When we’re binge watching a TV show or read a book, most of us imagine being inside the world of the characters or even being one of the characters themselves. What if we don’t have to imagine being in the story, but actually be in it? Maybe you can guess where I’m hinting, because the realm of virtual reality makes this possible. It makes experiencing the stories we love to hear and watch, nearly tangible. This brings me to one studio who is helping to make this an reality.
Penrose Studio is an San Francisco based production studio started by Eugene Chung(previous Head of Film & Media at Oculus VR) and Jimmy Maidens( previous worked over 12 years at Dreamwork), with the sole purpose of propelling the VR/AR marketplace. Just recently, they’ve received a $8.5 million investment during a seeding round, which they plan to hire leading engineers/artists and equip themselves with new tech to stabilize their operation.
If you’ve seen their debut VR film, “The rose and I,” then you’ll understand why they’ve been entrusted with such an investment. Based off the famous story “The Little Prince,” the film follows a sick day of the rose. The little prince, concerned for the Rose’s well being, or confusion on why a rose sneezes, spends the day with the rose, nursing her back to health. It’s an light-hearted film, which has been showcased at Tribeca Film Festival 2015.
Their latest immersive film, “Allumette,” was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl,” in which the viewer gets to experience an colorful scenery peeking into an relationship between a mother and her daughter, named Allumette.
The setting is very fantastical like, with re-imagining Venice as an floating city. One interesting feature about the film is its implementation of stop-motion animation, which can be disconcerting for some viewers who are used to smooth frame-rates at 90fps. You’ll have to experience it for yourself, to see if this kind of immersion is right for you.
As time moves forward, we can expect to see more colorful worlds and stories hand-crafted by Penrose Studios developers. With an extra few millions backing their development process, it is going to be exciting to see how far they push the boundaries of storytelling in VR. Until then, you can connect with Penrose via Twitter @PenroseVR.