Björk is previewing her latest Single “Stone Milker” tomorrow with a music video filmed for virtual reality and leveraging the power of 3D spatial audio as provided by specialists in the field, Two Big Ears and 3DCeption.
Linear, non-interactive, immersive video is unquestionably proving enticing to creative types across the entertainment industry. We saw one of the first music ‘videos’ made for VR just last week, and there’s no doubt that such a potentially disruptive form of storytelling promises those tired of recycled MTV tropes a fresh way of presenting their music.
Björk’s music video for “Stone Milker” taken from her already acclaimed album VULNICURA, is directed by Andrew Huang for VRSE Works and features the artist performing the song, filmed in 360 degrees and accompanied by a 3D binaural soundtrack powered by Two Big Ears‘ 3DCeption audio technology.
UK based new reality architects Third Space Agency (3SA) and digital production and VR specialists Rewind were responsible for piecing elements together inside the VR application. The video itself was shot by Andrew Thomas Huang and his VR production company Vrse.works who also took care of stitching the 360 video imagery together.
It’s claimed that the VR experience premiere utilises a proprietary ‘VR Player’ capable of delivering high resolution 3D audio mixed in real time to accompany the stereoscopic 360 degree visuals. The presentation will use a mobile phone based headset from London based company Proteus VR.
Bjork and her mixing engineer (Chris Pike, who is senior audio R&D engineer at the BBC) remixed the song specifically for VR and our engine. They could position different instruments at any point in space at a very high resolution and surround the listener with her music and voice. On the mobile device, our engine takes all that information and recreates a binaural mix in real-time based on head tracking data. She’s stripped down the mix to reflect the visuals (it was shot on a beach in Iceland).
Björk’s latest facebook update seems to indicate that this cutting-edge approach wasn’t just in pursuit of a current ‘fad’ in VR Videos and marketing. In fact, she goes into some detail on the recording process:
i had recorded the strings with a clip on mike on each instrument . we have made a different mix where we have fanned this in an intimate circle around the listener .
so as you watch this in the virtual reality headset it will be as if you are on that beach and with the 30 players sitting in a circle tightly around you
The experience is to be premiered exclusively at select locations tomorrow. If you’re in New York City, you can swing by Rough Trade NYC between the 22nd and 28th and if you’re in London, the Shoreditch based Rough Trade East store.
Whilst we’ve not had the opportunity to get our hands and ears on this, what we’re heard of the project thus far is extremely encouraging. It’s clear considerable thought and effort has gone into constructing a compelling audio / visual experience.
If the ‘video’ ever makes it into the public domain, we’ll be sure to let you know. In the mean time, if you do get chance to view Stonemilker VR for yourself, let us know what you thoughts.