May 11

A Young Talent Emerges With Award Winning 360° Experience Parched

A young couple’s world is coming to an end. When their car breaks down on a small desert road, they opt to walk across a dry lakebed to the last city they passed through. As their phone batteries drain of life, they capture a sliver of reception to send out a call for help, before much larger trouble catches up to them in this effecting new 360° experience now available on Wevr transport.

We believe that whatever VR evolves into in the coming years, it will be determined by the young artists and storytellers who are starting to explore the medium at this pivotal juncture. For this reason that we are intent on encouraging and supporting emerging creators of all ages and backgrounds as they push the immersive form forward.

Last year a Brown University student named Adam Hersko approached Wevr founder Anthony Batt at the Sundance Film Festival. Adam was, and still is, studying cognitive science with a focus in visual perception and art at the Ivy League school. He explains says he was at Sundance that day because he was intrigued by the potential of VR. The conversation eventually resulted in a summer internship at Wevr. 

“When I was at Wevr, Anthony Batt and Luis Blackaller encouraged me to use the Jump camera,” Adam says. “Then Anthony said that if I wanted to make something he would give me the funding. The only caveat was that I used the Jump.

Wevr creative director Luis Blackaller explains, “Adam didn’t have a practical background in VR when he came in, so we immediately got him working on real-world projects, shooting, editing, and talking about the opportunities and challenges of VR and 360 video as a medium. Every Friday we had a creative session where we talked about ideas, not just their viability as good narrative VR, but also their potential to get the best execution using our in-house equipment and support. We wanted him to explore the Jump Odyssey system we got from Google, so Adam would spend weekends testing, researching and reviewing his ideas and he eventually he came up with Parched which we think is perfect.”

“I kind of worked backwards,”  Adam says, “Figuring out what the camera was capable of and then writing down all the different types of shots I could do. From there I went to this repository of ideas I had. And one thing I had thought of earlier that summer was about a young couple traveling on vacation and, while they are isolated, they notice a meteor shower that begins to rain through the sky and starts to consume their entire view. It eventually turned from meteors into what it is now.”

The resulting experience, Parched, features Adam directing as well as acting alongside actors Emily Adams and Dianne Zankich, and tells an intensely dramatic story in 360° using a grand total of five shots.  It recently won “Best 360° Film” at the NFFTY Festival, the world’s largest film festival for emerging filmmakers under 24.

We think Parched is an achievement for a creator of any age, let alone one still attending college.  And we are convinced Adam is a natural and gifted storyteller with an ever increasing skill set. We can not wait to see what he does next, be it in VR or elsewhere.

“The opportunity to work at Wevr those summer months was a form of validation that inspired me to keep exploring,” Adam says.  “Right now most of my work at school is between cognitive neuroscience and extracurricular film projects, but I don’t want to stop making VR because I’m curious about what is possible. I recently learned how to 3-D model, shade and animate, and I really want to explore what computer generated experiences I can create.”

Watch Parched on Transport here.