BEHIND THE SCENES: Nightsss/Noccc – motion capture rehearsals

VR Nightsss/Noccc is a several minutes long artistic animation, which sublimates the properties of erotic poetry into the structure of virtual reality. The original work of a female duo – Weronika Lewandowska and Sandra Frydrysiak – created within the scope of activities of the VR/AR Workshop, expects its world premiere on 29 JANUARY at the international festival of independent film productions – Sundance Film Festival.

Work on the Nightsss/Noccc project began in 2019. Since then, the team has participated in numerous sessions – regular meetings organized by the VR/AR Studio, during which the male and female filmmakers consulted their visions with the Studio’s Management – Pola Borkiewicz, Jacek Naglowski and the audiovisual arts specialists they invited. The performers were also accompanied by a PhD in film studies from the University of ?ód? and the head of the Film Education Department at the National Film Culture Center – Micha? Pabi?-Orzeszyna. In the VR/AR Studio he is responsible for conducting qualitative interviews with the project teams, thus realizing one of the methods of the complex research process that runs parallel to the experiments.

The following materials present activities on a key element of the Nightsss/Noccc experience – motion capture. S?awosz Tejkowski and Roman Savchenko were responsible for translating the dancer’s posture and movements into virtual space. Rehearsals took place in the television hall courtesy of the L. Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in ?ód?.

Nightsss team during motion capture rehearsals / photo: Magdalena Wo?owska
First attempts to capture real movement / photo by Magdalena Wo?owska
S?awosz Tejkowski and Roman Savchenko during their work on the actual shot of the dancer / photo: Magdalena Wo?owska
Directors Weronika Lewandowska and Sandra Frydrysiak coordinating the work / photo by Magdalena Wo?owska
A harness securing a dancer while performing a choreography / photo: Magdalena Wo?owska

BEHIND THE SCENES: Nightsss/Noccc – production/post-production

During the pre-production stage, the winners of the competition take part in regular sessions organized by the VR/AR Studio Management. During this time, the artists verify their visions and, based on the suggestions of experts in new media and audiovisual arts, clarify the necessary technical needs. The next stage – production – is the time when the artists realize their projects. In the case of Nightsss/Noccc, production activities took place parallel to post-production work – the final stage of creating an audiovisual work.

The realization of the Nightsss/Noccc experience was accompanied by constant rehearsals. The directors Weronika Lewandowska and Sandra Frydrysiak used the space of L. Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in ?ód? (TV hall) for the purpose of testing kinect equipment recording the dancer’s figure and movements. The effect, in the form of an anthropomorphic avatar, was embedded in prepared assets (ready-made elements of the virtual world presented) and the visual environment. The process of animation followed along with the correction of assets and expansion of the virtual space.

In the next phase, interactions were added and a visual representation of the imersant’s hands was introduced into the environment. The interaction mechanism for sound was also tested during these activities, and when the presented world took on clear structures work on sound design began. The final phase of the project included the preparation of menus, opening and closing credits.

Creating a visual environment for the experience Nightsss/Noccc
Creating textures for the experience Nightsss/Noccc
Creating assets for the experience Nightsss/Noccc
Embedding the avatar in the visual environment of the experience Nightsss/Noccc
The creators of the Nightsss/Noccc experience together with VR/AR Studio managers Pola Borkiewicz and Jacek Nag?owski during postproduction

BEHIND THE SCENES: Nightsss/Noccc – pre-production

The VR/AR Studio’s competition application offers future creators two possibilities to realize the experience – 3DoF (Degrees of Freedom) and 6DoF. The former allows you to move around your own axis, while the latter allows you to make specific movements in space. Making this choice is the first step towards proper structuring of the scenario.

The Nightsss/Noccc project is, according to the directors (Weronika Lewandowska, Sandra Frydrysiak), an interactive dialogue between the imersant and the work, in which the former explores his sensitivity parallel to the exploration of his surroundings. The artists found it fundamental to think of the imersant as an “actor” playing his “part”.

