VFX specialists MPC have collaborated with Sony Pictures on building a virtual reality experience to promote the box office hit horror comedy film Goosebumps, as well as handling visual effects for the movie itself.
MPC is a leading visual effects with some 25 years of experience in the industry. Their latest project is perhaps a glimpse into where the talents of companies like MPC may begin to dovetail in the face of the impending emergence of consumer virtual reality next year.
MPC have delivered VFX for Sony Picture’s No. 1 Box Office hit Goosebumps, a horror comedy starring Jack Black which looks to be leading the Halloween pack right now. The company created some 17 different creatures for the movie, requiring them to pull together motion capture performances with traditional animation skills, right down to hand animated facial touches.
But it’s the crossover of roles that’s interesting here, most notably that the company were also asked to bring over the assets they’d created for the live-action film to a standalone virtual reality experience.
“VR is an intimate and immersive platform that transports the viewer into the space and story,” said MPC Executive Producer-VR Tim Dillon. “In this way, our VR experience was perfect for Goosebumps. We place an audience member in the car, riding shotgun with Jack Black playing R.L. Stine, while Jack drives through town with a giant praying mantis chasing him down. The result is a virtual reality adventure attraction.”
The entire experience was produced in-house by MPC’s content production division, MPC Creative. Everything from live action footage capture, through VFX and final grade was taken care of, perhaps giving a glimpse to branches of expansion for visual effects specialists like MPC as VR becomes more commonplace.
A 360 degree live-action affair, the experience also leverage’s technology from motion-rig specialists D-Box – mechanical chairs to be specific. As the action ensues, motion data is used to shift the viewer in sync with the VR experience inside a Samsung Gear VR headset.
“The car chase scene is a great example of how technique meets the storytelling component of VR,” said Dan Marsh, Creative Director, MPC Creative, LA. “In the 360-degree 3D VR Adventure, viewers can look around in all directions throughout the film, but they don’t have the control to walk around. Placing the viewer in the car, they can experience the scale of the scene and momentum of the chase. Jack Black, seated inches away from us, acts as a tour guide as the car flees from the monster. The D-Box chair is the icing on the cake, because it situates people in the experience so they really feel the thrill of the chase.”
The Goosebumps VR experience will be available at selected theatre lobbies across the US during the film’s run, although we have no details as to precisely where.