For all of our FoolVR supporters and fans, we have an update! We completed production and are now in post (happy dance)!
As we announced after our Indiegogo campaign, we had to adjust our concept to fit the new budget we had to work with. The solution we found was that instead of creating a hybrid 360video/VR experience, we would turn it into a full VR experience because it made the production a lot cheaper. I know it sounds crazy that creating a CGI environment in a game engine and 3D scanned avatars would be more affordable than shooting the experience in live-action, but at this point stitching footage is still much too labor intensive and hence very expensive. There are a lot of smart people working on effectively automating the stitching process so that professional live-action 360 VR production can in the future fall into a realistic budget range. We are not there yet and so we adjusted Falling Out of Love accordingly.
Since it was important to not loose the “realness” factor for the experience, the only other option we saw was to go the route of 3D scanning and photogrammetry. We would capture the performance of the dancers in motion capture and then apply the 3D scan of them onto the mocap animation.
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Javier Molina, a professor at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering; he came and spoke on the panel From Film to Headset I organized for IFP & Film Fatale; who specializes in just that. Javier is currently producing the incredible experience To Be With Hamlet, a live theater multi-user VR experience, which utilizes all these components. Javier graciously agreed to join our project and support us in the motion capture, 3D scanning, and avatar modeling aspect.
Once this happened, everything moved very fast. We immediately went into auditions and cast Kouryou Ngin and Athéna Zelcovich for the part of the love-torn couple. Only 3 days later we went into the motion capture session. The fantastic dancer Tanielle Powell came in and filled in for some of the female characters dance parts. And on the weekend we completed the 3D scanning session.
Now Javier and his team are feverishly working on fabricating our avatars while the company Evolving Technologies and I are building the environment for our avatars in the Unreal game engine.
Below are some photos and Snapchat videos to give you a little peek behind the scenes and something to enjoy until we can bring you some further news and updates about the project. We all can’t wait to take you to the Holodeck Room and into the Metaverse very soon!