Preview: ‘Moderat: Reminder’ is an Energetic VR Music Video set in a Beautiful Dystopia

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Electronic music and dystopian worlds seem to go hand-in-hand these days, and with German electronic group Moderat releasing their third album in April, what better way to hype the release than with a VR experience of the record’s first single, ‘Reminder’?

MTR062_Reminder_Cover_digitalDirector Mate Steinforth and film production team Sehsucht Berlin developed the VR music video, featuring a swooping ride through a strange underground world cast in grey-scale and filled with odd creatures that harvest crystals, gathered in offering to the clan’s deity. Harassed by giant sentinels, one young crystal gatherer must fight to survive, of course to the thumping tribal beat of Moderat’s ‘Reminder.’

Sehsuch Berlin describes it as a “politically charged narrative,” but just to what end you’ll have to discover for yourself. The oppression of the underclass? Sounds plausible. Money is the root of all evil? Could be. Something about blood diamonds? Sure, why not?

Download ‘Moderat: Reminder’ for DK2

The VR music video itself is best for experienced users, because it takes you on quite a flight through the underground setting. Swooshing around corners and over obstacles can be nauseating for first-timers, and is generally ill-advised in any first-person experience. This however was a short trip, and no longer than your average roller coaster demo—and much better produced to say the least.

See Also: ‘Surge’ is a Real-time VR Music Video You Don’t Want to Miss

Normally we wouldn’t preview an experience that doesn’t respect the hard-won knowledge compiled in Oculus Best Practice Guide, specifically the part on simulator sickness, which states that developers should “minimize the size and frequency of accelerations,” and “don’t take control away from the user,” two things conventional visual effects studios seem to have a hard time getting away from. Using your head like an in-game camera is liable to make a person sick—however we can’t help but admire the smooth work done in Moderat: Reminder VR music video, and are willing to forgive them the roller coaster ride for something that is just so damn cool.

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  • Edward McNamara

    Can you report on the availability of this on various HMDs. I only see a link to DK2 download. It would have been useful if your reporter would have included a paragraph or two on how this VR experience plays out. Is there an interactive component? If so, what? If not, why isn’t it just a YouTube 360° offering, available to even Cardboard owners?
    Did Oculus fund this at all?
    Exclusivity and platform factioning is an important story worthy of coverage whenever content appears exclusively on one HMD. Why is this Rift only?
    While I appreciate when you pass along PR links to new content, I’d love a more thorough analysis of these stories.
    Cheers.

    • Mate Steinforth

      We just tried the DK2, but It’s Unreal Engine so it should theorerically work with any HMD. We wanted to export a youtube 360 version but as of now there are no reliable methods to do this from Unreal, unfortunately everything we tried failed.

      • Vincent Nihouarn

        Hello,

        I have been able to do it. It involves a few steps but it works. The only downside is that camera and volume postprocesses are ignored.

        Let me know if you want me to walk you through the process.

        My 360 video hasn’t been released yet, but I can send you a link if you are interested. Actually it’s quite funny because the VFX and the scenario are pretty similar.

        Have a good day !

        Vincent

    • Hi Edward. You’ll find the video posted above covers the entirety of the experience, hence the small amount of narration on the actual contents. I forgo this in favor of a quick introduction, speculation on the meaning of the video, and then a larger portion dedicated to user comfort. Interactive mechanics in these sorts of VR experiences are thus far very rare, and the mention of none implies that none exists — especially for something as straight-forward as an animated music video.

      ‘If there isn’t an interactive component, then why isn’t it just a YouTube 360 video?’ Oftentimes studios won’t singularly publish a rendered experience in video format for a few important reasons: downgraded visuals and loss of positional tracking (and with it greater immersion). In the case of rendered, non-interactive experiences, it’s more of a situation of ‘why didn’t they *also* release a 360 video to go with their rendered content’, which thankfully the developer has answered here. There are of course exceptions, for example the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ 360 video (here: http://ow.ly/ZYm0i) which was one of the first natively-supported 360 videos published on Facebook which exists only in 360 video form — but this was used more as a promotion for Facebook’s newly integrated 360 support than a dedicated showing of the content itself.

      You’re absolutely right about exclusivity and platform segmentation being an important element to upcoming VR content, but seeing that the music video itself is only about 4 minutes in length and was released for immediate, free consumption, there was no need to use this as a stage for a larger discussion. I will definitely keep this in mind for upcoming content though, as we’re just putting our collective pinky toes into multi-platform paid VR experiences, games and apps. This may very well be the last time an indie developer or small studio releases what could be considered a DK2 exclusive based simply upon the fact that consumer hardware (yahoo!) will soon be on the noggins of people worldwide. Your concern here is valid, but unfortunately premature at the moment.

      I greatly appreciate your comment, Edward. I took the time to respond fully to your concerns because I wanted to make something clear. I don’t pass along PR links, or reformat press releases. I actively hunt out compelling content produced not only by the larger, well-funded studios, but by indie and smaller visual effects/film studios — and to that end this VR experience resonated with me. I care very much about what I write, and hope you see that the decisions I took with this piece were both logical and not indifferent the wants of our readership or the content makers themselves.