Nestled in Culver Studios, the Disruption crew sets up on Stage Eight—the soundstage behind Gone with The Wind, Citizen Kane and, yes, Legally Blonde. But the reason for our visit on this crisp September Thursday is, sadly, not a Reese Witherspoon blockbuster; it’s the debut interview of our Los Angeles issue.
“8i is a virtual and augmented reality startup,” says chief operating officer Toni Moyes. “But unlike other companies, we focus on one piece of the puzzle: creating the most realistic synthetic humans.”
Historically, this has been achieved with computer generated imagery (CGI). It’s how we experienced Paul Walker’s postmortem farewell in Furious 7 (a mix of CGI and Walker’s brothers) and how we met the infamous Gollum in Lord of The Rings (CGI overlaid over actor Andy Serkis). But no matter how advanced or groundbreaking, CGI beings continue to be awkward and even occasionally creepy—they lack that indefinable human quality.
“They don’t move quite right,” explains Moyes. “…So, not only is CGI incredibly expensive, but it’s also often eerie and uncomfortable to watch.”
8i believes that the most realistic humans can be achieved with holograms—holograms that are then dropped into anything from a movie to a product demonstration to a blog post. And when you consider their equipment works with any camera—including your iPhone—that means content that is not only high quality, but also democratic and accessible to all.