Over 300,000 extras were recruited for a single scene of 1982’s Gandhi and set designers constructed a replica of the Roman Forum three times bigger than the original structure for 1963’s Cleopatra. Filmmakers have never shied away from ambitious projects, but due to consistent innovation in cinematic technology, the way movie magic is made continues to evolve with every passing day.
2018’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which was praised for the scale of its larger-than-life musical sequences, generated buzz for a number of its production technologies. For example, Freddie Mercury’s singing voice was produced by mixing several vocal tracks from different vocalists, and the illusion of a lifelike stadium audience was conjured by scanning and digitally replicating 100 actors in 360° to look like 1000s. What stirred conversation at the Pixvana office, though, was the major role VR played during the planning of camera strategy of the Live Aid concert, the film’s dazzling climax.
Virtual Reality in Bohemian Rhapsody
Queen’s 1985 set at Live Aid, a benefit concert to relieve Ethiopian famine, is arguably one of the most legendary live performances of all time. In order to pay proper homage, the production team strived to reproduce the experience, including the stadium where it took place, to a tee. The film’s production designer, Aaron Haye, oversaw the construction of a replica based on the original Wembley Stadium.
While building a practical, lifesize replica of the stadium was the ideal solution for shooting the scene itself, the production team faced a problem: how could they give the film’s cinematographer, Newton Thomas Sigel, adequate time to plan his camera strategy for the complex sequence while the stage was under construction? The team turned to DNEG, their visual effects company, to create a VR solution.
Equipped with 3D renderings of what the set would look like, DNEG created spherical renders modeled from the set. Spherical renders are 360° virtual panoramas that allow the viewer to freely explore the space without being restricted to limited camera angles. Empowered by this VR technology, Sigel was able to virtually explore the space while holding a camera, shooting it in any direction to study camera position and angles without relying on the under-construction set. Once the set was built, he arrived with a detailed cinematographic plan already in hand, saving significant time and production dollars.
Constrution, Spatial Design, and B2B applications
Similar VR solutions can be applied in the business world, beyond Hollywood, too. Spherical renders represent an incredibly user-friendly and cost-effective way to understand how a space will look and feel before it’s constructed. Much more than 2D representations or even static 3D renderings, they provide an immersive and intuitive sense for crucial aspects such as sight lines, rotation, distance, and atmosphere.
As VR continues to develop, B2B industries such as spatial and construction design are experiencing a completely new way to communicate their designs. Rather than attempting to decipher construction documents and blueprints, clients can don a pair of VR goggles and immediately understand how their space will look and feel. Feedback is more confident, immediate, and precise, and expensive issues that might otherwise arise during a mid-construction walkthrough are identified far before construction begins. At Pixvana, this practice is taken a step further thanks to our in-headset editor, part of our proprietary software, SPIN Studio. The in-headset allows users to make rapid, hassle-free changes on a VR-native platform, perfect for designer-client meetings.
B2B organizations such as these are fast adopters of VR technology because its applications are diverse and its impact is profound. At Pixvana, for example, we work to develop cutting edge solutions for client projects spanning employee training, brand experiences, healthcare, and beyond. Businesses of every variety are turning to VR to reimagine traditional communication experiences, focusing on delivering an immersive, impactful, and lasting impression of their unique offerings.
VR Solves Issues of Access
In addition to being an industry-changing tool that renders spaces-in-development workable for designers and clients alike, VR’s unique ability to position viewers in an immersive environment has countless business use cases.
A large luxury cruise line, for example, came to Pixvana with such a challenge. In order to provide the highest caliber of customer service, new waitstaff on one of their largest cruises needed to access the ship’s dining room in order to memorize its complex layout. The problem? Once new waitstaff board the ship, the dining room is constantly in use. The solution? A custom VR training experience that grants users the ability to explore and study a virtual dining room anywhere, anytime — even before they step foot on the boat for the first time.
The program, as mentioned, was first imagined as the luxury cruise liners solution for the always-occupied dining room on one of their largest ships. With Pixvana’s team of creative VR experts at the helm, equipped with a toolset including SPIN Studio’s in-headset editor, the project grew in scope. The full potential of VR’s immersive powers makes this unique training experience unforgettable as well as highly practical. For instance, the program adds an element of engagement through interactive tools that enhance training recall and eliminates the significant time required to manually set up each physical training experience. With VR, Pixvana was able to help the cruise line overcome their issue of limited access to a physical space, increasing flexibility and engagement, and decreasing time and cost.
The luxury cruise liners experience known as TableVision represents a great example of VR’s growing presence in business technology. Due to its singular and multifaceted capabilities, the applications of VR are far-reaching, spanning across filmmaking, spatial planning, training, and beyond.
When the filmmakers behind Bohemian Rhapsody turned to VR to deliver a world-class cinematic experience, they joined a cross-industry wave of using VR to solve problems in new, creative ways. We at Pixvana are inspired by breakthroughs like theirs, and dedicate ourselves to creating original VR solutions for our customers that overcome their business challenges and ignite their imaginations.
Interested in how VR can benefit your business? Let’s chat!