What the immersed person feels at any given moment, what movements they can make and what interactions they choose, and what kind of internal dialogue they can have in response to objects and spatial events – this kind of dialogue was introduced by the authors and became an important starting point for the development of the scenario and the work on virtual reality. Other important elements around which the script was developed included the embodiment of the imersant in the virtual world – the hands, their apparent and actual causality, as well as the visual and audio interaction with the environment, the movement and transformation of the character and its relation to the poem.

Work on the movement element also began at the script stage, and motion capture rehearsals and tests influenced its final shape. A 360° camera recording of the choreography was created during this time. It turned out to be a key visual reference in production and post-production, as I know this recording allowed for creative modifications of the choreography in virtual reality.

A fragment of the moodboard of the prototype version of the Nightsss/Noccc project
A fragment of the moodboard of the prototype version of the Nightsss/Noccc project
A fragment of the moodboard of the prototype version of the Nightsss/Noccc project
A fragment of the moodboard of the prototype version of the Nightsss/Noccc project
A fragment of the moodboard of the prototype version of the Nightsss/Noccc project

BEHIND THE SCENES: Deep Dive – production

The production of an experience realized through the use of virtual reality technology functions on the principles of production stages, appropriate for the realization of a classic film work. However, the properties of VR force the filmmakers to use non-trivial artistic solutions.

Three days spent in the mud and bushes on the banks of the Vistula River acquired a taste for adventure. Thanks to their commitment and passion, the team succeeded in their plan. The production was fully realized in the open air, so the weather conditions were crucial for recording the individual sequences in natural light. Working in this mode was a huge challenge, especially for an experience like this where the atmosphere of the location plays such a big role.

Time and budget conditions forced the crew to cancel two out of three planned shots in motion. For the same reason, on the last day of shooting, director Mi?osz Hermanowicz was forced to quickly change the staging of one scene, which had a great impact on testing all the narrative possibilities.

The physicality of the set (mud, bushes, no possibility to use vehicles), the difficulty of using power supply (limited to batteries and powerbanks), the uncertain weather conditions, all contributed to generating an appropriate world presented, creating great predispositions for an immersive experience. Production was the most intensive period, but also the shortest period of the entire project.

Deep Dive team complete
Helena Gandjalyan (Magda) during shooting
The Deep Dive experience was fully recorded with the Insta 360 Titan camera
Yann Ciennik during sound recording on set
Director Mi?osz Hermanowicz with cinematographer Yann Seweryn. In the background actresses Magdalena Kuta (Magda's mother) and Helena Gandjalyan (Magda) with Artur Marchlewski – second director
Magdalena Kuta (Magda's mother) during shooting
The developers spent a tremendous amount of time adjusting to the outdoors
Mi?osz Hermanowicz and Helena Gandjalyan during the consultation

BEHIND THE SCENES: Deep Dive – post-production

Postproduction of VR experience, despite its small differences in relation to the final work on the classic film work, is much more demanding in terms of selecting the appropriate tools for the final treatment of the material. Productions created in virtual reality technique enforce the implementation of advanced methods, structuring individual elements into a complete work.

In its general assumptions, post-production is similar to classical film post-production. The size and weight of files recorded on the Insta Titan camera required much more disk space than in the case of a cinema production of similar size. Of all the operations involving this stage, the editing itself was the fastest. There were few changes in relation to the planned workflow.

The challenge was the rhythmization of each shot – the appropriate length of the shots was a condition for the proper reception of the work. The complexity of the presented world had a great impact on the length of the stitching process – a specific combination of images in the experience of virtual reality. The balanced musical composition was intended to emphasize the qualities of the story itself. During the sound post-production it was necessary to use post-synchrones – the audio part of the experience needed to be cleared of urban noise.

