Here Be Dragons (company)

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Here Be Dragons
IndustryProduction Company
FoundersPatrick Milling-Smith, Chris Milk, Brian Carmody

Here Be Dragons (formerly known as is a medium-agnostic creative studio co-founded by Patrick Milling-Smith, Chris Milk and Brian Carmody.[1]


In December 2014, Chris Milk and Spike Jonze captured the Million Man March in NY which protested police brutality for Vice News.[2] Here Be Dragons premiered its first VR experiences on the Within app (formerly known as Vrse app) platform at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival including Evolution of Verse, a photo-realistic CGI-rendered 3-D virtual reality film, and Clouds Over Sidra, a virtual reality short documentary made in partnership with the United Nations which follows a 12-year-old girl's life in a Syrian refugee camp.[3] After the Sundance launch, Here Be Dragons captured Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary special in VR and created director Guy Shelmerdine's Catatonic, an immersive journey through an insane asylum in which the audience, bound to a wheelchair, undergoes a sensory shocking horror thrill ride.[4][5]

Other productions include:

  • Walking New York (April 2015), a VR experience made in partnership with the New York Times which follows JR (artist) and his making of a 150-foot-tall portrait of a recent immigrant to NYC that was wheat pasted across the Flatiron Building Pedestrian Plaza for less than 24 hours.[6] Here Be Dragons followed with Director Adam Berg's Nike's The Neymar Jr Effect, which takes viewers into Neymar's POV as he plays soccer and an experiential film for Toms Shoes that gives users the chance to participate in a Toms Giving Trip to Peru.[7][8] Here Be Dragons continued its partnership with the United Nations to create the VR experience Waves of Grace in October 2015. The film transports viewers to West Point, the most populous slum in the capital of Liberia, and follows the experience of Decontee Davis, an Ebola survivor who uses her immunity to help others affected by the disease.[9]
  • Song for Someone (2015) a VR music video for the band U2’s Song for Someone. In this globe-spanning reimagining of the music video, the experience takes singers from all walks of life and harmoniously blends them with U2 inside the VR space.[10] The studio followed with another music video, Muse’s first foray into VR. The 360-degree immersive experience, directed by Guy Shelmerdine and crafted for Muse's track Revolt, is set in a dystopian future where rebel women fight against cold cyborg police.[11]
  • The Displaced a VR film for The New York Times that tells the stories of three children from Syria, Ukraine and the Sudan whose lives have been upended by conflict and follows them as they move forward, trying to rebuild in the aftermath of earth-shattering events. Over one million subscribers to the New York Times received a special edition Google Cardboard on November 8, 2015 to experience the film.[12] The Displaced won the Entertainment Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Best in Show at AICP's Next Awards and was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy.[13]
  • Treachery of Sanctuary (2016) Sundance Film Festival: two new VR experiences and the immersive installation Treachery of Sanctuary as part of the New Frontier program. A History of Cuban Dance is a 5-minute visual feast charting the exuberant and spontaneous dances that embody Cuba’s rich cultural heritage directed by multi-award winning documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker. The film takes the viewer on a chronological journey through Afro-Cuban Santería, rumba, mambo, cha-cha-chá, salsa, breakdancing, and reggaeton, with documentary voices offering some lyrical insights into the story of the Cuban people as revealed in the moves.[15]
  • The Click Effect (2016) follows journalist James Nestor and filmmaker Sandy Smolan, also two renegade marine science researchers, as they attempt to free-dive a hundred feet below the ocean’s surface in a single breath, to capture the “click” communication of dolphins and sperm whales—the world's largest predators.[16]
  • Valen's Reef a 360-degree short film for the environmental organization Conservation International. The film follows West Papuan fisherman-turned-conservationist Ronald Mambrasar and his 8-year-old son Valen as they explore the protected Bird's Head Seascape, one of the most biologically diverse reefs on the planet.[17]
  • The Mr. Robot VR Experience (2016) a 13-minute virtual reality experience at San Diego Comic-Con for Mr. Robot. Written and directed by creator and showrunner Sam Esmail, The Mr. Robot Virtual Reality Experience takes viewers on a flashback journey with lead character Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) as he remembers an early encounter with his dealer-turned-love-interest Shayla (Frankie Shaw). On Thursday July 22, fans, including a large crowd at Comic Con, got a chance to watch the experience when it was briefly made available for viewing through the Within app.[18]
  • Kids music video experience for OneRepublic’s new single Kids. Directed by Hal Kirkland and filmed in Mexico City with the Nokia OZO, the VR experience follows the story of two teenagers, a boy and girl who live across the street from one another in the city and witness to each other's lives through their windows. Hal Kirkland also created another music-related experience for Stubhub titled Always.[19]
  • Tree 2017 Sundance Film Festival, creators Milica Zec and Winslow Porter launched Tree, a room scale experience that allows participants to become a rainforest tree as it goes from its growth as a seedling to its death in a slash-and-burn farming operation. Tree was the second New Frontier VR piece from Milica Zec and Winslow Porter, following last year's dramatic war experience Giant.[20] Milica Zec and Winslow Porter brought their latest iteration of Tree to the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival which featured more elements of mixed reality to enhance the immersion of the experience.[21]
  • The Last Goodbye was featured as part of the Tribeca Film Festival's Storyscapes competition which celebrates innovation in storytelling. The experience allows viewers to walk alongside Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter as he toured the Majdanek Concentration Camp where his parents and sister lost their lives during World War II.[27] Considered the first testimony captured in room-scale VR, the experience was created in partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation, Here Be Dragons, Moving Picture Company and OTOY which a physical installation created by designer David Korins and original music by Q Department.[26]
  • Sessions: The Legion Mixed Reality Experience for FX Network series Legion at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con.[28] The experience, created by Justin Denton, utilized both the Microsoft HoloLens headset and live actors within a massive interactive installation, putting viewers into the eyes of the show's lead character David Haller (Dan Stevens), a diagnosed schizophrenic who discovers he may actually be a super powerful mutant instead.[29]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2015, Vice News VR and Clouds Over Sidra were nominated for Individual Documentary Episode and Mobile App Music respectively at the Webby Awards. The Within app was also nominated in the Experimental Mobile category.[32] Evolution of Verse and Clouds Over Sidra were shortlisted for Original Branded Content at the 2015 Cannes International Advertising Festival. Apple Insider named Vrse as the best VR app/player for iPhones in August 2015.[33]

