News

New York Times Launches 360° Series With Hollywood’s Best Actors

“Step inside the suspenseful world of film noir in a series of short virtual-reality films, and see what it’s like to be in a scene with the year’s best actors.”

Following last years mesmerizing 360° series Take Flight, The New York Times is at it again with their annual celebration of Hollywood’s best performers, this time bringing us nine film-noir style 360 videos in a series titled Great Performers. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and Ami Canaan Mann, the gorgeous B/W video series includes shorts with the likes of Natalie Portman, Sasha Lane, Kristen Stewart, Ruth Negga, Casey Affleck, and Don Cheadle.

portman

All set in a dimly lit bar, you as the VR camera, take on the role of traditional film noir archetypes in each video accompanying some of Hollywood’s best talent. The films were shot with Google Jump cameras and produced in collaboration with Milk(vr).

The roughly 2-minute long shorts will let you become Kristen Stewart’s dying lover who got caught in her crossfire, the bartender who sells out Don Cheadle that ends in his demise, or Natalie Portman’s wealthy fiancé who is trying to buy her love.

google-jump-camera-nyt-vr

In this 360° video series, you’ll end up sharing intimate moments with these actors in atmospheric settings that immediately make you feel like there is something that’s just not right. The allusive lighting is beautifully captured, adding drama to the narrative. The series also plays with expressive shadows that help direct the audience’s eye to where the action is happening.

nyt-vr-great-performers2

The outcome of these elements create a refreshing perspective on the classic film noir genre making you an integral persona in the shadowy narratives that follow. According to NYTVR, this was the first time these actors performed in VR, letting you join them taking on the role of an ex-lover, bookie, reporter or a cheating husband.

“There was one advantage over traditional filmmaking,” said Executive Producer, Jake Silverstein. “Unlike a typical film set, which is full of crew members and equipment and other distractions, the VR set, once the scene began, became a closed, immersive fantasy: just a bar, a few actors and the single camera rig standing in for one last character — which is to say, you.”

“The key difference between VR and traditional media is that VR can actually make you feel physically present inside a story. We decided to use that sense of presence to the fullest and place the audience directly into the scene with a world-caliber actor. You’re not simply observing the action, the actors are quite literally staring you in the eye and speaking directly to you. They yell at you, they blame you, they are devastated by your actions… and as an audience member you feel it right in your chest.” – Armando McIntyre-Kirwin, Director of Virtual Reality, Cofounder of Milk(vr)

You can watch the full series playlist below:

Photos courtesy of New York Times and Milk(vr)

About the Scout

Zeynep Abes

Zeynep is a new media artist who got her start at LACMA’s Art+Tech lab creating AR installations. She then worked at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival's New Frontier Exhibitions and is currently studying computer animation and game development for VR and AR.

Send this to friend