LESSONS IN VR: DISNEY’S HIT 3D CONCERT FILM

ONE SIMPLE QUESTION LEADS TO MILLIONS OF FANS

By Robb Wagner

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In an age where just about everybody wants to create VR, what lessons can VR learn from 3D? Was just being 3D enough to create success? Did pointing 3D cameras at a concert make an experience?

CASE STUDY: DISNEY’S HANNAH MONTANA 3D CONCERT FILM

In 2007 I was asked by Disney to help direct the “Hannah Montana 3D Concert Film”. Disney had their Director, a top film team and James Cameron’s ‘Pace’ 3D camera system. But they didn’t have experience filming a live-concert in one take, which is where Stimulated, Inc. stepped in.

We knew going to see the movie would need to be as exciting as attending the concert, so that’s the end-goal we started with. We let that guide our process.

ASK: WHAT IS THE DESIRED EXPERIENCE NEEDED TO CREATE A LASTING IMPRESSION? THEN NEVER COMPROMISE THE VISION.

A typical approach to filming a concert would have been to look at the arena blueprint and ask, “where should we put our cameras to film the concert?” Instead we asked, “how can we create the desired 3D experience?” To find the answer we attended weeks of production rehearsals at Disney Studios in Burbank, followed by weeks of sold-out concerts across the country. Going inside the concert audience was critical. That led us to form a vision for the 3D experience we needed to create.

Director Bruce Hendricks made two key decisions. He put his cameras in the audience and he didn’t try to hide them. Just the opposite, we put the cameras in places where they could become features of the movie. These decisions added unique 3D layers, dimensions and excitement to the film.

By giving the movie-going audience a concert audience POV, we upgraded the movie into an experience. By featuring the cameras we upgraded the experience into an event.

hannah2Starting with the beginning would have only led us to point cameras at a concert. Starting with the end led us to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for millions of young girls, and a runaway 3D hit movie for Disney.

IMAGINE WHERE YOU WANT YOUR PROJECT TO END UP AND REVERSE ENGINEER A PLAN TO GET THERE.

Will just being VR be enough or will VR need to create the experience? The answer seems obvious and the opportunity is exciting.

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Robb Wagner checking out the VR experience at the Directors Guild of America.

 

 

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