theBlu: Season 1

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Experience the wonder and majesty of the ocean through a series of habitats.


theBlu: is a deeply immersive VR series that allows audiences to experience the wonder and majesty of the ocean through different habitats and come face to face with some of the most awe inspiring species on the planet. The series, which is directed by Jake Rowell (Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, Superman Returns), has been designed as beautiful moments in passing or a collection of memories that powerfully tap into the vast potential of VR. The debut episode, featuring an incredible close encounter with an 80 foot whale, is already recognized as one the most iconic room scale VR experiences to date (a Sundance Film Festival 2016 selection). Additional episodes in this bundle take place on a teeming coral reef and in the very deepest region of the ocean. Gain access to new modes of discovery in each episode. Slow time and capture pictures in Inspector Mode, and return to a meditative version of each location in Ambient Mode.

“Working with WEVR on theBlu has been a privilege. It has allowed me the opportunity to work in an exciting new medium, which only happens, at best, a few instances in a lifetime. It is a chance to experiment with new ways of storytelling and to connect with the audience on a very personal level. It is my hope that people walk away from theBlu with a sense of scale and presence that many have never felt before: a unique experience while exploring the beauty and wonders the ocean has to offer.

We had incredible talent working on this project. Gee Yeung lead our art team; while Scott Stephan took charge of our design team. Both share a passion for computer graphics and VR. Senior Artists and Engineer, Nghia Lam, Gennady Babichenko and Julian Kantor, worked closely with the leadership team to help sculpt a visual language and style that fit the project. Specific to the Whale Encounter, Ben Vance signed on to lead the engineering efforts and Academy Award winning animation director, Andy Jones, brought our main character to life with his amazing animation talents. Over the past year, this crew combined with many others has helped shape theBlu series into a memorable introduction to the VR medium.

It’s like creating a memory and if you can tap into that as a creator, you can leave people with a lasting impression of your product.” My initial experience with VR was in the nineties when I first started working in computer graphics industry. Like most digital artists of the time, I thought VR had some amazing potential, but the technology was still in its infancy. 20 years later, I got the opportunity to work with WEVR where I had my first glimpse of the Vive. The ability to move around freely in a room scale VR experience is definitely a game changer. Soon after my introduction to the Vive, Neville and I started talking about what we could do with theBlu with the wish to create something magical.” 

– Jake Rowell/ Director

“Along every step of theBlu’s development, theBlu team has challenged themselves to push the boundaries of the creative process in VR. As a team, we’ve taken great pains to craft a series that is evocative of the most awe-inspiring aquatic realms and species, while leveraging the power of VR to create an experience with the Presence and impact of a waking dream.” 

– Max Geiger/ Senior Producer




Episode 1: Whale Encounter

theBlu: Whale Encounter is a deeply immersive experience and introduction to VR that transports audiences deep under the ocean, onto the deck of a sunken ship and face to face with the largest species on Earth, an encounter that creates both a sense of uncanny scale and unexpected empathy.

“theBlu: Whale Encounter transports you into the ocean where you get to have a close encounter with the largest creature on the planet. It truly reveals the power of the VR as a medium. Some of the inspiration comes a personal experience I had in Turks and Caicos where I was swimming and got to look straight in the eye of a humpback whale. There is something very moving about having a close encounter with a wild creature.” 

– Neville Spiteri/ Executive Producer

“I’m extremely proud of the work we did on the Whale Encounter over a year ago. It is still making waves and generating excitement for audiences, which is a testament to everyone who worked so hard on its creation.” 

– Jake Rowell/ Director






Episode 2: Reef Migration

theBlu: Reef Migration – Witness the magnificence of an undersea migration on the edge of a coral reef.

“It was great to collaborate with Art Director, Gee Yeung and Design Lead, Scott Stephan on this episode. Each one of us added bits of ourselves into the project which made for a wonderful partnership – a true labor of love. Also instrumental in the creation of the Reef Migration was the extraordinary work of our Visual Engineer, Julian Kantor. Without his talent and effort we would have never been able to experience an underwater migration of this size and magnitude.” 

– Jake Rowell/ Director





Episode 3: Luminous Abyss

theBlu: Luminous Abyss – Venture into the deepest region of the ocean to discover the iridescent abyss.

“This episode was an adventure from start to finish, and in the end, I love how it came together. It took an amazing team effort to create a level of mystery and suspense that only VR can deliver, while at the same time, it takes you to a magical place that leaves you wanting more.” 

– Jake Rowell/ Director




The Creator of theBlu: Season 1

Wevr
Jake Rowell, Director

Jake Rowell is an independent director/creative director and has worked for various companies including Activision/Infinity Ward, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Dreamworks Animation. He is known for his work on the Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, Superman Returns and The Animatrix. Jake joined Wevr to direct“theBlu:Season1” and be the creative director on “Gnomes & Goblins, both debuting on the Vive VR headset. His diverse knowledge and expertise with the 3D medium help push the boundaries of fidelity and performance in VR.

Awards

Credits

Directed by: Jake Rowell
Senior Producer: Max Geiger
Animation Director: Andrew R. Jones
Art Director: Gee Yeung
Tech/Design Lead: Scott Stephan
Senior Artist: Nghia Lam
Senior Artist: Gennady Babichenko
Visual Engineer/ Animator: Julian Kantor
Visual Engineer: Eyal Erez
Design Engineer: Ben Vance
Senior Animator: John Kim
Animator: Daniel Fiske
Technical Artist: Abril Martinez
Sound Designer: Kevin Brough
Music: Joel Corelitz
Teaser Music: Dante De Silva
Engineering Support: Scott Reeser
Additional Art: Pod 8 Studios
Technical Artist: Abril Martinez
AI Engineer: Scott Reeser
Executive Producer: Neville Spiteri
Special Thanks to: Wevr co-founders Neville Spiteri, Scott Yara, Anthony Batt

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