BEHIND THE SCENES: Deep Dive – pre-production

The VR/AR Lab is an innovative initiative that, as part of the Visual Narratives Lab program, enables artists to cross boundaries in the realm of audiovisual language and thus contribute to the creation of original qualities in the field of new media. Deep Dive is an experimental experience at the crossroads of cinema fiction and immersive solutions inherent in virtual reality.

The aim of the project was to create a work that combines narration derived from feature cinema with the unique feature of virtual reality – the illusion of existence inside the world of fiction. Director Miłosz Hermanowicz decided to verify his own concepts of narrative fiction against the VR experience. Together with screenwriter Marcin Grembowicz they created a story that assumed the presence of the future viewer at the side of the heroines. For this reason, physical surroundings and specific locations gained colossal importance. The director together with the second director, Artur Marchlewski, spent a lot of time documenting the so-called wild side of the Vistula River in Warsaw in search of the best spaces for shooting.

In parallel to the conceptual work, with the help of producer Joanna Banach, a casting call was organized, in which two actresses – Helena Gandjalyan and Magdalena Kuta – were selected to play the main characters. In collaboration with Yann Seweryn, a moodbook of the experience was also created. Then, the director and choreographer Eliza Rudzinska made progress on the concept of camera staging – the position of the future viewer. Miłosz Hermanowicz – the originator of the project – created the idea of describing these assumptions in order to communicate with the production team under the form of a document called Presence List.

Progress on these elements (script, locations, moodbook, Presence List, actresses) were discussed and clarified at subsequent conventions organized by the VR/AR Studio.

Joanna Banach proceeded to organize a 3-day shooting schedule. She hired, among others, a make-up artist and a costume designer, with whom the look of the characters was refined. The biggest challenge for the whole team was the proper organization of the transport from one location to another, because the realization of each sequence required constant power supply.

In order for the director’s idea to be fully realized, qualities different from those characteristic of cinema or theater had to be extracted from the concept.