Unity, Vimeo, Sundance: the tech that’s changing storytelling

2017 was a very big year for Vimeo. Amidst a flurry of product launches (hello 360, hello live), we also formed Vimeo Creator Labs, a stealthy team that is hard at work exploring the intersection of video, film, art, media, and technology. We’re focusing on anything new and emerging in the video space — think VR, AR, robot brains, blockchain, and beyond.

All of these new developments made our return to Sundance Film Festival that much more exciting. We had 35 of our beloved Staff Pick alums attending, and they’re working on some truly stunning projects. This year, we were also super proud to have an alliance with New Frontier, because we believe that new media is pushing the industry forward. It was there that we had the opportunity to speak with some of our favorite creators about the future of storytelling.

Unity Realtime Demo, Book of the Dead

In addition to some of the sweet events we hosted in Park City (meet-ups, filmmaker hangs, secret late-night underground nacho parties, and watching short films upon short films), we were thrilled to share some of Creator Labs’ work in a panel we organized with Unity. Joining us on the panel were Nico Casavecchia and Martin Allais, both Staff Picked filmmakers, and the creators behind the VR short “BattleScar.” These two put forward one of the most compelling VR experiences at New Frontier this year, so it was great to have them contributing to the conversation. And don’t worry, if you missed us in Park City, peep the quick recap of our discussion in the video above!

BattleScar features 16-year-old Lupe, a wannabe tough kid, voiced by Rosario Dawson.

Beyond what you’ll see in the video, another exciting highlight came from Unity. They showcased the power of their real-time graphics engine, demonstrating their movement away from the stigma of being just a gaming engine, and instead towards empowering creators to tell boundary-breaking stories in new and exciting mediums. They’re also completely rethinking the creative workflow. With a real-time graphics engine, VFX teams no longer need to create in a linear fashion, but can now collaborate simultaneously. This is huge, because it saves tons of time by reducing operational overhead. Even Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios have been leveraging Unity for their latest short films.

It was a very inspiring year at Sundance, as VR and immersive storytelling projects seem to be turning a corner. We’re eager to explore further within this space, so we’ve prototyped some tools for Unity and WebVR to augment the tool belt of new media creators. For example, creators could leverage Vimeo’s hosting and high-quality player to stream video into their 2D or 3D experiences. We’re also making it easy to real-time video capture from Unity and share it with your team for review.

The future is looking pretty cool. See you on Mars.

Are you a new media creator? Comment below on the types of tools you use, and let us know what you’d love to see from Vimeo. If you’re still having Sundance FOMO, you can watch our curation team’s favorite short films from this year’s festival.


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