“Probably my favorite piece in the show. Fun.” —juror Natalie Lam
“There’s something oddly therapeutic about this one. And since I’m a completionist, I had to go all the way to the end. Or did I?” —juror Drew Ungvarsky
Overview: “Way to Go is the next journey before you. A walk through strange country—strange, familiar, remembered, forgotten.” These are not lines of poetry, but the preface to an interactive experience, a mixture of handmade animation, music, code and dreaming that gives way to a restless panorama. Visitors take the form of a square-headed explorer, able to amble, run and leap on a narrow path that meanders through a surreal world of trees, river and sky. Video in 360 degrees creates an immersive experience, and with no guide, you find your own way through this strange country.
•The core creative team included Vincent Morisset, Caroline Robert, Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit and Philippe Lambert of Studio AATOAA. Coproduction was by the National Film Board of Canada and France Télévisions Nouvelles Écritures.
•The project included 1,113 audio files, 2,500 images, 140 videos and 45,000 lines of code.
•The website has attracted 1.3 million views and 350,000+ users.
Comments by Vincent Morisset:
What techniques helped you create an authentic experience? “We shot full 360-degree footage in continuous movement in a narrow environment. We couldn’t hide, so I became the protagonist and the camera holder. The rest of the team dressed up as extras. To avoid the shadow of the rig on the ground, we shot on cloudy days. To stabilize the image while walking in the woods, we used a gyroscope at the end of a pole. And finally, to stitch the dense forest, Édouard developed a technique using video analysis and evolutive masks.”
What are the project’s core features? “When I first imagined the project four years ago, it was exclusively a browser experience. During development, the virtual reality (VR) scene and technologies started to emerge. The sensations and themes I wanted to explore in Way to Go seemed to sync with the strengths of this new medium. We adapted it for VR at the end of the process. It’s a strange video game on a traditional screen as well as a webVR in an Oculus Rift. Way to Go is unique in the VR world: video-based, yet fully interactive. Users’ interactions affect the music score, the pace of the trip and the details they discover. We integrated 2.5-D handmade drawings in an invisible 3-D plan that is synchronized to the 360-degree video to give an illusion that all elements are part of a coherent world. To our big surprise, the VR ended up working very well!”