EXCLUSIVE: Two companies — Minds Eye Entertainment and Sky VR — have produced a scripted, live-action 360 cinematic VR experience tied to the release of the Christina Ricci and John Cusack film Distorted. To get an idea of what this means, click on the trailer above and you will be able to move the footage to see the entire film set (in its narrative form) while the video is playing. The VR drops today and the film releases on June 22nd.
The thriller is just the latest film to have done this and for Ricci and Cusack, it’s their VR debuts. Although this is not the first film to get this kind of treatment, you gotta wonder, how does this all physically work with actors and crew?
Well, first off, the VR portion was shot immediately after director Rob King filmed the live-action portion. The actors, which also included Brendan Fletcher, then re-shot for the VR camera and with more dialogue.
How do you film in 360 degrees with a full crew? “Sometimes it’s a challenge. You do have to hide the crew because the audience can see everything and everywhere,” said one of the VR producers Travis Cloyd. “You have to make sure everyone is hidden so we have people hiding behind walls and whatever our natural sets allow.”
Cloyd said they used 16, synchronized GoPro Hero4s filmed with the GoPro Odyssey and under Jump, which is Google’s professional VR video program.
The result is pretty darn cool. If you click here and above, you will be able to move the entire trailer around 360 degrees.
Cloyd has shot multiple films the 360 format, including The Recall with Wesley Snipes and The Humanity Bureau with Nicolas Cage. “I feel like it’s an amazing vertical and opportunity for anyone in this medium because it’s the first time in 100 years that the canvas has changed. With the 360 degree format, you can tell more stories and more of the story.”
The VR experience was written and directed by King (the live-action director) and produced by Josh Courtney, Cloyd, Kevin DeWalt, Danielle Masters and Rob Bryanton.
Distorted Reality is a 10-minute film that is going to be distributed through OneTouch VR on Google Daydream, Oculus Go and Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and iOs. It will also be available in stereo 3D on various platforms like the Littlstar app on Sony’s’ Playstation VR.
“We’re excited to be one of the only groups facilitating A-list film star debuts in VR, and we hope that others will follow,” said Cloyd, who would not comment on the budget other to say, “it was done at a very good price.”
Bridgegate Pictures Corp., Invico Capital and Talking Dog Studios also brought the VR portion to life and it was made possible through the Creative Saskatchewan Screen-Based Media Production Grant Program with participation of the Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.