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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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新たな文法の確立のために

 
英語学習の文法ではなく今回は映像の文法、映画の文法についてです。VRの誕生で新技術を生かす新たな映像手法が求められているようです。Oculus Riftを開発したPalmer Luckeyが今週のTIME100人に選ばれていたようにVRは大きな注目を集めています。

TIME 100 PIONEERS
Palmer Luckey

By Ridley Scott
April 21, 2016

Architect of new worlds
Virtual reality is no longer the future. It is here now, and we saw first-hand, while working with Palmer Luckey and his team at Oculus on The Martian VR, how VR has opened up a new world of storytelling. The technology Palmer has shepherded has made it possible to experience storytelling in ways we previously could only imagine. It allowed us to invite everyone to go to Mars and to truly experience what astronaut Mark Watney did. It was especially gratifying after we had gone to such great lengths to ensure the accuracy of the film, including by partnering with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I have always loved creating and interpreting new worlds, and having the opportunity to do so in a full 360-degree scope was thrilling. Because of Palmer’s entrepreneurial and innovative nature, the needle for VR has moved from impractical to endlessly possible.
Scott’s films include Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Blade Runner


映画監督のRidley Scottが推薦文を書いているようにVRのヘッドセットが新たな映画体験をもたらすことを期待されているのでしょうが、VRを使ってどのように語るべきなのか、visual grammar(映像の文法)というべきものを模索中のようです。今週のNew Yorkerではその奮闘ぶりを紹介してくれています。

Art and Tech APRIL 25, 2016 ISSUE
Studio 360
The pioneers who are making the first virtual-reality narratives.

BY ANDREW MARANTZ

Janicza Bravo makes short films about loneliness. In one, Michael Cera plays an abrasive paraplegic who can’t get lucky. In another, Gaby Hoffmann plays a phone stalker for whom the description “comes on too strong” is not strong enough. Bravo’s shorts employ the visual grammar of art-house cinema: over-the-shoulder shots representing a character’s point of view, handheld tracking shots depicting urgent movement, lingering closeups to heighten intimacy or unease, carefully composed establishing shots with an actor in the center of the frame

冒頭に紹介されていた文法はover-the-shoulder shots representing a character’s point of view, handheld tracking shots depicting urgent movement, lingering closeups to heighten intimacy or uneaseでしたが、VRのヘッドセットにするとこのような従来の方法が通用しなくなるというのです。

Cinematic grammar no longer applies. There is no frame in which to compose a shot. An actor who directly addresses the camera isn’t breaking the fourth wall, because the viewer is already in the middle of the action. The viewer can look anywhere, so the director often adds subtle visual or auditory cues to indicate where to look, or to signal that the viewer’s gaze can wander without missing anything important.
Tracking shots must be steady and slow, because too much camera movement can cause discomfort—viewers have reported headaches, vertigo, and nausea. For the same reason, most V.R. experiences last only a few minutes; more sustained stories tend to be divided into episodes. With the current headsets, “virtual-reality sickness” can kick in after about twenty minutes. It seems to affect old people more strongly than young people and women more strongly than men. While researching this piece, I sometimes had trouble sleeping, which is unusual for me. I avoid looking at computers before bed, because they have been linked with disturbed sleep. I eventually realized that I had been spending much of my evening leisure time with a magnified AMOLED screen two inches from my face.

The Google Cardboard and the Samsung Gear have been on sale since last year. More sophisticated V.R. headsets have been available to developers for about two years, in prototype form, and are now reaching the market. The Oculus Rift, which produces precise localized audio, sells for six hundred dollars. The HTC Vive, a “room-scale” system that uses laser emitters to track a user’s movement within a fifteen-by-fifteen-foot space, costs eight hundred. (High-powered computers, sold separately, are required for both.) Omer Shapira, an artist and a software engineer, told me, “The tech is advancing astoundingly quickly, but the storytellers are still catching up. Humans are good at picking up language, including visual language, but first it has to be invented.” He mentioned the Kuleshov effect, which was established in the early days of cinema by the Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov. When footage of a man with a neutral expression was intercut with an image of a child in a coffin, the audience thought that the man looked sorrowful; when the same footage was intercut with a shot of a bowl of soup, the man looked hungry. “Over time, that sort of thing becomes intuitive to an audience,” Shapira said.


VRは単なる映画の延長線上ではなく、映画の誕生のように全く新たなメディアだと当事者たちは考えているようです。

I asked whether V.R. would be as transformative as the Internet, and Batt didn’t hesitate. “Let me put it this way,” he said. “It’s not a new way to watch movies, or a new gaming platform. It’s a new medium. How often do new mediums come along?”

VRの成功例として“Notes on Blindness”と“Giant”いう短編をあげていました。

One experience that succeeds within V.R.’s current constraints is “Notes on Blindness,” which was inspired by the theologian John Hull, who lost his sight in 1983. For years afterward, he recorded a diary on audiocassette. The V.R. experience animates excerpts of the diary, using only tiny points of light. You begin in darkness, and sounds cause shapes to coalesce fleetingly around you: a tree is marked by the wind blowing through its leaves; a person on a nearby park bench is imperceptible and then suddenly, with the rumpling of a newspaper, springs to life. The images are crude, but their crudeness is part of the point.

Another promising experiment is “Giant,” a six-minute experience by Milica Zec and Winslow Porter. Zec is Serbian, and she was sixteen years old in 1999, when NATO bombed Belgrade. “Parents would omit the truth, trying to create a normal situation in the home,” she told me. “I wanted to translate that emotion into fiction.” Zec called Porter, who had worked on V.R. projects, and they decided to film actors in front of a green screen and then place them in a computer-rendered 3-D environment—a combination that had not been attempted before. “What we needed wasn’t actually available when we started,” Porter said. “The technology came into existence during the few months that we were in production.” To view “Giant,” you wear an Oculus or Vive headset and sit on a “rumble chair”—an IKEA stool with a built-in subwoofer. You’re in a basement, presumably in the United States, along with a mother, a father, and a six-year-old girl. The parents tell the girl that the booming sounds she hears are a friendly giant’s footsteps—“He just wants to play”—but the truth is more dire. As the blasts move nearer, you hear them in your headphones, see them in the flickering light bulbs above you, and feel them in the stool vibrating below you. The sense of claustrophobia becomes acute—you can look behind you or above you, but you’ll find only close walls and low ceilings.

Both “Notes on Blindness” and “Giant” premièred at New Frontier, the V.R. showcase at Sundance, along with “Hard World” and some twenty other experiences. Shari Frilot, who curates New Frontier and has seen nearly every piece of cinematic V.R. ever made, told me, “I think we’re moving toward something amazing. I’ve seen a lot of things I really like, but I haven’t seen anything yet that I’d consider a classic.”


いろいろ模索しながら最適な方法を見つけていくしかないのでしょう。新形式のTOEICだって同じことですよね。
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