Earlier this year, actor/producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his HITRECORD team worked with Canon to give CES attendees and people in other locations the chance to participate in a massive, open, hybrid writers’ room to help come up with a real animated short film, together.
Their ‘Writers’ Room’ was equipped with Canon’s AMLOS (Activate My Line of Sight) hybrid working solution currently in development1 that uses intuitive hand gesture control for users in the meeting room and enhanced hi-res imaging streams to enable spontaneous and virtually seamless hybrid collaboration.
Now, the result of dozens of creative live sessions with hundreds of non-professionals and weeks of production premiered in Hollywood. ‘A Forest Haunt’ is an endearing animated short about a magical spirit who tries to protect the sacred forest from a trio of greedy woodsmen.
Canon U.S.A., in collaboration with HITRECORD, the company that runs an online community for creative collaboration, premiered “A Forest Haunt,” an animated short film shaped by input from hundreds of people from various locations, directed by Edward Jesse and Toff Mazery – creators of AppleTV+ animated series Wolfboy and the Everything Factory – and narrated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The development for the short film project began in January of 2022 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), inside Canon’s booth experience “The Writers’ Room.” While Hollywood writers’ rooms are typically limited to a handful of professional screenwriters, this writers’ room offered CES attendees and virtual participants the chance to be part of the collaborative film making process, enabled through Canon’s AMLOS (Activate My Line of Sight) system.
Over the course of three days and 25 interactive brainstorming sessions, hundreds of participants shared their ideas for a theme, narrative, world-building and character development. Their collective story was then developed into an animated short film by the HITRECORD production team.
The project showed how the AMLOS solution can help enhance the creative process in today’s hybrid work environment, where people collaborate from anywhere. Something that usually proves very challenging, especially when sharing and working together on ideas, visuals and designs.
“It’s become a mission of mine to offer the experience of creating art to more people, so when we heard what Canon was doing with AMLOS, it felt like a great fit,” said actor, writer & producer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.”The Writers’ Room was a bit of an experiment, and we’re incredibly proud of this beautiful short film that came out of it. It shows how technology can be a great enabler for creativity.”
“Working with Joseph and HITRECORD on this project was an unforgettable experience. They are true masters of the collaborative process and watching them leverage our technology to create an animated short film was very exciting. We want to thank HITRECORD and the many collaborators who participated in the process. We couldn’t have done this without them,” said Kohei Maeda, advisor, marketing, Business Information Communications Group (BICG), Canon U.S.A., Inc. “‘A Forest Haunt’ is a great example of how we imagine various industries utilizing the power of AMLOS. This solution is being developed with the goal of keeping colleagues and team members connected in hybrid working environments, in an effort to help alleviate some pain points that can come with working remotely in an interactive group setting.”
Single, Simple and Seamless, the AMLOS solution is being designed to help Connect Colleagues
AMLOS is a collaborative work solution that is being designed to harness the power of Canon’s image processing technology to help create an immersive hybrid work experience. The software uses a single camera enabling multiple lines of sight2, is simple to operate, with in office users able to use intuitive gesture control for certain functions, and is being designed to provide virtually seamless connectivity with others through Microsoft® Teams and Azure.3
In addition to the AMLOS software, collaborators in the room used compatible Canon hardware, including the Canon CR-N300 and CR-N500 PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras4, which produce incredible 4K and HD image quality, with image-processing power and speed that enables 4K UHD video acquisition, image stabilization and precise Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus.
How “A Forest Haunt” was Developed
“The Writers’ Room” at CES was used as a collaborative meeting space where a beta version of the AMLOS software and Canon provided the technical foundation for HITRECORD’s creatives to interact with both in-person and virtual CES participants. Members of HITRECORD that were in the room leveraged the gesture controls of the AMLOS solution, and Canon’s 4K image capture, to keep remote participants engaged during the white boarding of story ideas, themes and character development. For three days, HITRECORD’s creative team led participants in a range of creative discussions, which shaped and informed the development of the animated short.
As a result, “A Forest Haunt” was born, an animated short film about the power of collaboration, which became the main theme that was landed on. In the story, greedy woodsmen threaten to destroy a sacred forest. In order to save her home, one little haunt must confront the limits of her own might and learn to embrace the power of collaboration. The animated short film is now available for viewing across Canon and HITRECORD social channels.
“A Forest Haunt” was produced by HITRECORD in association with Canon, and executive produced by Jared Geller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Edward Jesse and Toff Mazery. It was directed by Edward Jesse and Toff Mazery, and narrated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
AMLOS (Activate My Line of Sight) Solution Availability
Canon is currently scheduled to make the AMLOS software available in third quarter 2022.1 For additional information, please visit usa.canon.com/amlos.