The archetypal hero takes a journey through seven stages: birth, childhood, mission, labyrinth, monster, battle and death/rebirth. Through purely abstract, moving images, the corresponding emotional states are conveyed: calm, love, joy, surprise, fear, anger/hate, and death/rebirth leading again to calm.
The Minotaur project was created in three different versions: First conceived as a 3D stereoscopic film, it is also available in 2D Dome (shown at the Société des Arts Technologiques in Montreal), and 360° virtual reality (VR) formats. Through each stage of development and the process of adaptation to each format, the film’s raison d’être became more and more clear.
Each of the versions was animated using the SANDDE (Stereoscopic Animation Drawing Device) system, along with the Nuke and After Effects software packages. SANDDE was first developed to create stereoscopic animation on screen, but could be adapted for VR, because it is not tied to a specific resolution (it can be used for both HD and 8K), or a single creative environment. There is no fixed canvas. Everything can be modified: format, size, resolution.
It was necessary to modify the software so that images could be “projected” into a spherical form, first for the dome and then for the VR version – all the while retaining the attributes created in the 3D stereoscopic environment. When shooting live or making 3D animation (using software such as MAYA), you have to use multiple cameras to create this effect. But SANDDE works without cameras, allowing animators to draw directly in space. We worked with Munro Ferguson to think three dimensionally over 360°, creating an immersive experience for the user. Munro re-drew and animated some scenes so that VR users would have images all around their heads during the experience.
One of the challenges was to find the best compression algorithm to ensure superior image quality and a fluid screening experience – one that could be enjoyed within the constraints of a mobile device.
It was important to us that the project be easily accessible to users – so it can be viewed in a mobile version using the Samsung Galaxy S6 or newer devices, along with the company’s Gear headset, which is available for a modest cost. The project’s mobile aspect allows it to be easily shown at festivals and in an online version that will eventually also be available for Google Cardboard.
The project was made possible thanks to the work environment at the NFB, which allowed us to treat it like an experimental lab. Because of the flexibility of the SANDDE technology, we could remain independent throughout the production and attain our goals in only two months, with minimal costs. All stages of the production were completed internally.
A film by
VR Sound Design
JEAN PAUL VIALARD
Created with Sandde™
Special Thanks for Inspiration
Digital Imaging Specialist
Senior Production Coordinator
ROSALINA DI SARIO
MICHAEL FUKUSHIMA and DAVID VERRALL
Produced by the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA