Development Diary Seventeen: The Danish and the Dutch

This week, the prominent Dutch Newspaper Het Financielle Dagblad, published "Participating is Important Again," a small informational bio on To Be With Hamlet!

You can find a link to the original article in Dutch here.

You can find a rough English translation of the article here.

For all of the latest news about the Prince, make sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Press: NYU Tandon Engineering Article: "Storytelling in Virtual Reality: Hamlet Takes the (Virtual) Stage in New Production"

Group Photo Courtesy of NYU Tandon (Camila Ryder)

NYU's Tandon School of Engineering wrote an article on To Be With Hamlet which detailed our production's technical breakthroughs and challenges, including our effort to track the faces of our actors during the performance in the same way that we track their bodies. 

YOU CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM TANDON'S CAMILA RYDER HERE.

Development Diary Sixteen: Teleporting the Prince

This week, our team received a great deal of attention from the press and revealed a new feature!  

The past few weeks, our team has been working on a new teleportation feature which would allow our participants to teleport around Castle Elsinore so that they can see the Prince and the Ghost from new angles quickly. This feature will now be in all of our exhibits of the production!

The press had a lot to say about the Prince this week!

Group Photo Courtesy of NYU Tandon (Camila Ryder)

Group Photo Courtesy of NYU Tandon (Camila Ryder)

NYU's Tandon School of Engineering wrote an article on To Be With Hamlet which detailed our production's technical breakthroughs and challenges, including our effort to track the faces of our actors during the performance in the same way that we track their bodies. 

You can read the full article from Tandon's Camila Ryder here.

Recently, NYU Shanghai's "Innovative Scholarhship" blog posted, "To Be or Not Be: Staging Hamlet in Virtual Reality," a short interview with Christian Grewell, the creative lead of our M3diate VR platform. 

You can read NYU Shanghai's full article here.

Two weeks ago, our team exhibited To Be With Hamlet at the New York City Media Lab's Exploring Future Reality conference. During that conference, Javier Molina, our producer, gave a six-minute pitch for the project. You can hear it by clicking on our audio player below. Stay tuned for more videos and pictures from that conference! 

FuturePerfectMachine, a San Francisco based VR and geospatial technology blog, wrote an article about the Prince as well.

You can read FuturePerfectMachine's article here.

 

For all the latest updates about the Prince, follow our Twitter and Facebook below!

Press: Technical.ly Article - "Behind the Scenes of this Dazzling VR Performance of Hamlet"

The Prince was featured on Technical.ly, a prominent online technology magazine. April Joyner, who wrote the article on Hamlet, had this to say about the experience:

"For my part, after being dazzled by the VR technology, especially the ability to “teleport” among different perspectives of the action using video game controllers, I found it intriguing to see the ghost of Hamlet’s father up close, as Casey delivered a rousing monologue, and imagine what encountering such an imposing presence might feel like."

You can read the full article here.

Check back next week for more news about the Prince!

Development Diary Fifteen: The Prince in the Future and Behind the Scenes

It was a great week for the Prince! Last Thursday, he visited the New York City Media Lab's Future Reality conference, where he was presented side-by-side with VR superstars like Ken Perlin of NYU and Resh Sidhu of Framestore! Check back soon for more photos!

A poster from New York City Media Lab's website.

A poster from New York City Media Lab's website.

The Prince was also featured on Technical.ly, a prominent online technology magazine. April Joyner, who wrote the article on Hamlet, had this to say about the experience:

"For my part, after being dazzled by the VR technology, especially the ability to “teleport” among different perspectives of the action using video game controllers, I found it intriguing to see the ghost of Hamlet’s father up close, as Casey delivered a rousing monologue, and imagine what encountering such an imposing presence might feel like."

You can read the full article here.

Check back next week for more news about the Prince!

Development Diary Thirteen: Happy Halloween!

The To Be With Hamlet team wishes you a Happy Halloween!

Here's a photo of the 3D model of our Ghost!

You can catch another glimpse of our ghost in this preview video from earlier in the year:

We're also excited to bring Noah Harrsion Kellman into our team as a Composer and Mix Engineer! 

Noah.jpeg

Noah is a music composer and producer for film and multimedia based in New York City. He is working as both a composer and mixing engineer on To Be With Hamlet. A lover of narrative music, he creates cinematic soundscapes that intersect the acoustic and electronic worlds. This compositional blend has garnered him attention across numerous media, including a feature on Indie Shuffle when he released his song Just Let It Go under his stage name, “Nozart.” Noah has won numerous awards for his ability as a pianist and as a composer. From 2009 to 2010, he was selected as the pianist for the Brubeck Institute, and also received two ASCAP Young Jazz Composer awards, including one in 2009 for his composition The Piemaker. He has also been awarded eight Downbeat Student Music Awards. In 2015, Kellman toured the country as keyboardist/synthesist for Elliot Moss as they opened for the Cold War Kids on their winter national tour. Often inspired by the story-like musical nature of music, some important influences are classical music and soundtrack composers, including greats such as John Williams, Danny Elfman, Stravinsky and Ravel.


Have a great time trick-or-treating!

 

 

 

Development Diary Twelve: Gearing Up for Indiegogo

Watch out! In the coming weeks, the To Be With Hamlet team will be launching an INDIEGOGO campaign in order to fund a complete production of Hamlet in Virtual Reality!

Our initial prototype of Hamlet’s Act I, Scene V has been hugely successful at technology and arts festivals such as The New York City Media Lab’s Media Summit and Kaleidoscope VR’s Summer Showcase, so we’re excited to expand this project to encompass the full dramatic arc of the Prince. Now that we have a better idea of how this new fusion of live performance and virtual reality works, we’re going to apply those lessons to make an even more dramatically compelling experience. We intend to add interactive environments, additional characters, and opportunities for audience members to interact with other (or not) during the experience.

To keep track of To Be With Hamlet’s INDIEGOGO campaign, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our mailing list below.

This past week, we’ve set up new presentations of To Be With Hamlet, recruited new team members, and submitted to new festival programs!

Want to see To Be With Hamlet in person?

Check out the Prince at the grand opening of VR Bar, one of Brooklyn’s first VR-enabled pubs!  You can apply for an invitation to the grand opening here!

We’re excited to introduce Alba Torremocha, a former resident composer for the NYU Symphony, to the To Be With Hamlet team as a Sound Designer and Composer! Check out her full bio at our About Page.

As of today, we have officially submitted our application to be part of Sundance’s New Frontier Story Lab. Each year, Sundance selects six innovative narrative projects to further develop.  We’re hoping that the Sundance Institute will help us create a VR experience that encompasses the full dramatic arc of Hamlet.

To stay updated with our project’s latest updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Development Diary Eleven: The Prince Sees the World

In the past week, our team has made huge leaps in sharing To Be With Hamlet across the globe. In Shenzen, China, M3diate, our social VR platform and content partner, presented M3diate and Hamlet at the global Cre8 Summit, one of the world’s largest technology and innovation festivals . Check out the Cre8 profiles for both Hamlet and M3diate here.

Attendees Trying Out To Be With Hamlet

Attendees Trying Out To Be With Hamlet

Both Hamlet and M3diate were big successes at the festival; Christian Grewell, M3diate’s technical lead, gave an extended interview to a Chinese news station covering the event. Check out this video of Christian discussing Hamlet on Chinese TV here. Look for the section between 1:30 and 2:30.

Cre8 Attendees Lining Up to Try To Be With Hamlet

Cre8 Attendees Lining Up to Try To Be With Hamlet

On another side of the world in Amsterdam, VR Days, Europe's Biggest VR Convention, accepted To Be With Hamlet into their lineup! Hamlet will be shown alongside some of the world's hottest VR works on November 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th.

The VR Days Icon

The VR Days Icon

On yet another side of the globe, To Be With Hamlet was accepted into New York City Media Labs's Future Reality conference. Hamlet will be shown at the conference and Javier Molina, the project's producer, will give a speech at the event as well. The event will be held in Viacom New York's White Box Theatre on Thursday, November 10th from 8 AM to 6 PM.

The Poster for the Future Reality Conference

The Poster for the Future Reality Conference

While Hamlet has grown more popular around the globe, the production team has continued to make improvements to the experience. Last week, our team hired two musicians to help score and sound design the experience. Check out their first samples below! 

The prince is making quite a noise around the world. Follow our Twitter and like our Facebook page for more updates on the Prince's exploits!

Development Diary Ten: Next Steps

This week, most of our work was behind the scenes. We submitted exhibition applications to MIT’s Hacking Arts Conference, Amsterdam’s VR Days Conference, and Santa Fe's Currents New Media Conference. Hopefully, the Prince will find a home in each city!

The To Be With Hamlet team has also continued to cement its partnership with the M3diate team since our successful joint presentation at the New York City Media Lab. For more about the creative and managerial minds behind M3diate, check out the bottom of our about page.

Christian Grewell - M3diate Creative Lead

Christian Grewell - M3diate Creative Lead

We've also begun to chart out our next steps. In the last week, we’ve made rough plans to redo our prerecorded version of the experience with our new actor Roger Casey, add ambient SFX, improve our audio synchronization, and much more! Stay tuned for further updates about the project!

