@Cannes2016: Sessions on VR & Gender Equality

22 Jun,2016

 

 

On a Virtual Reality adventure!

Google took the audience on a Virtual Reality adventure at Cannes Lions 2016

 

By A Correspondent

 

Virtual Reality (VR) has arrived. For the first time, you can step inside experiences and feel like you are actually there. VR lets you travel to faraway destinations, stand on stage with your favorite artists, and play in new worlds. From Cardboard beginnings to fully immersive experiences, Google is bringing virtual reality to everyone.

 

On Tuesday, Google hosted the session ‘Adventures in Virtual Reality’ at Cannes Lions 2016. The session was started by Clay Bavor, Vice President of VR, Google. “The thing that is so compelling about virtual reality is something that you really got to see first-hand to get it fully,” he said. Bavor did a quick poll, through a show of hands, about people who have used a VR instrument. The results were impressive as most members of the audience had experienced VR.  He explained what really appealed to him about the concept of VR. Bavor’s ‘obsession’ with VR began from his childhood when he saw pictures made with acrylic and oil paints, which felt very really. He said, “I have always been intrigued by this idea of creating something that looks and feels real out of stuff that is not.” VR, according to him, is not just going to be restricted to gaming but it will change the way we communicate, create, travel and how we think and remember more. He gave the audience a glimpse of that future.

 

Not only was the future of VR was explained, Bavor took the audience through the journey of VR at Google. The VR projects that the organisation is working on or has introduced in the space of VR were also showcased. Through VR brands can bring in people to experience their products virtually. He spoke about ‘Daydream’ one of the projects to enhance VR expiences on mobile phones.

 

Bavor went on to explain how ‘Story, art and memory’ will be influenced by VR. Basically, when a story is unfolding in VR, you will be in that story. And, to explain further JessicaBrillhart, VR filmmaker, Google took the stage. Brillhart has been with Google for seven years and made films about search, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. “And, just when I thought my career cannot get any more nerdy, a year and a half ago Google engineers gave me this,” said Brillhart. She showed a clip shot with the help of VR. In the process, she realised VR is not about filmmaking. She said, “It is an existential crisis for a filmmaker, whose job is to make VR content.”

 

But filmmaking in this context can be used as framework to create something new. From the filmmaking point of view, the frame is the most important thing. In traditional filmmaking you cannot move the frame but in VR if you are not moving it, then you are doing it wrong. “VR is the potential for frames and the frames can be everywhere and anywhere,” Brillhart explained. She explained the use of VR with the help of some more videos.

 

Bavor came back to explain VR’s influence on art. Artists can create things that look and feel real with the help of VR. “There are artists who are using it to create and express their art,” Bavor continued. But he handed it over to Glen Keane, Animator / Artist, Glen Keane Productions who has worked on many Disney projects to explain the concept about the new type of VR paint that can be used. “I can be anything I imagine,” began Keane. After spending 40 years in Disney, his desire to find something new out there made him leave the job.  He introduced and demonstrated the ‘tilt brush’ to the audience. With that tool he made a painting in front of the surprised audience.

 

“We place enormous values to our memories,” said Bevor by explaining the effects on memory. Photographs are something which everyone is attached to as they help people recreate those memories and experience that are captured in it. Bevor spoke about a prototype camera that he used to capture some moments of his life. “A few years from now, I will be able to relive those moments virtually,” he said. With VR people will be able to connect with people who live afar whenever they like.

 

“VR would be profoundly additive to the human experience,” Bavor said in conclusion.

 

 

@Cannes2016: Gender equality: No laughing matter

Gender Equality Is No Laughing Matter was by The Girls’ Lounge at the Cannes Lions 2016

 

By A Correspondent

 

Gender equality has been a burning issue these days. Right from advertisements to movies everyone seems to be trying to advocate this issue. And, discussing this issue in the context of humour on Day 3 of  Cannes Lions 2016, Shelley Zalis, Founder & CEO, The Girls’ Lounge hosted a panel discussion with three cast members of Saturday Night Live (SNL)- Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Vanessa Bayer and Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships , NBCUniversal. The topic was ‘Gender Equality Is No Laughing Matter’, Gender parity or gender parody? Sensationalise gender equality to make you laugh, so you don’t cry. Let’s get real.

 

“The best conversations are unplugged, nonlinear and conversational. And, that is how we are going to do it,” said Zalis. She referred to it as ‘girls’ style of conversation’ rather than a panel discussion. “Sometimes we have to sensationalise the issue to know where we are going,” Zalis began. She gave an example of how a candy bar is sold at a lesser price to women than men to kick start the conversation about ‘gender parity’.

 

The discussion began with Yaccarino answering about NBC’s initiative towards bringing more women to comedy and behind the camera as well, in the light of equality. “Commitment to women and diversity is one of the top priorities of the entire company. Our news division, the on air talent, has over 40% women. And, when you look behind the camera it is equally important for the company. We are leading in this front and would hopefully continue to do so,” was the NBC Chairman’s reply.

 

But we have been seeing that in the case of comedy shows, it is the men who get their independent shows more than women comedians or actors. Also, the fact that many believe, ‘Men are funnier than women’. So, does it affect any of the actors who have been doing sketch comedy in SNL for quite some time? “No!” came a quick reply from Bryant. “I do not get that statement but I am sure there are people who think that way, you just need to ignore them, because it is boring to even answer them,” she said.

 

The star cast also discussed how in most of the scripts that they are offered they are supposed to just push the plotline. “It is like you are never given the joke, you are the hot girl,” said Strong. But these women have used these stereotypes to create funny sketches on the show, which has been extremely popular. They spoke how earlier women were afraid to speak up due to the fear of getting fired but now with more women joining comedy and other parts of the industry, it has changed but there is still a long way to cover.

 

Well, with so much talk in the media about gender equality, it sure is headed in the right direction. But to reach the finish line, the path is quite long.

 

 

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