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Venecia 2022 – Venice Production Bridge

Informe de industria: Realidad virtual

Los expertos hablan sobre el impacto medioambiental del contenido inmersivo en el Venice Production Bridge

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VENECIA 2022: Los participantes destacaron la importancia de implementar rápidamente prácticas ecológicas, como la instalación de paneles reutilizables

Los expertos hablan sobre el impacto medioambiental del contenido inmersivo en el Venice Production Bridge
Amaury La Burthe, director creativo y director general de Novelab, y Landia Egal, fundadora de Tiny Planets, durante el debate

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

On 2 September, the Spazio Incontri Immersivo hosted an event titled “The Environmental Impacts of Immersive Content: A Carbon Footprint Report for Okawari (2022) and Umami (2018)” as part of this year’s Venice Production Bridge at the Venice Film Festival. The panel saw the participation of Landia Egal, founder of Tiny Planets, and Amaury La Burthe, CEO and creative director of Novelab. Marie-Véronique Gauduchon, an environmental impacts engineer at Coopérative Carbone, joined the discussion virtually.

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In the first part of the talk, Egal and La Burthe summarised the effects that climate change and pollution are having on our ecosystem, including sea-level and temperature rises, as well as the urgency of pursuing the objectives established by the Paris Agreement. There are still two key actions that require attention – namely, to reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks.

Next, the speakers introduced two of their recent VR works, Okawari (2022) and Umami (2018). The former is both an immersive experience and a research project that aims to assess – and to reduce – the overall environmental impacts associated with the design, creation, production and distribution of a virtual-reality experience. The latter was a real-time animated VR experience immersing the user in the story of a man rediscovering his memories through a series of Japanese dishes, beverages and tastes.

In her contribution, Gauduchon explained how emissions are calculated, commenting on a graph showing that over two-thirds of these are produced by the coal, gas and oil burnt by our factories, cars and homes. In the specific case of the two projects, the emission calculations focused on the production and distribution phases. Aspects that should be monitored and assessed include energy consumption in offices and at home, the manufacturing of computers and other digital devices used for production, commutes and business trips, journeys to Venice and the installations present at the festival.

The calculations made following the production of Umami show that over two-thirds of the carbon footprint was linked to festivalgoers’ travelling and less than one-quarter to the transportation of the team during production. Smaller impacts were attributable to ICT, office supplies, catering activities, installations and other minor expenses.

After working on Umami, the first step taken in order to present Okawari at Venice in a more eco-friendly fashion has been to reduce the carbon footprint by discouraging air travel and travelling by train where possible. The carbon footprint linked to the walls of the installation, in addition, has been reduced by 87%, as the disposable plasterboard placed over an area of 129 m2 in 2018 (which produced 1,088 kgCO2e) has been replaced with reusable panels of the same size (which were reused five times, thus emitting only 140 kgCO2e).

Later, La Burthe highlighted how important it is to raise questions and awareness around these topics, in the hope that this can trigger a virtuous circle among industry members.

In the last part of the talk, the three speakers touched upon two topics: the future of film festivals and large industry gatherings in a low-carbon world, and the possible strategies to pursue for an eco-friendly form of online distribution. Egal and La Burthe agreed that, among the largest festivals, there is a model based on increasing the offering with great line-ups and famous artists, attracting as many people as possible from all over the world, a goal which is difficult – if not impossible – to pursue if we are aiming to lower our carbon footprint. They mentioned some ideas that were under discussion for Venice and other events, including that of organising small runs of certain festival titles in select local cinemas, but the debate on implementing these measures and gaining the approval of producers and rightsholders is still at an early stage. On the topic of distribution, they said that they are keeping an eye on the work being carried out by some companies in the gaming sector, since many tech giants such as Amazon “are not so transparent when it comes to assessing their environmental impact”. Above all, the main focus areas are data exchange, download activities and home devices.

The panel was brought to a close by a Q&A session.

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