Behind the scenes footage of Goosebumps VR adventure
Earlier last year (2015) MPC creative produced an in-theater GoosebumpsVR Adventure starring Jack Black. The makers of the experience have recently released ‘behind the scenes footage’ giving viewers a chance to see how Hollywood VR experiences are made.
The VR adventure, from Sony Pictures and MPC Creative was available to Goosebumps fans in cinema lobby’s across the states, and also made an appearance at Technicolor’s booth at CES 2016, in Las Vegas. The adventure was released in conjunction with the official Goosebumps movie, directed by Rob Letterman, that aired in cinema’s October, 2015.
Fans were able to access the 360 experience using the Samsung GearVR headset, which was combined with the use of mechanical chairs provided by D-Box, a company dedicated to designing and manufacturing motion simulation technology. Tim Dillon, Executive Producer of the project explained to VRRelated that “the end result is a kind of virtual reality adventure ride.”
The goosebumps VR experience puts you in the car with Hollywood actor Jack Black, who plays R.L. Stine – the author of the classic series of fictional children’s horror novellas. You then ride along with Jack as you are both chased through town by a giant (64 ft.) Praying Mantis.
The VR project was born out of an interest by Sony Pictures to make a move in this new medium, Mike Wigart, Executive Producer, at MPC Creative told VRRelated that
“Sony Marketing had initial conversations with the Goosebumps film director (Rob Letterman) about taking a scene from the movie and recreating it in VR. MPC was the primary VFX partner for the film and many of the scene’s assets had already been created, so Sony enlisted MPC’s full production studio, MPC Creative, to creative direct and produce the piece from front to back along with Letterman.”
The footage of Jack Blacks performance was captured, in stereo, using an array of Codex Action Cams that were placed “roughly the distance between human eyes apart” (Typically 65mm (2.5 inches) for a male adult) and were mounted on the passenger seat of the car used on set. In 360 video shoots the distance between the subject and the point of capture is important as it can lead to lengthy stitching edits later down the line. Dan marsh,Creative Director, MPC Creative, explained “When filming stereo, one generally privileges a specific element in the scene. In 360 degree stereo, you can’t really privilege anything because everybody will be looking everywhere.” In the case of the Goosebumps feature the team at MPC decided to opt for a slightly different approach. Marsh notes “filming Jack in stereo, as effectively a solo element, to later be composited into a full 360 CG scene helped in that we could adjust the interocular distance (IPD) for comfort as the piece was developed in post production.”
Jack Black playing R. L. Stein in the Goosebumps VR feature
As you can imagine, there is a healthy amount of post production work to be done on a film shoot of this nature that isn’t required in a more traditional setting, so streamlining the workflow was important to MPC Creative in order to maintain deadlines. This was made achievable by utilizing “the global pipeline at MPC” (Marsh). Which is a network of artists and members of the film team that work remotely from their respective locations. As an example “we animated the mantis and built environments in Los Angeles, we could render spherical HDRIs to send to our Vancouver office along with the animation of the creature. They could then render and sync all of that data back to us to integrate in the composite.” Marsh explains. This allowed for a faster workflow as the team “didn’t have to reinvent the wheel for every task.”. Marsh continues, “We used the same previs (Pre-visualization) artists from the film because they had an immediate understanding of the scene. We built our environment from on set photography as a starting point and then filled in the holes with additional asset builds. We rendered the environment in V-Ray (3d rendering software), but the mantis was developed in Renderman (a 3D rendering Software addon for Mya) and our FX artist used Houdini and mantra (an additional high-end 3D animation software). We developed 360 cameras for Renderman and Mantra to match the stereo V-Ray assets.” This allowed the team to have flexible creative control when rendering a scene in virtual reality that is immersive and feels correct to the eye when viewed by the audience.
The Praying Mantis designed by MPC Creative
We asked if we could be expecting to see more of Goosebumps in VR, or from MPC Creative in general, and they told us that “MPC VR is a new division we’ve launched, dedicated to work in this new immersive space, creating VR experiences for film and entertainment. 2016 is going to be a big year for our team with plenty of new projects slated.” So we can no doubt expect to see more work coming from this camp.
Click here to see the full behind the scenes video of GoosebumpsVR, starring Jack Black, or head here to check out FFZERO1 Concept – 360 Degree Experience, one of MPC’s more recent projects in VR.