VALRAVEN: A BLEAK NORDIC VR FOLKTALE

VALRAVEN STORYBOARD: ACT 1

“According to Danish folklore recorded in the late 1800’s, when a king or chieftain was killed in battle and not found and buried, ravens came and ate him. The ravens became valravne. The valravne that ate the king’s heart gained human knowledge and could perform great malicious acts, could lead people astray, had superhuman powers, and were “terrible animals”

Wikipedia

WHAT?

 

Valraven is an interactive virtual reality story where you as an observer is transported into the world of old Nordic folktales to be a part of a heartfelt and emotional story in an atmospheric world of old. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with catastrophe after catastrophe, terrorist attacks, global warming, famine, disease and death on a daily basis – unfiltered showed into our conscience by the media that surrounds us, in an attempt to fight for our ever fragmented attention.

We as human sentient beings have from nature and evolution’s side been equipped with a set of tools to help us filter the world that surrounds us, to deal with trauma and violence. To compartmentalise, to help us digest and cope with these external reactions.

We have over the last decade gone from images of starving children in Africa, that would appeal to our conscience and make us emphatically donate our money to help people half a globe away to compassion fatigued people fragments who can only deal with the world around us by swiping past one disaster and disaster after another on our Tv channel or Facebook feed. I wonder why is this?

The world we created around us have not changed dramatically over the last 10 years, only the way we are now presented with an increasingly unfiltered world has changed. Compassion fatigue (Secondary traumatic stress) is normally something that that nurses, police officers, ambulance crew could experience over time and without tools to help them

“Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (sts), is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. it is common among individuals that work directly with trauma victims such as, therapists (paid and unpaid), nurses, teachers, psychologists, police officers, first responders, animal welfare workers, health unit coordinators and anyone who helps out others, especially family members, relatives, and other informal caregivers of patients suffering from a chronic illness. it was first diagnosed in nurses in the 1950’s”
Wikipedia

WHY VR?

I wonder if we are moving into the first stages where normal functional people in the western world is starting to move into a STS like mental state. The first stages in developing empathy fatigue. It is my believe that in order to combat this possible increasing empathy fatigue we have come to face on a human scale, we must return to the old stories.

We live in a time where the world we surrounds us with, is increasingly fighting for the attention of our consciousness using evermore hard hitting ways. Real unfiltered violence and emotional stress in media has become ever popular tools to sell everything from perfume to newspapers, to Tv shows and news channels. The increase is an ever rising exponential curve, but where does the human mind break under the pressures? Where do we lose our capacity to feel? In the old Folk tales like the Nordic folktales or the old Greek mythologies – the listener identifies with the main protagonist no matter if the main character is male, female, a King, a bandit, a child, adult, animal or other and experiences the hardship, the emotions, the hero’s journey through another character, and through a filter. This enables the storyteller to instill in-direct morals and lessons to be learned.

Myths and folk tales are an ancient legacy: the legacy of many millennia of human interaction with the land which gives us life, and with the non-human others who occupy it with us. These stories implant themselves so deeply in our hearts, and remain there, in good part because they are redolent with archetypes – images that bridge the personal and the universal. Archetypes are like keys, unlocking an ancient, deep, magical wisdom which we may never have known we had. But in the vehicle of a story, archetypes become more than mere images: they become energies, embedded with instructions which guide us through the complexities of life and show us what we may become – or how we may participate in the becoming of the world. They have the power, as mythologist Joseph Campbell put it, ‘to carry the human spirit forward’


folklore thursday

HOW?

The overall idea behind Valraven is to tell a coherent story over a series of tableau scenes that unfolds before the observer and where the observer can choose witch viewing angle and character to see the story from. You might choose to see the story from the angle of the woman forced to marry a heartless troll, or from the angle of the Valraven who hungers for a human form. It is up to the observer to chose who to follow or maybe take the more neutral view where both characters play out their role in front of you.

Valraven is an atmospheric story based on an Danish story from the 1800 but originally based on an much older story dating back to the Viking era.

VIRTUAL PUPPETS

Valraven is using an unique approach to motion capture in order to bring the characters to life. We will capture the animation of real life rod-puppets manipulated by a team of accomplished puppeteers. The motion is then brought into Unreal Engine where the characters are rendered in real time and the scene is build around the characters.

The environments are atmospheric sets and tableau’s build to support the story as fog rolls in through the bleak forest and Ravens feathers fall violently from the the vortex of Ravens swirling around the corps of the a dead King. A series of stylised environments where the observer are invited to indulge in the environment and the story.

MUSIC & ACTION

The main story line is told through music and the lyrics of the songs together with the expressive and engaging motion of the digital puppets. There is no voice over or traditional dialogue as It is my idea that the emphasis is very much on the user’s own interpretation of the characters via the music, animation and action

Résumé

MIKAEL JAEGER JENSEN

ART DIRECTOR & STORYTELLER

“Under Mikael Jaeger Jensen’s visual direction, dancers can change in size and vanish, fires can encompass a stage, cities can be constructed and destroyed before your eyes. In that sense, you are briefly filled with the awe and wonder experienced by the earliest cinema audiences”

John Lewis

The Guardian

SUMMERY

A committed, creative and artistic individual with proven track record working with a wide range of creative and technical roles – from Hollywood Vfx heavy blockbusters such as Gravity and Avatar among others, to the world’s first holographic feature length production and across to engaging storytelling within Virtual reality. An Art director with a strong style and vision and with a passion and desire to deliver an engaging and truly heartfelt end-product through Virtual reality, Film, Holographic performances and Art.

