Immerse yourself in a series of ground-breaking VR projects available as part of the XR3 virtual exhibition.
This week marks the start of part two of the XR3 virtual exhibit, a hybrid digital conference developed as part of a collaboration between Cannes XR, Tribeca, and The NewImages Festival. Beginning now until July 17th, those with access to a PC VR headset can access a veritable treasure trove of genre-defying experiences and art developed using immersive technology.
Along with its series of insightful panels featuring a myriad of industry professionals (you can learn more about these live events here), Cannes XR – Marché du Film is hosting a wide range of groundbreaking exhibits from creators around the globe, from interactive short films such as Marid Noire to jaw-dropping 360-degree documentaries such as Space Explorers: An ISS Experience.
These virtual offerings are split into three categories: the VeeR VR Cinema, the Unity for Garden Showcase, and the Cannes XR Developer Showcase. But how to access these wonderful creations, you may be asking. The following is our simple go-to guide.
As mentioned previously, XR3 is a hybrid event developed in unison by Cannes XR, Tribeca, and The NewImages Festival accessible in VR. As such, you will need a PC VR headset in order to enjoy this years’ content. This includes SteamVR headsets such as the HTC Vive and Valve Index as well as the Oculus Rift. You can even use the Oculus Quest using the Oculus Link feature or a program such as Virtual Desktop. The festival itself is accessible via the Museum of Other Realities, an online platform dedicated to hosting live events in VR.
While the app itself is currently free, each of these exhibits features its own cost of entry. To access this years’ Cannes XR event, you’ll need to pick up a digital ticket for $14.99 via Steam or Viveport. Once purchased, you can download the showcase as DLC, allowing you access to every project featured as part of the event. Just be sure you have enough memory on your computer; these downloads aren’t small.
Next, log into the Museum of Other Realities app in VR and follow the elongated red carpet leading directly to the XR3 event space. From here, you’ll enter the massive lobby where you can chat with fellow festival-goers, teleport to the beautifully crafted Unity Garden, or immerse yourself in a wide range of captivating VR projects from some of the most creative minds in the field. Each project features its own custom booth that helps set the tone of the experience before it begins. It’s these small details that bring the virtual event space to life.
To help get you started, we gathered together a handful of Cannes XR projects you’ll definitely want to check out over the next few days:
MADRID NOIR: LOOKING FOR LOLA – Directed by James A. Castillo
It’s not often you come across an interactive short film as emotionally powerful as Madrid Noir. The 46-minute film noir-inspired adventure tells the story of Lola, an over-curious young girl on a mission to uncover the mysterious activities of her own uncle in Madrid, Spain.
The adorable two-part film is filled with mystery and intrigue, but also plenty of heart; it didn’t take me long to fall in love with Lola’s pint-sized antics and loveable K-9 sidekick. When you’re not smiling ear-to-ear at the adorable animation, you’re wrapped up in a complex narrative that has you directly interacting with the story at key moments. Part interactive experience, part theatrical performance, Madrid Noir is one of those 6DoF VR experiences you’ll be thinking about days after.
SPACE EXPLORERS: AN ISS EXPERIENCE (ADVANCE) – Directed by Félix Lajeunesse & Paul Raphael
Don’t let the simple 360-degree video format fool you, Space Explorers: An ISS Experience is easily one of the most exciting VR documentary series currently in development. Brought to us by the minds over at Felix & Paul Studios, this ongoing series takes viewers aboard the actual International Space Station to learn more about the vital work being done 254 miles above the Earth.
Whereas Episode One of the series followed the arrival of new astronauts aboard the ISS, Episode Two: Advance, focuses on the departure of three crew members who’ve completed their respective six-month tours. This episode also shines a light on the increasingly prominent role of women in space.
What makes this series so interesting, apart from being the first VR film shot aboard the actual ISS, is that the crew themselves served as the cast, crew, and directors. With no dedicated camerapeople aboard the station, it was up to the astronauts to capture these incredible moments. And when I say incredible moments I mean incredible moments; some of the shots featured in Space Explorers are absolutely jaw-dropping.
BEAT – Directed by Keisuke Itoh
Who doesn’t love adorable robot characters trying their best to spread love throughout a cold mechanical world? Beat allows you to give your heart, quite literally, to a pint-sized robot and watch as it attempts to form an emotional connection with its fellow robot denizens.
Despite featuring zero lines of dialogue, Beat does an impressive job at telling a simple, yet emotionally powerful story. At times, the experience felt somewhat like a modern puppet show. The expressive actions of each character and wordless encounters add an old-school feel to the experience, making this narrative-driven interactive adventure all the more unique.
AGENCE – Directed by Pietro Gagliano
An oldie but a goodie, Agence mixes technology with art to deliver a powerful interactive experience driven by artificial intelligence. This cinematic adventure has you playing god to a race of microscopic creatures referred to as “Agents.” It’s almost like an arthouse version of Nintendo’s Pikmin, only a little sadder and way more introspective.
Powered by AI technology, each of these little ankle-biters will respond to your interactions in different ways and are capable of expressing a wide range of emotions, from anger and fear to joy and curiosity. They may even fight each other if you’re neglectful. In addition to interfering with the lives of your Agents, you can also plant alien-like trees throughout your world, though be careful of the impact you may be having on the planet.
As previously stated, this is just a tiny sampling of the full catalog of VR experiences available as part of Cannes XR 2021. For more information on how to access the above content check out the official event playbook here.
*VRScout is a 2021 media partner for Cannes XR – Marché du Film*
Feature Image Credit: VRScout