Roger Casey - To Be With Hamlet's New Ghost

Roger Casey - To Be With Hamlet's New Ghost

Development Diary Nine: We Need Your Help / Affirmed Promise

To help our team, skip to the heading reading "AT THIS POINT" below.

This last week, our team had an incredible time presenting To Be With Hamlet at the New York City Media Lab at Columbia University!

Presenting in the Black Box

Early on the 22nd, our team headed North from our Brookyln headquarters at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering to Columbia’s illustrious Lerner Hall.

Once inside, we began to set up a seventeen by twenty-four square foot performance space in a black box theatre dedicated to the production. To enable our audience members to see our actors performing in our motion capture lab in Brooklyn, we projected a live feed from the studio on one of the black box’s screens.

Live Feed from our Motion Capture Studio in Brooklyn

Once all the equipment was in place, Bas in het Veld, our technical director, connected our five Vives to the M3diate platform, which enabled five audience members and our performers to exist in the virtual space simultaneously; at any one time, every audience member wearing a Vive could see the Prince, the ghost, the castle, and the other audience members. As the funding for our project grows, ten or more audience members could experience the virtual space simultaneously. We also set up a monitor so that the audience members not wearing the Vives could watch the play.

_AHE4520.JPG

Throughout our exhibit time, NYC’s top media executives, technologists, academics, and futurists poured into the black box to be with Hamlet by putting on the Vive or watching our live feeds of the performance. The crowd’s incredibly positive response to our exhibit has confirmed our belief that To Be With Hamlet and, more generally, this new fusion of live theatre and VR, is more than the novel sum of its parts; To Be With Hamlet gives audience members a new kind of an dramatic experience and the audience wants more of it.

_AHE4567.JPG

AT THIS POINT, our production has reached a critical juncture. While we have had huge successes at festivals such Kaleidoscope's Summer Showcase and the New York City Media Lab, we have unfortunately not raised enough money to support this production indefinitely. When we began this project, we aimed to create a new kind of dramatic experience by fusing live performance, motion capture, and virtual reality in a innovative new way without any expectation of financial return.

Now that we have polished the project and have seen the incredible dramatic power of this new form, we want to bring it to a larger audience; we want to bring it to you. Unfortunately, since we have been working on this project for several months without pay, we cannot continue to do so without endangering our livelihoods for ourselves and our families. So why don't we sell it? At this point, we have assembled a team of actors, motion capture artists, technologists, and dramaturgists that is uniquely trained and accustomed to this new form, so there is no one better, in our estimation, to continue developing and exploring this form.

But for us to continue to explore and expand this form, we need your help.

Are you an individual interested in preserving and expanding upon this new form of theatre and virtual reality?

Donate to our project directly through our website here.

Do you represent a company that endorses innovation and creative risk-taking, whether that be in the arts, in technology, or on the stage?

Email javier.molina@nyu.edu or Help@hamletvr.org directly with the subject line: "Sponsorship." See page four of our Press Kit to see the numerous benefits our Sponsors enjoy.

Still on the fence about donating our sponsoring the project? Check out our new Press Kit.

Over the past several months, this project, which started in part as a riff on the title of one of our favorite books, has grown into a living breathing experience. Like most projects, it matters to us in part because we have poured our blood, sweat, and tears into it. But more than anything, it matters to us because we have seen incredibly positive responses to it and we believe it can matter to you.

The glowworm may show the matin to be near, but that does mean this must be adieu.

Donate now.

Development Diary Eight: The Prince's New Clothes

Tomorrow, we’re excited to bring To Be With Hamlet to Kaleidoscope’s Summer Showcase on the 8th floor of 2 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn.

At the showcase, we will be doing our FIRST EVER public showing of To Be With Hamlet.  In one part of the building, audience members will be able to watch Zach perform live in the motion capture studio. In another, participants will be able to put on the Vive and see that performance streamed live in the virtual Elsinore Castle.

Want to see the first ever performance of To Be With Hamlet?   

Check out the Summer Showcase website here.

Buy tickets for the event here.

This past week, our team revamped several aspects of To Be With Hamlet. Our previous avatar’s skin textures were not to our standards, so we rescanned our actor Zach. We then applied the new scans to Zach’s rig so that he would look more natural. 

 

Once this new avatar was in place, we replaced Hamlet’s previous outfit, a rather flappy tunic, with a more conservative dress shirt.

We’re excited to send our new Prince to Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier program and Dubai International Film Festival’s DIFFerent Reality program. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, so we hope the Prince can have a bit of a vacation in Utah or the UAE!

For more about To Be With Hamlet, check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo pages!

