We spoke to Gudren Claire, Head of Production at Parable, about this VR project.
Can you sum up the content?
This is a CG VR trail for the BBC3 documentary "One Deadly Weekend in America", which immerses the viewer into an American street scene and takes them on a 'walk' into an increasingly dangerous part of town. It also incorporates 2D footage and audio from the documentary, built into a 360 ambisonic soundscape.
What was the creative process?
We chose to make the trail using CG VR as it gave us more control and we thought that the combination of a CG environment (lifelike but deliberately not photo real) with real documentary audio and footage would be interesting and unsettling. We built the CG environment using Cinema 4D and After Effects and also used Photoshop to incorporate photographic images for textures and signage. We wanted the trail to tell its own short story (an unsettling walk into a dangerous part of town which ends with a dramatic encounter) while also selling the documentary about gun crime with a view to drawing an audience to the documentary. The look and feel of the trail were conceived particularly with a young audience in mind.
Any challenges and what were the solutions?
It was challenging for Lee Ellis, the 3D animator, to create lifelike and convincing people within the CG environment and particularly the appearance of a gunman - he achieved this with ingenious use of an iPhone, a ladder, some gaffer tape and his son's Buzz Lightyear ray gun - filming himself with the gun on the iPhone strapped to the ladder and creating an animation using Flash which could then be used in Cinema 4D. The other challenge was the hardware and processing power required to generate and render the effects (the solution was more powerful computers!).