The Last Goodbye experience garnered numerous accolades including The Lumiere Award for Best VR Documentary,[34] The Webby Award for 360-Video:Branded,[35] AICP Next Award for Virtual Reality,[36] and shortlisted twice at the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Dispatch was nominated for a 2018 Webby Award and won a Gold Lion at the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.[37]


  1. ^ McMillan, Sam (30 April 2018). "Here Be Dragons: A production studio is just beginning to unlock the potentials of storytelling in virtual reality". Commarts.
  2. ^ "Chris Milk, Spike Jonze, and VICE News Bring the First-Ever Virtual Reality Newscast to Sundance | VICE News". 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  3. ^ "UN Launches Powerful, First Ever, VR Film following Syrian Refugee Girl". TechCrunch. 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  4. ^ "Now You Can Sit In The Middle Of 'Saturday Night Live' History". MTV. 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  5. ^ "6 Things You Should Know About the VR Horror Film Catatonic". WIRED. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  6. ^ "How The NY Times Is Sparking the VR Journalism Revolution". WIRED. 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  7. ^ "Nike's Virtual Reality, 360-Degree The Neymar Jr. Effect Video". Core77. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  8. ^ "Customers can don a Samsung VR set and take a trip to Peru". 2015-08-17. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  9. ^ Temperton, James. "Waves of Grace: experience the horror of Ebola in virtual reality (Wired UK)". Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  10. ^ Watercutter, Angela. "Apple Showcases Its VR Dreams—With a U2 Video".
  11. ^ " helms Muse's first VR music video "Revolt"".
  12. ^ "What It Was Like to Watch the New York Times' VR Movie".
  13. ^ "The New York Times VR Film 'The Displaced' Wins the Lions Entertainment Grand Prix".
  14. ^ "Take Flight with New York Times' Virtual Reality Short Film - VRScout". 14 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Sundance 2016: New Frontier's VR Spectacles - Independent Magazine". 4 February 2016.
  16. ^ Bakare, Lanre (28 January 2016). "Virtual Reality: the immersive film-making wowing Sundance" – via
  17. ^ Petronzio, Matt. "Riveting short film takes you under the sea in 360 degrees".
  18. ^ "The Mr. Robot VR experience isn't a gimmick — it's true storytelling". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  19. ^ "The One Take 360° Music Video Experience of OneRepublic - VRScout". 27 September 2016.
  20. ^ "The best virtual reality from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival".
  21. ^ "Epic Virtual Reality Experiences at Tribeca Film Festival".
  22. ^ Roettgers, Janko (12 January 2017). "Chris Milk's Within Kicks Off New Virtual Reality Doc Series 'The Possible'".
  23. ^ "Possible Hoverboard - Tribeca Film Festival".
  24. ^ "Ghost in the Shell's VR experience is out now".
  25. ^ "Here Be Dragons is defining VR docs - with help from Kathryn Bigelow & Tribeca".
  26. ^ a b Lindsay, Benjamin. "Kathryn Bigelow, Hillary Clinton, and Virtual Reality Join Forces to Save the Elephants".
  27. ^ Hardawar, Devindra (22 April 2017). "'The Last Goodbye' is the VR Holocaust memorial we need today". Engadget.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "We Trip on the 'Legion' Mixed Reality Experience at SDCC".
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ "2015". The Webby Awards. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  33. ^ Hughes, Neil (2015-08-01). "The best virtual reality apps for iPhone, compatible with Google Cardboard". Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  34. ^
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  36. ^
  37. ^

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