The cinematographer, together with director Mi?osz Hermanowicz, originally intended to make the image colouristically unreal while working on the final edit. However, the specific sequences introduced a sufficient sense of fictionality and the process did not require far-reaching changes. On the other hand, the lack of color standardization for VR goggle screens proved to be heavily impacted. The final image was calibrated image for the Oculus Quest 1 goggles.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Deep Dive – pre-production

The VR/AR Lab is an innovative initiative that, as part of the Visual Narratives Lab program, enables artists to cross boundaries in the realm of audiovisual language and thus contribute to the creation of original qualities in the field of new media. Deep Dive is an experimental experience at the crossroads of cinema fiction and immersive solutions inherent in virtual reality.

The aim of the project was to create a work that combines narration derived from feature cinema with the unique feature of virtual reality – the illusion of existence inside the world of fiction. Director Mi?osz Hermanowicz decided to verify his own concepts of narrative fiction against the VR experience. Together with screenwriter Marcin Grembowicz they created a story that assumed the presence of the future viewer at the side of the heroines. For this reason, physical surroundings and specific locations gained colossal importance. The director together with the second director, Artur Marchlewski, spent a lot of time documenting the so-called wild side of the Vistula River in Warsaw in search of the best spaces for shooting.

In parallel to the conceptual work, with the help of producer Joanna Banach, a casting call was organized, in which two actresses – Helena Gandjalyan and Magdalena Kuta – were selected to play the main characters. In collaboration with Yann Seweryn, a moodbook of the experience was also created. Then, the director and choreographer Eliza Rudzinska made progress on the concept of camera staging – the position of the future viewer. Mi?osz Hermanowicz – the originator of the project – created the idea of describing these assumptions in order to communicate with the production team under the form of a document called Presence List.

Progress on these elements (script, locations, moodbook, Presence List, actresses) were discussed and clarified at subsequent conventions organized by the VR/AR Studio.

Joanna Banach proceeded to organize a 3-day shooting schedule. She hired, among others, a make-up artist and a costume designer, with whom the look of the characters was refined. The biggest challenge for the whole team was the proper organization of the transport from one location to another, because the realization of each sequence required constant power supply.

In order for the director’s idea to be fully realized, qualities different from those characteristic of cinema or theater had to be extracted from the concept.

Results of vnLab competitions for 2020!

On December 6, 2019, the vnLab jury settled the competition for participation in the vnLab art and research program. We know that many of you have been waiting anxiously for the results. Indeed, in this, the first year of the lab’s operation, the process took an exceptionally long time. We wanted to appoint a competent, authoritative and open-minded Artistic Council, which we are convinced was successful. Its full composition can be found HERE. At this point we would like to thank all members of the Council for putting their trust in us and for participating in the jury’s deliberations. The level of entries was extremely high and as a jury we faced many difficult choices.

We congratulate all the contestants and look forward to working with the teams accepted to vnLab.

Thank you!

The vnLab team


  • Ksawery Kaliski – BLAST INVISIBLE RELATIONS (New narratives of contemporary and experimental music using virtual, augmented reality)
  • Patryk Jordanowicz – SELF
  • Krzysztof Grudzi?ski – The Dead City
  • Stankiewicz – Somebody About You


  • Anna Baumgart – Miczika
  • Monika Mas?o? – From My Point of View
  • Rafa? Ulicki – Photographer. Life in images
  • Wojciech Olchowski – Factor

Workshop of Interactive Narrations

  • Alicia Devaux – On the influence of gender in the career of female cinematographers
  • Laura Pawela – Pink Horizon
  • RATS Collective – HOME
  • Micha? Siarek – Good News from the Farthest County in Norway
  • Pawe? Starzec – Makeshift
  • Tytus Szabelski – AMZN
  • Micha? Szota – experimental form

Due to a change in the studio’s program for 2019, two projects, Pawel Starzec’s Makeshift and Tytus Szabelski’s AMZN are already underway. Because of this, the studio has accepted a total of seven projects.

S3D Studio – Directing

  • Anita Kwiatkowska-Naqvi

S3D Studio – Stereography/II stage of the competition

The participants in the second stage of the competition are:

  • Mi?osz Hermanowicz
  • Zsolt Magyari

S3D Workshop – Screenplay

  • Tomasz Jeziorski