Federico and German Heller are co-founders of the creative visual effects studio, 3dar. Together they've developed award-winning commercials, experiences, and even short films for brands and clients alike. With all that work, they still leave time to foster development on their own projects. One of their latest productions, a short film titled Uncanny Valley, was recently selected as a Vimeo staff pick and currently is boasting over 1M views. The film itself is set in a future where virtual reality has grown, however its effect on society may not be as you would first expect.
Take a look below:
After seeing German at CES this year, we asked if he and Federico might be willing to share with us their creative inspiration behind the film, their work, and their view on virtual reality comes from.
Do you mind giving a bit of background on yourself and 3DAR?
[Federico] I started working as an editor since the age of fourteen. I had my own equipment at home and I loved shooting with my camera and making small edits. That led me to film school and my interest in altering the footage made me got involved with post production and visual effects tools. In 2003 I co-founded 3DAR and through the company I got to do so many cool projects and play so many different roles. We started doing digital animation and 3D visualizations but our interest in the creative side made us develop our own experimental department and that is how we evolved the company to become a creative studio. We are about 20 people in total. There are designers, animators, 3D generalists, concept artists, project managers and administrators.
What was the inspiration behind Uncanny Valley?
We thought it would be really interesting to explore the fascinating / terrifying potential of this new technological revolution. The evolution of addiction to entertainment, to violence and the addiction to realism itself.
What was the most challenging part of the development and production?
There where both many creative and production challenges. To me the hardest is always the beginning, when you are not a 100% sure on how to approach certain parts of the story and nobody has a clear view on how things are going to be executed. A script is just a chunk of text and the interpretation that each person has of the words is very wide. In this project we didn’t have a big team so I had to be writer, director, producer, editor and visual effects supervisor at the same time. To find the right time to focus on each of this tasks and their interactions was certainly the hardest.
What are your thoughts on the future of Virtual Reality?
I feel the reason why VR has a future is because people want to enhance their experience all the time. Whether they admit it or not, urban brains are becoming addicted to stimulus and information — and what VR offers is a leap into an enhanced experience that has the potential of becoming permanent. What will be the device, nobody knows. It may be an improved version of the current headsets or maybe something entirely different. But one thing is certain, people want more information and entertainment available uninterruptedly and it seems to me that phones, watches and tablets are too detached to our immediate perception to fulfill that need. I think that VR has an amazing potential when used for the right reasons, same as TV, internet and all mediums alike. But as you can see, the short focuses mostly on a not-such-happy-outcome for VR.
At OSSIC, we're hopeful for what the future of what technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality can bring to humanity, although as Uncanney Valley points out, any new technology can have it's drawbacks if used for the wrong reasons. We're at an exciting time of unprecedented technical growth, and it us up to us to keep things moving in a positive direction. Amazing films such these not only shine the light on what could go wrong, but they also serve as motivation to make them right.