After taking a wrong turn at the top of town, being redirected by helpful road workers and finally huffing up the last hill to Conical Studios in the company of its charming CEO, Alejandro Davila, there was no hiding my demographic.
As it turned out, I’m the perfect age to trial new augmented reality and virtual reality technology aimed at revolutionising the way children receive content: I’m a grandmother. And like many of my generation for whom the world seems to be moving too fast, I’m in danger of missing out on incredible shared experiences with my grandchildren if I fail to keep up with the changes.
Fortunately for all of us, the news is good – and getting better. Thanks to a bunch of wildly creative millennials, New Zealand is poised to be the first country in the world to come to grips with a pick-and-mix viewer experience delivering a very bold message.
After a quick introduction to the creative team of Conical Studios, I was given a clear circle of carpet to stand on while I donned the virtual reality (VR) headset and watched an interactive 3D introduction to The Green Fairy. Fortunately, it wasn’t my first time using virtual reality – a few years ago I’d been a guest of Brand USA and the American Embassy at a screening to mark the centenary of American National Parks.
On that occasion the hyper-real experience enabled the viewer to experience the highlights of each park in a similar way to a real-life user. As I soared above canyons, climbed sheer cliff faces and canoed through churning rapids, I admit to a touch of motion sickness. Initially I had to focus to get the nausea under control. I’ve since learnt that this isn’t an uncommon reaction.
For this reason, I was a little concerned that as I immersed myself in the world of virtual reality I might throw up on the carpet circle of which I had been given full ownership. I was pretty sure cleaning the Conical Studios carpet wasn’t anticipated as a side-effect of my occupation. I need not have worried. Apart from struggling to keep up with the green fairy as she fluttered around, over and behind me, there was no motion sickness as I moved around to follow her.