UTURN is a 360-degree video that seamlessly blends together two 180-degree hemisphere worlds containing parallel storylines of two different perspectives at a tech start up. One perspective is from a male founder’s point of view and the other perspective is from a woman coder who is crunching to finish a demo for investors. The crossfades from the quad binaural audio design by Shaun Farley helps to dynamically mix the conversations together in a way that really sells the experience of walking between two different worlds. Usually a 360-video doesn’t have reactive edits of the visuals, but UTURN proves that there is a lot of latitude in creating an immersive and interactive audio experience that feels reactive to your gaze.
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UTURN explores themes of gender discrimination, and uses the 360-degree medium to capture group dynamics and unconscious bias within the workplace. I had a chance to catch up with NativeVR’s reative director and UTURN executive producer Nathalie Mathe to talk about the themes of sexism and gender discrimination covered in the piece, the technical storytelling innovations, the innovative sound design, the challenges of telling parallel stories, and some of the funding challenges involved in bootstrapping an independent production.
UTURN is one of the more technically accomplished 360-videos that makes use of a number of storytelling innovations to create the feeling of an interactive experience of seamlessly turning between different worlds, and it addresses important themes of sexism within the tech industry VR in a new way. Mathe is looking for educational opportunities at colleges and corporations to share UTURN as a catalyst for facilitating group discussions about what people experienced while watching it. UTURN currently does not have any distribution yet, but I’ll update this post if it becomes available to check out as I think it has a lot of important lessons for the future of storytelling in VR.
You can watch a trailer for UTURN here.
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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip