Virtual Reality filmmakers are reshaping cinema with episodic releases like AWAKE: Episode One by Start VR. The 8 episode series tells the story of eight characters with special abilities. In the first episode, viewers are plunged into the interactive story of Harry’s split and tumultuous mind.
Credit to: Start VRHarry’s character is fixated on dreaming and reliving memories. AWAKE: Episode One follows Harry’s shifting reality as he tries to find out why he’s having dreams of patterns and objects with mysterious meanings.
As someone that dreams to escape from his reality, he’s also searching for his missing wife. Although suffering, Harry is also motivated by the hope that he can fix the mistakes of his past. Viewers become a part of Harry’s world not only as a viewer but as a presence that can help him escape the darkness of his mind to awaken to what’s real.
Viewers will follow this unforgettable character on a metaphysical adventure that lasts for 15 to 20-minutes. Episodes of AWAKE are filmed using volumetric performance capture with real actors and layers of vibrant and dream-like effects that only film made for VR can accomplish. Start VR teamed with Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studios, VFX studio Animal Logic, and creative collaborators Mike Jones and Christian Cantamessa for the series.
The first episode is cast by Jake McDorman (Harry) of American Sniper, Limitless, Murphy Brown and Lady Bird. Analeigh Tipton (Harry’s wife Rose) from the films Crazy, Stupid, Love and Warm Bodies. And Nicholas Hope (The Shadow) from Bad Boy Bubby and VR Noir.
Virtual Reality and the Metaphysical
Start VR’s Chief Creative Officer and the film’s Creator & Director, Martin Taylor, was inspired by his own lucid dream experiences and an interest in the metaphysical and the mysterious. For eight years, Taylor researched the perception of reality, consciousness, and dream states.
Interestingly, he also researched remote viewing, telepathy, mind-object control, simulation theory, and semiotics for the series’ inspiration. The director also credits his own personal out of body experiences throughout his life as fuel for creativity.
Martin Taylor says, “With AWAKE I have tried to present a new kind of story that raises the bar in immersive entertainment, creatively, technically and at every turn. It’s the kind of thought-provoking immersive experience I have always wanted to have, but have not yet seen, so I’m incredibly excited to finally share it with audiences.”
“As a small and ambitious content studio, we aimed extremely high with AWAKE. In particular, we wanted to showcase Volumetric Video like never before, in a complex cinematic narrative that destroys the myth that it’s not ready as a production technique. We want to champion the actor’s craft and give audiences the opportunity to come face to face with their heroes in ways that match their favorite epic moments from the big screen. AWAKE is a breathtaking immersive VR fiction forged deep within a dream.”
AWAKE: Episode One is for Vive and Vive Pro VR headsets and will get released for Windows Mixed Reality in early 2019 and Oculus Rift in the near future. Download it on Steam VR and Viveport.