's universe is full of visual wonders.’The Guardian
‘What follows makes the jaw drop and the head whirl.’
For the past 15 years we have created work that fuses fine art and exquisite hand craftsmanship with sophisticated digital technology to create hybrid theatrical work that ranges from pop-up books that come to life through video projections to immersive dining experiences to animating mansion houses with talking paintings and singing statues.
One of the through lines of our work is our use of paper and paper craft. Over the years we have made highly detailed paper sets for our productions that have captivated our audiences through their exquisite detail in miniature form. Spectators are enchanted by a Gulliverian sense of marvelling down upon tiny events, characters and stories that unfold in miniature as if by magic in front of their eyes.
In this project we want to Virtual reality reverse this perspective and move the audience from “the outside looking in” to “the inside looking out”. We want the user to feel as if they are miniature characters, fully immersed in a 360 degree, stereoscopic, hand crafted paper world.
The project will mix the digital sophistication of VR technology with the tangible analogue quality of papercraft and take the user on a whimsical adventure that’s impossible to have in the real world of human experience.
We want to create a VR Film in which this user explores this world and pieces together a story through fragments and clues.
The prototype will be a fully functioning 2min long ‘teaser trailer’ version of the final VR project so that users and funders can experience being immersed in the type of paper world we can currently only imagine in our heads.
We see the creation of the prototype as a Research & Development phase which will help us to work out the following aspects necessary to proceed with the final piece:
We will experiment with various technical approaches to create the environmental landscape of the VR world. This involves testing the suitability of a macro-stereoscopic camera and the possibility of amalgamating real life paper set and CGI 3D modelling.
We will define a visual aesthetic, a clear mood and an immersive sound world for the piece.
We will trial narrative concepts used in VR and test their suitability for working with physical paper sets. We want to tap into the expertise of StoryFutures Academy to develop a functional and detailed synopsis and an example of script (if we decide to work with language) or a description of a specific scene/moment (if we decide to use non-verbal communication).
We will work out the most suitable distribution platforms and VR devices so that the prototype can indeed be downloaded and tested in situ.
Why Immersive Technology
We believe that Virtual Reality offers us the ability to create a completely new perspective by being the only medium that can convincingly portray this otherwise impossible experience. It offers us the opportunity to do something that we have never done before. For the first time we will be able to miniaturise our audience and immerse them into a highly detailed, miniature, stereoscopic paper world that would otherwise be uninhabitable, transforming the audience perspective from the macro -“outside looking in” (which our we and our audience have been limited to up until now) to the micro – the 'inside looking out'.
Business Beyond Creative XR
Although we have previously created music videos and films and other screen based content, the largest proportion of our companies revenue has come from the live event sector.
Even before the onset of Covid-19 however, we saw the importance of reaching new audiences, creating work that was downloadable or accessible remotely, and that people didn't have to physically travel to get to.
Over the past few months we have been integrating immersive technology and games engines to our repertoire of tools within the company. Through a grant from XR Stories we have recently created our first paper craft video game diorama. We have also turned the knowledge we gained from this grant into profitability for the company. We recently earned a commission to create an AR app that transports quarantined bands onto peoples tabletops, allowing musicians to perform concerts in peoples homes.
We therefore believe that this project in particular will be a logical step forward in our repertoire of work, allowing us to explore how we can recreate the beauty, tangibility and experience of what we do, live in peoples living rooms. Thus reaching out to new audiences and reducing our current audiences need to travel to.