Tech Breakthrough: SILVER
Into the Storm - Oculus 4D Experience
Objectives and Challenges:
For most, the average film going experience is completely passive. While the re-introduction of 3D into mainstream film has been a partial enhancement, a true, visceral immersion has yet to be had. For the premier of Warner Brothers’ action-packed disaster thriller ‘Into the Storm,’ Omnicom Media Group and Thinkingbox, a Canadian digital production house based primarily out of Vancouver, decided to change this.
The objective was simple: put users directly in the film by placing them into the path of an inbound F5 tornado. This would not only deliver an immersive, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but would allow users to connect with the movie and Warner Brothers brand while creating buzz and fuelling conversations prior to the film’s release.
Insight, Concept and Execution:
The solution came in the form of an immersive 4D activation featuring the Oculus Rift DK2. Donning the Oculus headsets and entering a custom glass booth, users would be transported to Silverton, Oklahoma where an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes has left the entire town at the mercy of the erratic and deadly weather. Forced to find shelter in a storm drain, the activation throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme.
We started with a custom-built glass booth that housed four industrial-sized fans that ramped up to 1400 rpm and two 80 psi air compressors overhead. Next, 1000 watt low frequency audio transducers were placed beneath each seat to create body-shaking bass rumbles. The VR content, inspired by a climactic scene from the film, was built using the Unity game engine with a fully-rendered 3D environment using real-time physics simulations and digital set pieces from the film. To capture users’ experiences, we recorded a live feed from their Oculus headset. This footage was overlaid with reaction shots captured by a webcam integrated into the booth, which they could then share via social media.
Results and Impact:
The ‘Into The Storm’ booth is amazingly immersive because it is the perfect combination of cutting edge technology, virtual efects and storytelling, and together they bring this film to life like it has never been done before. The activation premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2014, toured across the United States, down to Mexico, and then over the Atlantic to Europe. Thousands of users experienced the activation first-hand and were amazed at how real the experience seemed, noting that it felt as if they had truly just survived a storm. Impact was immediate and widespread with press coverage of the event appearing nationally and abroad via online articles, industry blogs, social media, and world of mouth. The #IntoTheStorm hashtag has reached over 7 million impressions and counting, and the the film premiered at $18 million (USD) at the box office its opening weekend. The results are clear: movie fans were thrilled to become a part of the film and go into the storm to survive a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Client: Into The Storm
Production Studio Thinkingbox
Creative Director: Troy Graham Art Director: Kevin Mak 3D Artists: David Holicek (Lead 3D & Motion Designer), Nick Torres (Character Animator), Juan Vasquez (3D Modeler) Technology Director: Michael Vay Lee Developers: Leif Stroman, Justin Desjardins, Mabia Cavalcante, Jean-Michel Saulnier, Kit Kong (Developer), Kevin Prendergast Digital Producer: Katherine J. Wong, Natasha Lakhani Strategy Officer: Amir Sahba
Creative Agency: Omnicom Media Group
Agency Team: Chris Denson, Suzy Ryoo, Maia Knudsen-Schule