The five-minute sequence focuses on the Spanish Inquisition. Practical Magic shot Fassbender in London on set at Pinewood Studios, which is where you’ll get an up-close 360-degree view of the new Animus created for the film, as well as in Malta. The team used drones and cameras to capture the sets during production. But the bulk of the VR experience was filmed in Los Angeles, in order to get up-close-and-personal with a cast of over 50 actors.
Just as the feature film draws inspiration from the unique parkour and fighting elements that gamers are used to experiencing, this 360-degree story also taps into those interactive roots.
Paying respects to the franchise
There are also some Easter Eggs for gamers baked into this VR experience, something Kurzel is also doing with the feature film.
When fans watch the feature film, they’ll see a big screen Leap of Faith, which was shot with real stunt people and not the magic of CGI, according to Kurzel.
Lewis said creating the Leap of Faith in VR required a combination of techniques, including motion control, matte painting, and a live-action plate of Fassbender shot on stage in London. All of these elements were put together into one long shot by VFX artists at Practical Magic in Burbank.
Only a beginning
Practical Magic partnered with AMD to bring the cinematic world to VR through Oculus Rift. According to Roy Taylor, who heads up the AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) studio team in Hollywood, the more cameras you have running at higher resolutions, the better the 360 will be. But each step up in resolution creates additional demands on the computation needed for editing and stitching.
“If you can see the stitch then the sense of immersion is lost,” Taylor told DigitalTrends. “So the stitching software is an essential tool.” This demand is what lead to the creation of Radeon Pro Solid State Graphics (SSG), which allows editing of RAW 8K video in real time at up to 93 frames per second. Beginning in January, AMD is partnering with Radiant Images, one of Hollywood’s leading 360 camera companies, to deliver SSG solutions to filmmakers. Fox and Practical Magic had early access to this technology for Assassin’s Creed VR.
“There are a lot of ways to experience VR and 360 video now, and frequently you’ll find the better hardware you have, the better the experience,” Lewis said. “That’s certainly true for Assassin’s Creed VR, which we’re distributing at 60 FPS (frames per second) in 4K. Watching it at low-resolution, or on a hamstrung system, just breaks my heart.”
And this is just the beginning of 360-degree storytelling.
“We’re in the Pong era of VR, which is an exciting time to be a part of any emerging art form or technology,” Lewis said. “Filmmakers are just beginning to translate their talents into the language of VR, and it’s all blue sky as far as I’m concerned. Every time I’ve heard someone suggest steadfast rules about what you can and can’t do in VR or 360 I’ve just chuckled to myself. There are no rules, yet.” […]