Headset on and suddenly there he is. Dynamo is standing just a few feet in front of you, cards flicking between his hands. He turns away and climbs into a Fiat, ignoring physics as he drives off. Suddenly, it’s you who’s inside, really inside the new Fiat 500X, looking over the dashboard in one of our most realistic VR experiences to date, made for Fiat with Krow for Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard.
Dynamo, who is the only live action element in the pre-rendered two-minute experience, was shot in stereo on two RED cameras by our live action production team. Everything else was generated in 3D and rendered at four times the resolution of HD, 60fps and in stereo, requiring the full force of the Framestore infrastructure to crunch through 184 years’ worth of CPU render hours.
'It was great to be so closely involved with the creative concept and be trusted to bring Framestore's knowledge in VR to create an experience that not only gives you a visual spectacle but also tells a compelling and unique story', says Creative Director Gavin Fox. 'We've all learned so much more with this project (me especially!), and I'm tremendously proud of what the team have made.'
'One of the key challenges for the team was creating an engaging experience that still told a story', says VFX Supervisor Russell Dodgson. 'As VR is such a 360°, non-linear experience all narrative language goes out the window. Essentially the viewer is the camera, so we had to build the experience to attract their attention to key moments and areas without making them feel uncomfortable or rushed. It’s all about deception, so VFX is very similar to magic in that respect.'
The visual experience is complemented by a series of 4D elements including rumble packs and sound, with the latter essential to keeping the viewer engaged and leading them down the storyline. Each sound was positioned individually within 3D space so the user experiences everything at exactly the right moment.
'I always enjoy a technical puzzle and finding solutions to problems, and this was definitely one of the more challenging projects I’ve been part of, almost like learning a new language! So I‘m very happy with how it turned out', adds Russell.