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July 01st, 2022 | by Mathieu Gayet

“GENESIS holds many firsts for us” - Maria and Jörg Courtial (Faber Courtial)

Founded by Maria & Jörg Courtial, the German production company Faber Courtial is one of the most prolific XR companies in Germany in the production of premium immersive content. After a double trip into space (1ST/2ND STEP) now available as a bundle on the stores, here they are retracing our very earthly origins with GENESIS - premiered at Venice XR Expanded, awarded at Stereopsia 2021 and currently in festivals (PiXii Festival and more).

Previous article about Faber Courtial: Faber Courtial is sending 1ST STEP and 2ND STEP.. INTO SPACE!

About GENESIS and starting an real-time production

Maria Courtial - GENESIS was born out of the Covid-19 crisis. It was a period during which we worked a lot, but also when we were able to take a step back from our productions. And we realised that we had produced many films related to the history of the Earth! From prehistory to the fauna and flora of the planet, there could be a common thread. The idea came to complete our approach by exploring the origin of all this, of the Earth and of humanity. Quite simply! We then had to figure out which eras to select. On some occasions we were lucky and could work with transfering already created models, but most parts of the film had to be created from scratch. . While continuing our other productions.

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M. C. - GENESIS holds many firsts for us.It's important to know that while working on GENESIS we decided to change our way of producing, by stopping 3ds Max for a real-time game engine: Unreal - Its quality has reached an extraordinary level and you are technically way more flexible, also in terms of output options, which is a clear benefit when considering distribution options. A large majority of the creative industries today work around virtual production with these softwares.

Jörg Courtial - We had used 3ds Max on our previous projects (GLADIATORS, 1ST STEP, 2ND STEP...) and each time it was very complex, very heavy and time consuming for the rendering. GENESIS was a good opportunity to take the plunge and test Unreal for premium production in 3DOF and 6DOF. As we switched the pipeline mid-project we had to ensure to deliver the exact same image style and aesthetics in the same level of high quality (which was certainly challenging but not impossible).

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Explore human history live!

M. C. - The objective is always to offer a quality experience to our spectators. With GENESIS, there is a real relationship between history and the passing of time as we travel through the whole of the earth’s history, even before the existence of humanity. From the earth’s early formation to the first animals, until today. We had the key scenes, the "bubbles" of time, our intentions but we had to find a link between all these ideas. The chronological aspect, with this stopwatch, seemed to us relevant to reinforce the immersion of the story.

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J. C. - GENESIS is above all about Time. We chose the analogy of a human day, 24 hours, to better indicate the passing of time and to help anchor the experience in the minds of the audience: . It is at midnight that humanity appears (complex life at 10:30 PM, dinosaurs at 11:00 PM, humans at 11:59 PM...). If we keep in mind that we arrived so late, it is also to remind us of our place in the universe. It's an intense feeling! No catastrophe has prevented us from living on the planet so far.

Imagining the distribution of GENESIS

J. C. - One important element for us was to be able to address a broader and diverse audience, as for example in education, in schools. If this can generate discussions, fuel points of view, we will have succeeded. This subject is particularly important to understand our place in this great historical and temporal whole. And it is a way of course to find a real audience.

M. C. - The challenge with the online distribution as an app, is that you have to take an inconvenient side path, like for example via Meta’s App Lab , which is not the best way to access the audience. So this time we will probably pursue different online distribution opportunities and we are also in negotiations with Pico. Next to online there is also the huge area of offline distribution awaiting, which we are currently pursuing. To start we were and are happy to have the support of events like Venice, Stereopsia, SXSW, Cannes XR or PiXii Festival (France) to create an awareness for GENESIS Yet as the market is becoming more competitive, with the arrival of new creators and distributors and great players strengthening their footprint (many of them of French origins), we progressed and started the creation of a 6 DOF build called GENESIS - The LIFE Experience, which will certainly further expand our distribution opportunities.

M. C. - Still we also receive many requests for GENESIS - the film to be offered in festivals or venues. There continues to be a strong demand for 360 or non-interactive content too. But it would be great to offer several versions of the same narrative 6DOF, 360, etc.

Phalanx : a software solution for high definition VR

J. C. - Most importantly, we want to deliver the same quality of experience regardless of which technology you choose.. We always produce high quality and detailed settings, but current mobile headsets don’t have the resources for such high quality. You would need a PC tethered headset instead. That's why at SXSW we presented a software solution we developed at Faber Courtial: a toolbox called Phalanx to reduce the data size without deteriorating the quality. Especially on mobile devices (see article).

M. C. - Phalanx gives developers the ability to maintain image quality even when users interact in the environments. We never want to compromise, not even in interactive VR on mobile devices. GENESIS - The LIFE Experience is the prototype project for this.

Faber Courtial, what next?

J. C. - One of our next projects is called Grimm´s Daemons (working title), a combination of themes that are dear to us. A project very much focused on psychology and mythology, which we have been pondering over for two years already. Next in line is GENESIS - THE LIFE EXPERIENCE as well as a multi-user Event-Meet-Up in no other place than Ancient Rome, with guided tours, social interaction and spectacular views on our detailed Rome Model.

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GRIMM'S DAEMONS preview
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GRIMM'S DAEMONS preview
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ROME 60AD preview

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Faber Courtial Genesis

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