SKILLS

Art Directing
Storytelling
Storyboarding
3D VR Expiriences
Creative problem solving
Film shoot mangement and direction
Crew management
Technical problem solving
Highly technical literate
Leading cross-functional team collaboration
VR filmmaking

Video editing
Motion Capture

SOFTWARE

  • Adobe Creative Collection (Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Illustrator, Indesign) 95%
  • Nuke Studio 70%
  • Autodesk Maya 50%
  • Unreal Engine 4.xx 60%
  • Unity 3D 50%
  • Shotgun VFX production mangement software 80%

FREELANCE EXPIRIENCE

ART DIRECTOR 
DECEMBER 2016 – ONGOING  / 
PANDORA VR EXPERIENCE / VIRSABI  VR 

 

Designing the flagship in-store VR experience from physical installation and design to an engaging virtual journey. A 3 minutes VR experience that takes the observer though a fascinating and different brand experience leaving the observer with a sense of awe, thrill and wonder towards the Pandora brand and an impact on the observer’s past and possible future.   

 

ART DIRECTOR
JANUARY 2017 – ONGOING  / KUMPAN VR EXPERIENCE / VIRSABI  VR 

Art direction for a VR experience for the world leading company within contemporary playground – Kumpan. A fully interactive virtual showroom where the user can playfully experience entire playgrounds and where they can interact, play and learn themselves to a better understanding the quality of Kumpan’s catalogue.


ART DIRECTOR

APRIL 2016 – 
ONGOING  / 12th BATTALION PRODUCTIONS  

 Defining the art direction of 12th Battalion Productions. Creating a line of holographic content ranging from small holographic boxes for use in museums, windows displays, education and interactive experiences to truly epic holographic projection experiences for large scale stadium events and theatrical performances. From multi layered holographic projection to simple evocative branding.

 

VISUAL DIRECTOR & ART DIRECTOR
AUGUST 2015 – APRIL 2016 / 
SYMPHONY TO A LOST GENERATION  / 12th BATTALION PRODUCTIONS

Pivotal role in defining, leading, innovating and executing the entire project from incubation till finished project across all stages of 12th Battalions productions – Symphony To a Lost Generation: The World’s first feature length holographic symphony.

A multi projection, 127.500 frames, 85 minutes long story told through 5 movements solely through the use of visual effects, symphonic music, ballet dancers and an astonishing 250 actors and musicians with a team of 5 vfx artists.

 

 

 

 

PERSONAL VR PROJECTS

VALRAVEN /  PRE PRODUCTION / ONGOING 

A Bleak Nordic VR FolkTale. A VR experience using a unique method of motion capturing real puppet and a unique art style in order to tell an engaging and truly emotional old style folk tale through the use of Unreal Engine. A study in creating a mordern version of old world folk tales. A bleak VR journey though the human condition where the observer is presented with a rich vistual style and a emotional story of human vanity, animalistic tendencies and desires and the age old urge for un-dying love. 

 

MACBETH / ON HOLD 

A study in creating compelling VR 360 video storytelling through an abridged version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. A meditation on VR filmmaking and the language needed to create engaging VR 360 video content in order to gain a better understand the limitations and strengths of VR 360 filmmaking.

 

HUMANITY / PRE PRODUCTION / ONGOING  

A VR Vfx experience and contemporary dance project. How do we re-calm our fatigued minds and instill empathy back into our humanity. A emotional experience meditating on a journey of our fellow man though displacement, war and environmental disasters. A study in the power that VR has to communicate to our conscious and subconscious through images and and sound.

 

FURTHER EXPIRIENCES

 

FREELANCE DIRECTOR / DOP / VIDEO EDITOR
2013 – 2016
Forming my own freelance business as a one man band directing, filming and editing in order to facilitate my own need of being in charge of the creative process and to learn hands-on what it means to direct, film and edit within smaller projects. Worked within the 3 spheres with a list of clients ranging from fashion, music videos, short film and website adverts.

 

FRAMESTORE
2010 – 2012 / HEAD OF DIGITAL ACQUISITION

Having identified an urgent need for Framestore having its own digital quisition department, headed up a 2 man department to run a photographic studio, photogrammetry capture and elements shooting facility to accommodate Framestore growing on-set presence. Quickly becoming a sort after department gathering textures, models, elements and more on Gravity, 47 Ronin, Clash of the Titans 2, Sherlock Holmes, War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and more. Other duties involved running the asset library and equipment facility.

FRAMESTORE
2010 – 2012 / VFX COORDINATOR
Scheduling, prioritizing and tracking internal technical assignments and project details for the 2D/Compositing department on AVATAR and CLASH OF THE TITANS. Coordinating the delivery and daily sending of assets between Framestore and Client. Running the daily showing of Avatar stereoscopic dailies in the cinema and coordinating the notes from the supervisors to the relevant artists. Setting up and running of the daily video conference call between framestore and James Cameron’s production team.

FRAMESTORE
2007 – 2009 / DATA OPERATOR

Coordinating with production to balance priorities and allocate bandwidth appropriately, dynamically adjusting our transfers to ensure timely delivery of assets. They provide the production team with ETA’s and status reports at regular intervals. Handling and distributing raw film files on drives, ftp, digital scans to the production including renaming and renumbering.

FRAMESTORE
2005 – 2007 / RENDER WRANGLER

Daily supervising of Framestore’s in house render farm consisting of 7500 + cpu render farm. Troubleshooting any issues with the renders and technical problems with the hardware. Liaising with the productions teams on a daily basis in order to prioritise and schedule the render bandwidth across the company

JIM HENSON’S CREATURE SHOP
2005 – 2007 / IT ASSISTANT / RENDER WRANGLER / ASSISTANT PUPPETEER

Jim Henson’s Creature shop – IT Assistant / Render Wrangler
Supervising the render farm on a daily basis and troubleshooting any issues with the renders, liaising with the artists and acting as an on call IT assistant in order to assist the small team in any day to day IT problems from servers to workstations.