Archive for the 'film' Category

Waterloo 360 for Mamma Mia

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Universal Pictures just released a 360 music video I directed last year for the movie franchise Mamma Mia.

What an awesome challenge. When you watch a contemporary musical you will experience a lot of cuts, one every few seconds, and coverage and closeups and all that. So cast members that are not dancers don’t have to memorize an entire sequence, they’re just doing it move by move. In this case, we shot an entire two and a half minute long dance choreography around a moving camera as a one take. The piece was filmed with no cuts and the camera was recording in all directions. Absolutely nothing could go wrong anywhere at all.

Prior to shooting I met in Shepperton Studios near London with the film producers, and they introduced me to Anthony Van Laast, the film choreographer, as well as his team, and a specialized camera crew from the film. Together we designed a 360 dance number based on the original choreography from the movie, and a camera motion path in relation to the dancers, so that the camera’s vantage point felt exactly like that of a person walking on set while surrounded by everyone else. The choreographers were absolutely world class. And the dancers understood 360 staging immediately, because that’s what they do. It’s close enough to their training. For the actors, to switch from a cinematic style to a more theatrical one, staying in character and dancing the entire sequence, it was a real challenge. But as you will be able to see, they did it. They pulled it off.

Because it’s a dance piece, I felt depth and gravity were key, so we made sure to get the best stereoscopic 360 capture available today, and we made sure the floor was featured properly, because dancers’ movements are grounded in the floor. This is always a challenge in 360 stereoscopic 3D. We were fortunate enough to get a Yi Halo camera —compatible with the Google Jump automatic stitching software— had just come out, so we used it for the first time on this shoot which was obviously an additional challenge. But it’s the first camera in existence that that gives you high quality stitch-less full dome stereoscopic video In 360°. Before this camera we would have to film Panoramas with holes on top and bottom, and patch-in the floor later. You can imagine how that would be a problem when you have all these dancers’ feet all over the dance floor.

If you can, please experience this video using a Oculus Go or something similar. The desktop and mobile versions you can watch on your computer screen, tablet or phone won’t do it enough justice and I’m so proud of it. I think it’s really fun.

Death Planet Rescue at MoPOP

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

Death Planet Rescue, my first immersive science fiction film for the Holodome, just opened to the public at MoPOP in Seattle.

I got to direct an incredible cast including the legendary Michael Ironside, who I remember from the long gone era when I was under eighteen and television was 640×480. I shouldn’t brag but for Death Planet Rescue we managed to push a total of 9600×4800 pixels per frame. That’s an immense picture resolution, but barely enough for the Holodome, who swallows it all and spits it back all around you, making you feel like you stepped into the picture.

I want to thank everyone involved in this production for their creativity and their dedication. We pulled off a crazy one 😀

Mangchi Live at Viva! Pomona

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Wevr just made available on Transport a couple of pieces I directed last year featuring the band Mangchi performing live at Viva! Pomona. This is pretty cool. We used the Google/Gopro Jump Odyssey camera system that completely removes the painful step of stitching together stereoscopic spherical footage. Basically you film your stuff with your 16 camera rig, upload the footage to the Google cloud Jump service, and get back perfectly beautiful stereoscopic equirectangular footage ready to be enhanced with a traditional postproduction workflow. No more countless hours stitching together every camera.

In addition to this, David and Mangchi let us put our cameras anywhere we wanted —something uncommon when capturing a live performance, since the best location for a VR 360 camera is always right where somebody wants to be. Thanks to this we managed to capture the heart at the madness that only Mangchi can deliver and inspire on their audience. From their backstage naked body-painting rituals to privileged spots on the stage and the middle of the mosh pit, we get you as close as you can get to experiencing the raw power of this eclectic band at its fullest, loudest, and most colorful.

Here is a 360 Preview in youTube:

Depthkit 101

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

I just got a new toy to make living VR ghosts using digital samples of real people in motion. Depthkit works with a Kinect sensor and a Canon DSLR camera. My current workflow uses the Depthkit Capture and Visualize software, Adobe AfterEffects, and Unity for room-scale game engine playback on a HTC Vive system. It’s a pain in the ass but really fun.

Fast Ride on LifeVR

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Time-Life just launched their LifeVR app featuring a 360 video piece I directed called Fast Ride. A few months ago I spent a day with my colleagues from Wevr in a race track in Laguna Seca where the Mazda racing team took out all their vintage cars for a spin like they do every year. J. H. Harper wrote an in-depth piece about the event for The Verge that explains everything about this amazing cars.

The following picture shows pilot Jeremy Barnes tagging along for a fast ride with himself just after he finished his real-life lap. It was a lot more intense for him to be the passenger in VR than to be the pilot in real life 😀

jeremy barnes vr

Reddit AMA for VR Thriller Gone

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

A couple of days ago, I participated on a Reddit AMA about the VR series GONE with my friends from @Skybound and @PettyJTyrant. It was a great opportunity to revisit the creative and technical challenges we faced during this crazy adventure, as well all our accomplishments. So far I have produced or directed over a dozen cinematic VR projects, all of them valuable on their own right, but GONE surpasses all others in breadth and depth. No other time have I been able to explore, test and develop so many cinematic VR storytelling techniques. From camera moves to visual effects and interactive features, GONE remains at the bleeding edge of cinematic VR today. No other piece of 360 video content out there can compare to it, even though we finished production about a year ago and the first episode aired shortly after. We pulled off some crazy shit on this project. In the future people will wonder how could we achieve what we did during times where there were ZERO off-the-shelf production and postproduction tools for this kind of filmmaking. From DIY makeshift camera systems to painfully laborious postproduction techniques and previously non-existent user experience design, we figured out a way to make it all happen. I only wish it was promoted as well as it deserves.

Run the Jewels Crown is out

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

A few months ago I produced a VR music video with my friends at Wevr for the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels. I’m proud to announce that The New York Times just dropped it in their nytvr mobile app.

Here is an insightful article written by @djabatt on the importance of matching hip-hop with virtual reality.

360° Premiere: Run The Jewels's "Crown"

Run The Jewels keeps pushing boundaries with their 360° video for "Crown," premiering on The New York Times's virtual-reality app.Check out the full video from Killer Mike GTO and EL-P: http://nyti.ms/1QOIbed

Posted by The New York Times on Thursday, March 10, 2016

crown-nyt