Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Reflections on Fan Expo Vancouver 2017

16 Nov

215d2-fanexpovancouverBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The variety of nerdy interests represented at Fan Expo Vancouver every year will differ. They have certainly become the crossroads of where all kinds of pop culture can converge, hence the X in their #FXV hashtag. While previous shows may feel more jam-packed than recent, this year’s event only affirms what I suspected from 2016 — this local event is getting connected with various television productions which film around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. This event is settling into a groove most will approve and I can only imagine it will get better. Although years away, I’m sure the organizers will have something grand planned when year ten hits. But that’s four years away.

This festival moved from April to November two years ago, making the expense of staying at hotels a touch better during the offseason and offering to both exhibitors and fans a chance to rest before setting up for the next show. Epic Photo Ops deserves special mention for effectively managing the lineups for those seeking a memento with their favourite group of (or with a particular) performer.

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Grant Gustin does not appear at many conventions so those hoping to meet him will have to do so at this show. As The Flash in The CW‘s flagship show, I can imagine he’s not easy to meet. To see both him and the entire STAR labs team (minus Jesse L. Martin) on stage is usually a San Diego Comic Con Hall H scale event, and fans of the show got it at Fan Expo in Vancouver, BC Canada! This panel was packed, and anyone there saw the sweet chemistry he has with Candice Patton in real life too. The star of this panel, however, was Zoe Patton, a cute canine which no doubt won many hearts. Viewers who saw this week’s episode, “When Harry met Harry,” got to understand what the Council of Wells was about, and Tom Cavanagh talked about how this segment was pieced together.

When considering the number of television and film productions going on in this corner of the world, folks hoping for a celebrity sighting will find attending this event better than to wait during a film/television shoot. A chance to interact with a star is never guaranteed when the set is a workplace. From the massive list of CW comic book based shows (Riverdale, Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and iZombie) to movies like Deadpool 2 — which ended production the month before — just who will attend are decided months before. Attendees will have to hope there are no sudden changes the week before due to work (or family, like Stephen Amell had) obligations coming up last-minute. I’m sure there were attendees hoping to spot Ryan Reynolds or Kevin Smith (who did appear in 2016).

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What can I see from the NFB at the Annecy 2017 Festival?

10 Jun

annecyBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

If I only had the riches, I’d go to France in high style to enjoy the 2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which takes place from June 12 to 17. There’s tons of special events and programming being offered.

After watching Captain Underpants, I’m interested in learning about the difficulties involved in translating printed artistic material to film. Acclaimed Canadian artist/director Robert Valley has a panel, From Graphic Novels to Animated Music Videos and Short Films, which I feel will be very insightful.

National Film Board of Canada

And representation from Canada is not limited. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will have a press conference, which will take place on June 14 at 10:30 a.m., and be presenting many animated shorts, a VR experience for attendees to enjoy (Blind Vaysha is being previewed in this medium), highlighting a retrospective on Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, and be placing four film in competition. For the latter, I have seen a few of the pieces, and I am anxious to learn who will stand out when animation aficionados will have their eyes and ears about the news coming out of this show.

Also, the nerd in me wants to know what the next animated Marvel Entertainment piece, Ant-Man, will look like. Animators Ugo Bienvenu and Kevin Manach will be talking about their work in this series.

Can someone buy me a plane ticket, please?

From the Press Release, the details revealed are:

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Level Achieved. Unlocked, the World of Games Interview with Jeremy Snead

13 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Both Videogames the Movie and the upcoming eight-part documentary, Unlocked, the World of Games Revealed are a passion project from filmmaker Jeremy Snead. With the former, he focussed on certain aspects of an industry that he knew he could comfortably cover — history, culture and business — but as for what’s next, the seeds were already planted and to see the idea grow was required.

“I met a couple of producers that asked me what to make next if I could take my pick, and that’s where Unlocked started,” said Snead.

This new series will become available online Dec 15, through iTunes, Google Play, Steam and Amazon and a physical release with bonus material is being planned. The topics explored present more than a look at videogames impact upon society. It has celebrity correspondents who are genuinely interested in the subject they are presenting. To decide on what topics to explore was not easy for this producer. The list was huge. To match the right person to look into that particular aspect of an industry or part of the culture was not always easy. To decide on having eight topics explored throughout the eight episodes felt right, according to this director, and he joked, “How long do we need [to tell the story] without lingering too much without making it a Ken Burns 15 hour style docu-series?”

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Taking NFB’s Cardboard Crash VR App for a Spin

1 Dec

550575449By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Would you trust your safety to a computer algorithm? What about to the people who programmed it?

Cardboard Crash for iOS and Android is a deceptively straightforward Virtual Reality (VR) experience by Vincent McCurley and the National Film Board of Canada. Mid last month, it won the Digi Award for Mobile Entertainment and this award is the 11th to an NFB production. This app was first previewed in the DocLab program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2015.

This title has a cute stylised world filled with cardboard people, buildings, and cars. The cardboard textures add a lot of detail to keep the world simple and angular. The music is pleasant and fitting for the game’s contents. Nothing overstays its welcome as the scenario is only a couple of minutes long.

The game has a very simplistic interface. It doesn’t require any additional controllers or hardware beyond a VR headset such as Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard to play. All you need to do is look at an available button for a few seconds to activate it. A voice clip will play when you highlight one of the many buttons and if you only want to hear the description before you decide on anything, you have to look away just before the selection is finalized.

I had no problem with the motion tracking or response time using an iPhone 5s. The game was a little choppy at times, but I believe that’s simply due the age of my phone. However, I experienced a huge drain on the battery, approximately 20% in less than 5 minutes of play time.  I’m not sure if it’s this particular game, the Unity engine that it runs on, or it was simply too much for my phone to handle. So if you give this title a try, please make sure that your phone isn’t overheating as you play.

Spoiler Alert! I’m going to go into detail on what happens during gameplay. If you’re interested and have a VR-capable iOS or Android device, I suggest taking a few minutes to play through Cardboard Crash before reading any further. it is only about two or three minutes long.

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