Workshops for the production of films in Virtual Reality in three libraries of the City of Paris: Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Hôtel de Ville, Bibliothèque Arthur Rimbaud.
As part o fNumok, the digital library festival of the City of Paris (October 2018) organized by Bibliocité, I proposed three workshops for the public to make films in Virtual Reality, in three libraries.
- Discovery of new media.
- Development of creativity with digital tools.
- Valuation of the architectural heritage of the City of Paris.
Problematic of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is an exciting and important technology to explore in cultural action, to build critical thinking. But it is not easy to implement:
- in terms of broadcasting because the headset is an individual “screen”,
- in terms of production, because the camera films at 360°, all around, so it is not possible to have a technical team.
But, on the other hand, what is at stake in the stakes of Virtual Reality seems very important to me, because these cameras lead us to look at the world differently, so they can lead us to rethink our relationship with the world. Just as with the Lumière camera in 1895, what seemed to be just another technological invention has totally changed the way we see and behave.
How, with a lambda audience, in three hours, can we propose an action that is creative, constructive and that constitutes a real discovery of a technology? As well as productive of an audiovisual heritage that can be enhanced.
An innovative workshop
I proposed and experimented with a method based on vision and creativity. The workshop was divided into four parts:
- Shooting tests : We introduce ourselves, we set the objectives of the workshop, I make sure, by group dynamics techniques, to create a cohesive group. Then, quickly, we “take action”, we go out to do filming tests. Everyone takes the camera and films a short shot. We don’t know what it will bring, it’s an adventure into the unknown and it will be a discovery when it comes to viewing. The participants are immediately involved in the gesture, in doing it.
- Collective design : We watch the results of the shootings together on the big screen: the surprise is great, we discover the world seen in “binoculars”, it is very stimulating on a creative level. These tiny little cameras produce images so amazing that enthusiasm is high. We consider the VR camera not as a technical tool that would serve to illustrate a previous scenario, but as a creative tool, i.e. a tool that can be diverted from its initial use, a tool that gives us inspiration by discovering what it allows us to do. From the joy of this discovery, I propose a collective conception of the film to be shot, by means of a collaborative mindmap:
- Shooting the film : We decide on a specific function for each person: camera, music, acting... each one is autonomous, fully responsible for his part. It is a moment of cohesion, of trust, where everyone takes the risk, I am the first one: depending on the project, I can run, sing, dance, throw paper planes... to open up to creativity you have to risk yourself, it is what allows you to allow fantasy, to overcome judgment to build and transmit a joyful, playful vision, so ultimately a generous film, that is to say a “good” film. The film is shot in sequence shot, hence the precise repetitions. My role is to be the guarantor of the framework (the good end of the film), but in this framework each person is free to create what he wants.
- Film viewing : I hold the watch so that we have time to watch the film, in large binocular vision (a very good way to collectively share films in Virtual Reality), as well as in the 360° headset. It was decided at the collective design stage that the film would have two versions: one for headphones and one for “flat” viewing (because very few people have headphones). This double “entry” into the film is very rich in terms of reflection on the image.
After this very dense session of work and creativity, the film is put online and the participants, thanks to a QR Code that we give them and a link that we send them by email, can access it to download and watch them, flat or in a headset.
The three films made
- “Le bateau livre chaloupé” (collective film, 4’10s, 2018, shot at the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris).
- The sound of the book opening up. (collective film, 4’37s, 2018, shot at the City Hall Library).
- Where the hell is Ornicar? (collective film, 6’32s, 2018, shot at the Arthur Rimbaud Library).