Kirklander films at Performance Center, enters Samsung Contest

Kirkland, WA 1/1/16 - By TJ Martinell

A Kirkland native recently took advantage of the Kirkland Performance Center's stage for the set of a short film using a 360-degree camera.

Connor Hair, who currently works at a production company in Los Angeles, returned to Kirkland late last month to shoot a 60 second film he plans to enter into Samsung's "There In 60 Seconds" Virtual Reality Film Competition. The competition has filmmakers use a special camera to create 360-degree virtual reality films, with a $10,000 cash prize for the winner.

Hair's film, "En Pointe" tells the story of a ballerina (played by Lindsey Williams) dreaming of landing the part in a ballet she's applied for. Although she doesn't get the part, Hair said, she goes onto the empty ballet stage and performs the dance, trying to envision the audience in front of her. There are no speaking lines in the film.

Hair, a Bellevue High graduate, said that through the editing process they gave the film a very dream-like state, aided also by the new camera.

"It is experience-based, putting you in her place," he said. "It's almost like a ride, if you think of a ride at Universal Studios."

It's not the first VR film he's shot, having filmed a 12-minute film that he said has received positive feedback, as well as being a cinematographer on six feature films. He's also shot projects for Microsoft, VW, Boeing, Delta Airlines, T-Mobile, Wells Fargo, and Nintendo.

Although many films using the VR camera to convey a unique viewing experience, Hair said he also just likes to tell stories.

"People seem to really respond to it," he said. "We think storytelling could be very powerful in VR."

When planning the production, Hair said they looked for local venues to use as a location and were able to get the KPC to lend their stage.

"It's way easier to film in Seattle than in LA where I live," he said. "We knew we couldn't secure a theater down there. I thought that it (KPC) would be a nice little theater we could use."

The Film will be available on GearVR, Google Cardboard and YouTube 360.