Introducing Hungry Mantis
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Hungry Mantis is a full service video production company specializing in live-action 360 immersive content.
Co-founders Forrest and Rachel have several years of experience producing, filming, and editing 360/virtual reality video. They have contributed their talents to a variety of 360 films covering topics as diverse as the world’s oldest drag queen to Canada’s first 100% Indigenous woman-owned airline. In addition to telling 360 stories, they also love teaching and have facilitated 360/VR workshops with Open Signal, the University of Oregon, Portland Community College, and Outside the Frame.
Howdy, I’m Forrest. I am a post-production guru experienced with rotoscoping, compositing, 3D models (both creating and placing into 360 scenes), complicated tracking, color correction, spatial audio mixing and pretty much any other post needs. I am also a 360 videographer specializing in aerial and underwater capturing. Most things involving tech I can figure out!
My favorite thing about making 360 video/ VR is that the rules are still being written. I have preconceived notions of how best to work with this medium but they are regularly questioned and thrown out the door. Every project is different and how we best tell a story changes constantly. I also enjoy introducing people to this medium because of the smile on their face but also bringing in a new perspective allows the creative expression of new ideas and thoughts on how to make this stuff!
Hi, I’m Rachel! I’m a 360/VR filmmaker and I love exploring how to best tell stories in virtual reality. The first time I put on a VR headset, I had that “Whoa, this is the coolest thing ever!” lightbulb realization that I know many of you have also experienced. Now granted, I was playing “Playthings: VR Music Vacation” which is an incredible Lisa Frank-esque world where you hit hotdogs and hamburgers with drumsticks to make music. Anyone who tries it is bound to be delighted! But whatever your gateway into VR may be, I think artists who work in this field are united by a shared enthusiasm for the almost transcendent immersiveness you can give to people.
With storytelling, I want to bring you on a journey that leaves you changed in some way. It’s just incredible that through VR I can give my audience such an immediate sense of presence, and then build on top of that. So for example, in my film series “With the Wind and the Stars'' I can literally bring you inside the cockpit of the Sweetgrass Warrior- the flagship aircraft of Iskwew Airlines. I can position you in such a way that you can peer outside the window of the pilot’s seat to marvel at the world below, or you can choose to swivel around and watch Teara as she flies the plane. Either way, you are witnessing history wherever you look, as Iskwew Air is Canada’s first 100% Indigenous woman-owned airline. So in VR I can give people the riveting immediacy of flight layered with the significance of what Teara’s journey means for the future of aviation. That’s what has me hooked on this storytelling format- I like the power-punch of visuals and viscerals that VR taps into.
Not to mention the equally compelling factor of audience agency that underpins everything about what makes VR unique from other formats. In VR, the viewer drives the experience. And that could be as simple as looking around and holding your gaze in one part of the scene vs. another. If you pay attention to the flight controls and other mechanics of the airplane, I hope that will give you a greater appreciation for how cool and complex aviation is. If your focus is more on Teara and how she may be feeling (given her airline’s launch date is fast-approaching) then I hope that further connects you to her character. It’s entirely up to you. Your choice to derive meaning and put emphasis on certain aspects of the story will create a distinct “you” experience of my film. I love that! And I really embrace these aspects of storytelling in VR. With each VR film I make, I push myself to further that in some way.
My background is in traditional video production, so those years of experience can occasionally put me at odds with what will work better for VR. But I try to embrace that, too. I think it’s really cool that I have expertise in a different discipline and there’s value to that. We are all going to bring something other than VR into this field, whether it’s traditional video editing, game-design, fine art, programming, you name it and it has utility in this space. It’s just a matter of resisting the muscle-memory for what works in the thing we’re used to, so that we can see what does work with fresh eyes. At Forever VR we aim to do just that.
We work to hone our craft of VR storytelling by tapping into a variety of skill sets with the single-minded ambition to always do what’s best for the story. Ultimately that’s what guides us and keeps us going forward as learners, VR cinema aficionados, and hopefully good storytellers!
Hungry Mantis can take ideas from any stage in the production process and bring them to life in VR. Whether you are looking for support to develop, film, and edit an entire project start to finish, or simply need a few extra hands to finish up post-production, we are here to help!
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