#415: “Pearl” is an Emotionally Powerful Story about Selfless Service

patrick-osbornePeople were waiting in lines for over an hour to see Pearl both at SIGGRAPH and VRLA, which is one of the best narrative VR experiences that I’ve seen so far. The central character in the story is a car named “Pearl” who gives selfless service to her father and daughter musician owners. The experience traces Pearl’s selfless service spanning a wide range of emotional memories doing mundane chores, road trip adventures, and key turning points in their lives. It takes inspiration from Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, and it proved to be a powerful, moving, and emotional experience for many people watching it was SIGGRAPH and VRLA.

Pearl was directed by Patrick Osborne, who won an Academy Award for Disney’s animated short film Feast. It was produced as a part of Google’s Spotlight Stories using their custom VR animation software codenamed Moxie that’s being developed within Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (aka ATAP).

I had a chance to talk with Patrick Osborne at SIGGRAPH, where they premiered the interactive version of Pearl showing on the Vive. It originally premiered as a 360-video at Tribeca Film Festival, and was eventually released on YouTube during Google I/O. I have a chance to talk to Patrick about pacing and editing in VR, making a folk music video in VR, and the inspiration for the story.


You can watch Pearl on YouTube now, and I’d recommend waiting for whenever the more interactive version is released on the Vive.

The YouTube channel for Google’s Spotlight Stories has their previous 360 video experiments, and they’re releasing some introductory videos including how to watch a 360 video on a phone without even using a VR headset.

In fact, I’d say that their latest Buggy Night release serves as a training video designed to help people learn how to watch 360 videos primarily on a mobile phone.

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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip