The advent of modern virtual reality (VR) has brought with it many new opportunities in videogames, education, healthcare and any number of other industries. One avenue being deeply explored at present is that of animated movies, for which Baobab Studios has already made itself a respectable name with debut release Invasion. At the recent AWE 2016, Santa Clara, Baobab Studios CEO, Mauren Fan, offered some advice to those attempting to enter the field.
“VR is not the same as film. It’s a brand new medium, nobody know anything. Don’t believe anyone says they do,” reads a particularly poignant slide in Fan’s presentation.
Invasion was the debut title from Baobab Studios, and within the human race is facing annihilation from an alien invasion. It’s the responsibility of cartoon’s most unassuming creatures to save the planet as wide-eyed, happy-faced bunny rabbits become the last line of defence the bumbling alien pair hadn’t accommodated for in their nefarious plans.
In case you hadn’t managed to interpret the feel of Invasion from the above description, it a very light-hearted affair. Heart-warming in the cuteness of the rabbits and comedic in the slapstick errors of the two aliens. It’s easy to tell the influences of Dreamworks productions (with Madagascar director, Eric Darnell, a co-founder of Baobab Studios) in the elasticised character design and family-friendly humour.
Fan’s presentation at AWE 2016 followed the ethos of the film design itself, warning those attending to ‘think twice before you kill the bunny’.
More importantly however, Fan warned that film makers need ‘beware of the ‘Gee Whiz’ factor’. Indeed, VRFocus has previously offered commentary on this situation. While modern VR remains in it’s infancy, it has been present within the public eye for more than two years now. There’s been plenty of technical demonstrations and proof-of-concept pieces that have directly targeted the bombastic or the ‘wow’ factor of this new medium, but the underlying substance has been run so thin in doing so that the studios behind them are yet to deliver an actual product.
Invasion is available to download now, and presents a finely tuned argument for VR as a motion-picture medium. It’s still only a taste of what is to come, but in that holds a promise for what Baobab Studios could potentially achieve given another two years.