“The Carrier” is the harrowing tale of a family fleeing an unseen danger, as experienced through the eyes of a baby strapped into the back seat of the family car. FIVARS had a chance to speak with director Andrew Cochrane.
What lead to the creation of this piece?
Initially, it was a simple idea – tell different “day one” stories about a zombie outbreak, the final moments of different people experiencing an apocalyptic event. The idea of a baby in the back seat of a car seemed especially horrifying, so I pulled on that thread.
As the story developed it became clear that there was an opportunity to tell a different story, and to focus on the family and not on zombies. Slowly it turned into a cautionary tale about choices when responding to danger – a theme that I have always wanted to explore.
What was the production process for you and your team? What did you learn?
This film took an incredible amount of R&D, it was filmed before the pandemic, and the state of stereo 180º video was very primitive. There were only a few cameras on the market with lenses close together enough to capture human-scale stereo, and the tools for post-production were almost non-existent.
Filming this kind of narrative was also a grand experiment for everyone, especially Karolina and Nick the actors. The pace of the day was unexpected – we rehearsed a lot and filmed many full takes of each scene, but then once we got a good run all the way through we moved on to the next scene – there was no coverage to shoot, it was all one long take from a single camera position.
How did you become an immersive media content creator and why?
I’ve always worked in some kind of live or experiential format, even if just for fun. I prefer the direct engagement of immersive and interactive experiences; they are more inclusive and I believe they have a greater capacity for connecting with an audience.
I was very active in the VR video space when it blew up almost 10 years ago, making some of the very first narrative experiences. I believe in the power of the XR medium, it has massive untapped potential, and I am committed to continuing to explore it however I can.
What is the VR/AR industry like in your region?
Unfortunately, there is very little VR anymore outside of games, but mobile AR is still kicking. I have a lot of hope looking forward, but we definitely need a group effort to reinvest in the content side.
What do you have planned for the future?
I’m working on a few VR projects using NeRFs and other volumetric technologies, and am currently completing some anime films using 2D assets generated using AI. I am also working on several physical immersive projects that will combine immersive theater and open-world narratives in real-world locations.
What would you like to share with fellow content creators and/or the industry?
We need to light a fire under the XR industry to re-focus on making compelling experiences, the focus is too much on demonstrating the potential of the technology – it’s time to make experiences that mass audiences want.
Do you think VR festivals like FIVARS are important?
Critical. The platforms for narrative VR experiences have shrunk so much that it has become almost impossible to reach anyone with a VR experience that is not a demo or a game. I am so incredibly happy and honored that we are a part of FIVARS 2023.
FIVARS 2023 runs in person September 15-19th in Toronto and online through October 3rd.