From vision to (virtual) reality

Local filmmaker and Exar Studios co-founder collects several international awards for a unique virtual reality music video

A MUSIC VIDEO shot by filmmaker and director at London-based Exar Studios is picking up major international recognition for its unique use of virtual reality.

Edward Platero, co-founder of the company, has been awarded the Best Music Video award from the 2021 Cannes World Film Festival, and is in the running for a showing at Cannes in 2022.
And that award is in addition to a host of similar awards: Best Musical Film at the International Music Video Awards; Best Musical Film at the Munich Music Video Awards; and selection as a semi-finalist at the Osaka Film Festival in Japan.

From vision to (virtual) reality exar studios Arts & EntertainmentPhoto: Edward Platero

Produced to accompany the album The Isle of Ailynn by acclaimed Toronto-based avant-folk artist Mappe Of, the landscapes in the 44-minute music video (described as an “escapist fantasy”) were created by Toronto-based artist Kristyn Watterworth using Google Tilt, while the video was filmed in VR by Platero and created with help from Exar Studios.

“Shot entirely handheld using the camera mechanic built into [Google] Tilt Brush, the freedom of shooting in a virtual environment was a cinematographer’s dream,” says Platero. “Shots that would require cranes, steadicams [or]camera cars were all effortlessly accomplished in VR. This experience made me understand why we’ve lost James Cameron to making 5 Avatar sequels. The ability to use virtual reality as a creation tool has opened my eyes to what this new world can be, and it is an artist’s dream.”

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The result is a video that really defies easy explanation: 44 minutes in a veritable dream world, set to the sound of Mappe Of’s music. As one reviewer described it, the video is “filled with luminous rivers coursing through the land, underwater paradises, mountainous vistas and all kinds of enchanted flora, fauna and wildlife – all waiting to be discovered through the gentle pace of the drone-like footage.”

In addition to receiving a number of awards, the video was also an official selection at a number of film festivals, including the Anatolia International Film Festival, the Vancouver Independent Film Festival and the High Tatras Film & Video Festival in Slovakia.

For Platero, the experience gave him the chance to see how far the technology around which his company is built can be taken in pursuit of artistic creation.

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“This project had us pushing the boundaries of what is possible with film and extended reality, and it’s a dream come true to be nominated,” he says. “It has been a long-standing dream to create a long-play music video where every song had its own individual experience, but the entire thing was intertwined. An experience where the viewer is encouraged to honour the musician’s vision of a collection of songs carefully planned to meld together and take you on a journey.” From vision to (virtual) reality exar studios Arts & Entertainment Kieran Delamont

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