SIGHT with Eran May-Raz

Here at JBTV we had the opportunity to e-interview Eran May-Raz, director of the Vimeo sensation SIGHT. The short film is a cautionary tale about an augmented future, were all menial tasks become games and trivial actions quantified and tallied up as points.  The film is Eran May-Raz and Daniel Lazo’s thesis project from Bezalel Academy of the Arts in Israel.

It has been said there are three types of science fiction: Utopian (everything gets better), Distopian (everything gets worse), and Cyberpunk (everything stays the same).  For instance, let us use the automobile as an example of a theoretical technological innovation imagined by science-fiction writers of the past.  A utopian might imagine a world were cars unify countries making distances and borders irrelevant; where the car almost becomes an extension of the human body keeping the individuals safe within his new aluminum cage.  A distopian could write about a world destroyed by pollution and human interaction becomes a thing of the past.  Lastly, an author of the cyberpunk genre might hear about an automobile and imagine a drive-in movie theatre.  Basically people integrating the new technology to their old routines.

Right now we might be in a similar stage trying to understand what augmented reality  means for the future.  On the distopia end of the spectrum we have Domestic Robocop and on the utopian we have One day… now we might finally have something that sits comfortably in the middle.

JBTV –  A lot of people out there are saying it reminds them of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.  Would you say that was one of your inspirations?

Eran – Both Daniel and I love video games and when we started working on the project we knew one thing – we wanted to make something with augmented reality and video games. We presented the script to Bezalel (our academy) about 2-3 days before the Google Glass video came out. It was really funny and kinda gave us the feeling that we’re on the right track. We only heard about Black Mirror when we started shooting and of course we loved it.  But most of our inspiration came from video games and movies such as Iron Man, Matrix and others.

JBTV - The video ends on a bit of a dark note. What is your personal opinion on Augmented Reality?

Eran – We love augmented reality! We believe it’s the future. But of course that along the amazing things that this kind of technology offers, we also wanted to show the downside of it and to make the audience think for themselves whatever it’s good or bad.

JBTV – Could you tell us a little about the production?

Eran – We shot the film with Canon 5D mark II and did all the editing and special FX in Adobe’s Premiere and After Effects. The production was small and simple – two main locations and two actors. The dating scene was shot in the cafeteria of the Israel National Museum and Patrick’s place is actually an office at the Bezalel Academy.  We found Ori Golad (Patrick) through an actor agency and Deborah Aroshas (Daphne) through a friend of a friend. The whole project took us about 3 months. We didn’t have any particular problems with the production and I think it’s becuase we kept it small and simple.

JBTV -  How much preparations where made for post-production effects?

Eran- We used some tracking markers but mostly we shot the frame without ones. We did some tests before the real shooting and came to realize that there was no need for markers if you keep your camera steady and know how to work with After Effects properly. 

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Edit: This video features the work an artist we previously interviewed: Petros Vrellis.  If you spot the interactive Starry Night you unlock an achievement for your virtual trophy case.