While working with Gengiskhan, Laurent Bazin would like to demonstrate that it is possible to shoot simple yet overwhelming things in immersive filmmaking, if and only if we have the technological means to capture them. If these details can be caught with a 360° camera, then we will be able to tell very delicate stories, filled with unsaid things and without resorting to dry emphasis. For actors to be silent in front of the camera, for their faces to do the talking without the use of words, we need close-ups. It is not the facial expression’s duty to go towards the camera by exaggerating itself, it is the camera’s duty to close in on that expression and capture its essence. Laurent Bazin would like alongside Gengiskhan to establish a filming
With the team of experts put together by Gengiskhan, Laurent Bazin set out to create his virtual reality live experience: The Baptism. Both parties involved had the ambition to develop new technical methods to create a strong sense of proximity and intimacy in virtual reality. How does one bypass current technical limitations and filming rules in VR, in order to film characters up close and personal, closer to the spectator’s eyes than ever, and accentuate the intensity of their presence? First, research focused on 360° stereoscopy, then a more fluid, lean and hybrid approach was adopted.
The Baptism is a VR experience, the goal of which is to produce, with the help of digital technologies, a strong sense of proximity. The baptism is the story of a man who accuses himself of an imaginary crime and subsequently suffers intolerable guilt. In order to drive the story forward, the team wanted the spectator to feel very close to the main character, but the restrictions of VR filmmaking halted the progress: for technical reasons, it was unadvised to film an actor at less than 1m40cm, otherwise, his image would be altered and deformed. Therefore, the team had to find a way to bypass these rules, to obtain a strong sense of proximity. The goal of the STARTS residency, beyond current processes, was the invention of new processes in order to conjure this impression of utmost proximity.
When the team worked with new technologies, they knew that time spent fixing technical issues was greater than in an ordinary production. During their research they first spent a month pursuing an erroneous path: an ambitious stereoscopic camera captured the interest before they realized that in spite of its merits, it exposed them to too many planning variables. The decision was hard to make, since the initial investigations, from the very beginning, relied on the possibilities offered by this stereoscopic camera. Facing the possible spectre of unmet deadlines, they had to find a new path. Why this initial infatuation for stereoscopy, to the point of threatening the artistic schedule?
-because it produces a powerful sense of presence: when stereoscopy is done right, the sentiment of proximity is so convincing it can almost feel like an intrusion of personal space.
-because it offers a stronger possibility to hierarchize visual spaces: stereoscopy can create a multi-dimensional image, with elements more prominent than others. This is important, for a massively open visual space (360°), it is very useful to be able to highlight certain elements and leave others in the background. Stereoscopy is, therefore, a precious tool for highlights and playing favourites. It allows to discreetly accentuate the information the team wanted the spectators to perceive first.
-the advantage of stereoscopy is that it restitutes and trumps our brains most effectively.
Residency final video