Development Diary Seven: Hamlet's Kingdom

 

Check out the latest prototype of To Be With Hamlet in the above video!

In the past week, we have made huge leaps with the project. We migrated Prince Hamlet and the Ghost to the illustrious Elsinore Castle, a grand stone fortress perched on a brotherhood of rocky cliffs.

Additionally, we finally got a tunic for Hamlet and a set of armor for the Ghost. Now that these prototypes of the clothing are in place, we will begin experimenting with various particle effects for both characters. For example, as the Ghost talks about burning in Hellfire, we might set him on fire.

We’ve also begun submitting the experience to major festivals such as Sundance Film Festival and the Future of Storytelling Summit. Our team hopes to share our innovative fusion of motion capture, live performance, and Virtual Reality with these awesome festivals.

Be on the look out for official Press Kit, which will be made available on our website’s About Tab by the end of this week.

In the Press Kit, we will outline some of the benefits that our sponsors will receive.  These tentatively include, but are no means limited to, the following:

- Logo featured prominently during the experience.

- Logo featured on the production's blog, website (hamletvr.org), social media platforms, videos, and marketing materials.

- Sponsor profile on website, blog, and marketing materials.

- For larger sponsors, exclusive, private performances of the piece for the sponsor and their guests.

- Free tickets to public performances of the piece.

We also launched our official Instagram account this week. Follow us @tobehamletvr

Keep checking out our blog, Facebook, and Twitter for more videos and information about the project!

Twitter and Facebook: @ToBeWithHamle

Instagram: @ToBeHamletVr

Press: ThereIsOnlyR Interview and Article - "Hamlet Takes To The Virtual Stage"

The awesome Peter Feld, the Director of Research at The Insurrection, one of NYC's top VR publications, sat down with our Producer Javier Molina and Assistant Director Owen Bell to talk about creating Hamlet in VR.

Check out the article and interview here.

 

Development Diary Six: New Partnernships

We’re incredibly excited to announce that we will be partnering with M3diate, a networked multi-user VR environment. M3diate will allow up to fifteen audience members to simultaneously see and hear Hamlet confront his murdered father’s ghost. M3diate also provides spatial audio, which means that it will allow participants to hear different sounds depending on their position in the virtual space. For example, if an audience member is directly to the right of Hamlet, they will hear the Prince more loudly in their left ear than their right ear. If they are far away from Hamlet, they will hear him more faintly. M3diate’s hyper realistic audio rendering will enable participants to have an even more intimate connection with Prince Hamlet.

Learn more about M3diate here.

Our team is also incredibly happy to be accepted into the New York City Media Lab and the New York City edition of Kaleidoscope VR’s Summer Showcase 2016.

Join us at the Kaleidoscope Summer Showcase on September 13th from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM at the MAGNET CENTER, 2 Metrotech Center, 8th Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201.

http://kaleidovr.com/event/2016-summer-showcase-nyc

Check us out at the New York City Media Lab on September 22nd from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Columbia University, Alfred Lerner Hall 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027.

http://www.summit.nycmedialab.org/

This past week, To Be With Hamlet also received an exciting amount of attention from the press:

The project was profiled by Peter Feld of thereisonlyr.com, a New York City-based research and analytics firm with a deep focus on virtual reality. Check out the article here:

https://thereisonlyr.com/hamlet-takes-to-the-virtual-stage-bcd324272552#.js57bv8lj

Our lead actor Zachary Koval also gave a shout-out to To Be With Hamlet when he was profiled by NYC’s NEXT magazine.

For more about our project, check our website: hamletvr.org.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @ToBeWithHamlet

To contribute to this project's creation, donate here: http://hamletvr.org/donations

Anyone who donates more than fifty dollars will be entitled to a free studio visit! Anyone who donates more than five hundred dollars will be entitled to an hour long, one-on-one consultation on creating live theatre in VR.

 

Development Diary Five: Performing in a New Reality

Learn about Zachary Koval, the actor playing Prince Hamlet, and the challenges and breakthroughs he has encountered while performing in Social Virtual Reality!

This past week, our lab was visited by Bell Labs, Nokia, and NBC! Thanks for stopping by!

Since our previous 3D model of Zach was not to our standards, we will be rescanning Zach in the coming week. As of this week, Hamlet also now has 3D clothing to wear.

Now that we have established that our base concept and technology works, we are deciding on the direction we want to take this experience. As such, we are recreating many of our assets so that they will be of one theme.

For more about our project, check our website: hamletvr.org.

To contribute to this project's creation, donate here: http://hamletvr.org/donations

Anyone who donates more than fifty dollars will be entitled to a free studio visit!