Annecy 2016 - Challenges of Virtual Reality

Annecy 2016
Challenges of Virtual Reality


The panel discussed the impact and potential of virtual reality for narrative film making. It’s an exciting frontier that raises questions about whether the traditional rules of narrative film making still apply to virtual reality. What impact will VR have on storytelling, staging, mise-en-scene and sound? What happens to the traditional role of the director?

In traditional film the director can carefully design the shot and every decision on framing, composition and wardrobe can help to amplify the narrative. How will this work in VR where the viewer can look anywhere?

It became clear that there are other ways to fulfil the normal film making rules. That although the viewer can look anywhere, the director can persuade the viewer to look using sound, composition and character eye to eye contact. Eric Darnell of Baobab Studios summed it up in a humorous quote,

“the power of the bunny!”

Invasion! Baobab Studio

Eric said inspire the viewer to look where you want them to look. Think like a magician, direct them where you want them to look. Bring it back to theatre, directing the audience’s attention. Frame the point of interest. Eric played a short VR sample film where a very cute rabbit engages your attention, called Invasion!. Eric pointed out how he was using traditional rules to lead the viewer’s eye. Sound became very important because you instinctively turn towards the sound.

 Rosa Mulraney


The Cecils - 2016

Last month saw the return to Falmouth of the most prestigious award ceremony in the Animation & VFX calendar: The Fifth Annual Falmouth University Student Awards for Excellence, more commonly known as 'The Cecils'.

Our very shiny awards.

Left to right: Cecil, Derek Hayes, Elitsa Nedyalkova

This year Cecil himself was onstage to oversee the proceedings, which were compered by our very own Mr. Derek Hayes and Miss Ann Owen. The awards were particularly shiny and the atmosphere in the cinema was buzzing with excitement as the students settled into their seats in anticipation of the evening's event.

Excited students.

More excited students.

The ceremony started with the customary throwing of sweets, an ancient tradition that can be traced back at least 5 years, in which the staff show their appreciation of the students by throwing sweets at them... ahem... I mean to them.

This was followed by a screening of the work of this year's best and brightest Animation and VFX students. Highlights included: Sweet Tooth, a dark film about some rather vengeful cakes; Falling In Love, another dark but hilariously funny film about love and suicide; The Heaver, a slightly less dark film about lumberjacks, beards, and the danger of chopping down the biggest tree in the forest; and Alphabet Patch, a not-remotely-dark pilot film for a pre-school television series which taught us all about the letter 'a' and the importance of working together. (Please would someone commission this - we would like to learn about the letter 'b'.)

This year the course staff had a very special duty to perform and a convenient technical 'interlude' provided the perfect opportunity. Two years ago King Andy I (Andy Wyatt) left us for pastures new. For the last two years the crown has been worn by Derek I, who has valiantly held the reins as Prince Regent since Andy's departure, and who now passes the crown on to our new leader Andy Joule.

Long live King Andy II! Hurrah!

The crowning of King Andy II

The competition for the best dressed guest was, as usual, extremely close with a record number of competitors and was perhaps the hardest yet for this year's judge, our very own Andy II. After much deliberation and chewing of nails Andy narrowed it down to three finalists, and by a whisker the prize went to 2nd year student Chris Hunt, who won a Lego Star Wars stormtrooper digital alarm clock. We are confident that next year we will see Chris, bright eyed and bushy tailed, on time for every lecture.

The award ceremony itself recognised the talent of some of our best students.

Martin Burn. 3rd year student.
Ryan Orgill. 1st year student.
Emi Morgan. 1st year student.

A very special student-time achievement award was was given to our MfA student Adam Taylor for his work on his stop-motion film The Heaver, a cautionary tale about lumber-jacking. Adam, who is an American citizen, was a little unsure of whether he would be able to take his award through the airport security checks on his return home, and has elected to have it couriered to him in secure and safe packaging instead.

The Student-time Award for services to Animation and Lumber-Jacking.

A special mention has to go to two of our third year students who were nominated multiple times by their fellow students; Mads Ogaard, director of the third year film I Am Dyslexic won the 3rd year Angel of Animation award, and Katie Wyman who received the Best Brain award for her work on her dissertation (about the neuroscience of 2D animation spectatorship). Fellow students had nominated the pair for, amongst other things, the amazing support and help that they had given to other students throughout their time at the university.

Our three Angels of Animation this year were Prawta Annez, Philippa Humphrey, Cecilia Hay and Mads Ogaard. As you can see, red and black is very much the new black.

Prawta Annez: Angel of Animation Year 1.
Philippa Humphrey & Cecilia Hay: Angels of Animation Year 2.
Mads Ogaard: Angel of Animation Year 3.

The final award of the evening was, of course, the much coveted Skull D'Or. This year there was no doubt as to who should receive the award, and it went to Leonie Isaacs, for her work directing and producing Alphabet Patch. Leonie is a very talented filmmaker whose exceptional skills have stood out since her arrival in the studio three years ago. The award also recognises the help and support that she has given to her fellow students along the way. We look forward to following her career (and learning all about the letter 'b').

Left to right: Derek Hayes, Leonie Isaacs, Ann Owen

After the ceremony students and staff headed for the bar to celebrate their wins. 

... and judging from the pictures on Twitter the fun didn't end there.

Image with thanks to Cecilia Hay.

A huge thank you to all the students and staff who contributed to this year's Cecils ceremony - the best yet. And an even huger farewell and thank you to our departing students for just being so generally wonderful.


The Rising Star Award 2D: Thomas Poole
The Rising  Star Award 3D: Daniel Martin
The Award for Excellence in the Field of Student Representation: Ryan Orgill
The Da Vinci Award for Artistic Excellence: Matthew Beresford
The Mother of All Award: Emi Morgan
The Aниматор-машина Award (Animation Machine): Elitsa Nedylakova
The Georg 1.1 Award: George Quelch
The Frank Thomas Award for Amazing Animation: James White
The Ollie Johnston Award for Amazing Animation: Anna Bohac
The Studio Wizard Award: Chris Lewin
The Award for Superior Digital Jiggory Pokery: Benjamin Langham
The Leo Tolstoy Award for Epic Writing: Martin Burn
The Maestro of the Comedic Arts: Jack Ghigo
The Award for Best Brain: Katie Wyman
The Angel of Animation Year 1: Prawta Annez
The Angel of Animation Year 2: Philippa Humphrey & Cecilia Hay
The Angel of Animation year 3: Mads Ogaard 
Student-time Achievement Award for services to Animation and Lumber-Jacking: Adam Taylor
The Skull D'Or:Leonie Isaacs

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