20th Century Fox are to debut a new VR movie proof of concept featuring Reese Witherspoon to promote the upcoming feature film Wild. The 3 minute experience is to be on show at CES in Las Vegas next week and top Fox executives seem to believe VR movies have a real future.
VR movies are a hot topic in Hollywood right now and a recent report indicates that 20th Century Fox are confident that the new platform will offer studios like them a new avenue for exploring cinema.
In a recent report from the Hollywood Reporter, Fox Home Entertainment worldwide president Mike Dunn speaks enthusiastically about the future of the format. The recent movie Wild from Fox Searchlight starring Reese Witherspoon charts the story of Cheryl Strayed’s cathartic 1000 mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail in the US.
Fox is to demonstrate the 3 minute narrative experience at CES next week and the VR experience itself is developed by pioneers in the field Paul Raphael and Lajeunesse, also known as Felix & Paul. The pair have developed a 360 camera as well as proprietary post processing software workflow.
Working with 5k per eye raw footage, the technology can capture stereoscopic 3D 360 degree footage ideal for VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR. “We developed a camera system. It started out as a rig and now includes a custom camera built with several acquired sensors. And we wrote a new software workflow, not just for [Wild] but for VR production” Raphael told the Hollywood Reporter.
The short film sounds largely static and revolves around a contemplative encounter between Strayed and the memory of her mother, played by Laura Dern. The viewer essentially sits alongside the two actors, surrounded by the trail’s scenery with the ability to glance in any direction during the piece.
Although ostensibly a promotional project for the movie proper, the language used by Mike Dunn and other Fox execs is encouraging. Ted Galiano, head of post production at Fox says “The movie is no longer just the movie. If we are going to tap into young audiences, we need to make immersive, complementary experiences. … This takes you into the movie rather than just to the movie. What’s exciting to me is it will be different, not a ‘normal’ VR experience, meaning gaming.”
Road to VR are at CES 2015 all week and will make a bee line to Fox’s stand to find out more.