Directed by Richard Nockles through Sky, the 360 film features Sky ambassador David Beckham entering a VR world along with an interface of floating orbs showcasing Sky Sports content. Instead of being a typical VR job, the idea helmed by Sky’s in-house creative team, encapsulates how people will view VR in the future. MPC was tasked with designing the VR and entertainment interface to bring this new perspective to life.
Throughout the piece the emphasis remains on an immersive experience where the viewer enters a VR world. Something that’s never been done before.
Creative and technical planning was pivotal to the project. A number of technical and production challenges stood out: integrating the various 360 worlds using green screen (including into 360s of events that hadn’t happened yet) the interaction with people and objects that weren’t there, and creating a 3D camera move in a virtual world featuring a 360 degree CG interface and environment.
As well as solving these challenges, MPC’s design team also set about concepting and crafting a CG design interface along with ‘glitches’ – each one in a different style. Working closely with Director Richard Nockles, MPC’s artists had creative freedom over the look and feel of the virtual world – pushing the boundaries of VR, while trying to maintain realism at the same time.
A huge amount of pre-planning was involved in this project, including designing the orbs and the way they interact, as well as the VR simulator and transitions between the worlds. Scenes in the pit lane required both a pre-vis and a tech-vis to pinpoint exactly where Beckham would be located in the scene and how he would realistically interact with the environment.
The MPC team of creative technologists and artists took the decision to shoot on a 8mm fish eye which allowed them to place Beckham close to the lens while still framing his entire body for the 360 degree view required. They also created a system to preview the undistorted environment on set, so the team could see what the shot would look like immediately - this was particularly helpful during the walk through a crowd of people on a football pitch.
MPC artists roto-animated a digital double of Beckham and placed him in the virtual world to ensure positioning was correct, and to inform realistic shadows and reflections in the various environments.