PILOT EPISODE & APP
Animated short film - Augmented Reality app - 2021
Directed by Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy
Short film Humanity's Impact explores the question:
'How many plastic bottles do we produce globally in real time?'
And the accompanying Augmented Reality app
invites users to interact with the data on a personal level.
Before we made the highly successful film Wasteminster for Greenpeace, we made the pilot film Humanity's Impact. With the film, we wanted to explore if we could make visible the incredible data related to humanity's impact on our planet, putting a picture to the numbers.
Both the animated series and the accompanying augmented reality app unleash impressive data simulations, visualizing the tremendous scale in which our consumer culture operates.
The project aims to create awareness and inspire action towards a more sustainable future.
Did you know that globally, we produce about 1 million plastic bottles per minute?
What does that number even look like? This is what you're about to find out in Humanity's Impact.
Set in a 1960s American suburb test site that is populated with plastic test dummies, the film unleashes 20,000 bottles per second that crash onto the unknowing cast of dummies. The bottles burst through the kitchen window, and engulf the family dog. The suburban paradise is quickly flooded, revealing the terrifying scale and rate at which we pollute our planet. Only 9% of the overwhelming pile of plastic bottles actually gets recycled, the rest is dumped or burnt, or ends up in landfills and our oceans.
Directors Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy of Studio Birthplace
“The film aims to create an eye-opening experience to bring a new level of awareness that a number or statistic alone could never achieve. Understanding humanity’s impact on our planet is the first step towards change.”
Directors Sil & Jorik gave the dummy characters overly cheerful expressions that are reminiscent of 1960's ads. After all, it is largely due to the advertising industry that we have accepted single-use plastics in our society as 'normal'.
Directors Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy
"We believe that comedy can be a powerful tool to help tell some of the saddest stories in our world. It can allow for an easy way in with the audience and make it easier to call out the ugly side of our consumer culture. We created mannequin-like dummies that not only represent us but that also put up a mirror to us. It is easier to make fun of a plastic dummy rather than a real human, after all, it's only a dummy."
The visual language of the film is a peaceful approach towards activism that is both educational and entertaining. By putting a picture to the numbers, the film brings to life the unimaginable that couldn't be seen otherwise.
Attached to the film is a Call To Action from Plastic Pollution Coalition. It encourages audiences to back a petition that tells our planet's biggest plastic bottles producer Coca-Cola that consumers DO NOT want their plastic bottles to pollute our planet.
Both Wasteminster and Humanity's Impact were made in collaboration with CG partners Method & Madness. CG Executive Producer Wenhao Tan and CG Director Alex Scollay used a bespoke data visualisation technology to create realistic physics of falling plastic using ‘Tyflow’ software.
The team built a custom virtual reality camera rig which allowed an Oculus Rift VR headset to be mounted to a professional camera mount. This allowed the directors to physically hand-operate a "real" camera which added realism to the fully digital set.
Wenhao Tan, Executive Producer of Method & Madness
“The biggest challenge in addressing the production brief for this film was to ensure we were able to transport viewers into the action so that they would leave feeling ‘humanity’s impact’ in a simple yet powerful way. We developed new ways of using CG technology (the method) that enabled us to bring the film to life in a non-clinical way, retaining the creativity of the campaign idea (the madness).”
Augmented Reality App
To be able to understand our own consumption behavior better, we partnered with interactive design studio Superposition to release the augmented reality app Humanity's Impact to help users relate to consumption-related data on an even more personal level. For example, users can drop 20,000 bottles into their own kitchen or bedroom, pledge to reduce their own plastic use, track their progress, take a photo with their data and share it on social media to motivate others to take part. The app is available for free right now on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
For the app, Superposition combined the latest advances in mobile GPU, CPU and sensor technologies with Unity’s physics engine to enable smooth physical interaction between thousands of 3D objects and the user’s actual environment. As development progressed the team discovered and included several playful features such as golden reward bottles, discoverable facts and figures, and an anti-gravity mode. Looking forward, the app is ready to offer interactive experiences for future episodes of the Humanity’s Impact series.
“Humanity’s Impact is a milestone in our exploration of possibilities for an emotive and expressive relationship with the digital world through technology, code and design. The app proves that augmented reality can be a tool for positive awareness by stimulating users to choose both the context and location for their interactions. We want to kickstart a future of augmented activism.”
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