Earlier this week we posted about how the virtual reality experiences at Coachella went unnoticed in the first weekend. Some of you who attended agreed and reported that the experiences were easy to miss. Well hopefully this makes up for it!
We got an exclusive opportunity to speak with Greg Edwards, co-founder of VRation, who gave us the scoop behind their latest virtual reality project, Coachella Explorer, that just went live for everyone to view this week. Coachella Explorer was shown off in the Samsung tent during the festival to individuals that happened to stumble across the tucked away experience.
Compatible with Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift DK2, or as a standalone app, Coachella Explorer allows you to roam the festival fields in a 360-degree panoramic experience, complete with multi-media art and content captured on the grounds.
So whether you’re a past festival attendee or someone with a bad case of FOMO, Coachella Explorer will take you through every inch of the Empire Polo Grounds. From security barrier entrance to the Sahara Tent or even that Asian BBQ stand, you can fly your way to each location without ever bumping into a shirtless dude. Switching between midday, dusk, and nighttime environments will also immerse you in the full weekend long experience.
Passion Project Turned Coachella VR
Greg Edwards and his co-founder Randy Mills of VRation pushed themselves to create something new for festival attendees to enjoy this year. What started out as a DIY experiment, soon turned into a two yearlong passion project. The Coachella Explorer project, which started out as an unsolicited endeavor, soon got more serious as festival organizers caught on and helped nurture the project to fruition. Mostly staying out of the way of both Edwards and Mills to create the experience, the two were amped to try and finish the project in time for Coachella 2015.
Will The Project Be Completed?
Sadly, the 31-year old Mills passed away mere weeks before his project’s initial release leading up to Coachella 2015, and the day after Edwards and Mills put the final touches on their two year project. The tragedy of Randy Mills stunned the Coachella community and shocked Edwards, who had been working hand-in-hand with Mills throughout the entire process.
Greg Edwards knew he had to push forward, for the community, and most importantly for Randy. Edwards shared that, “basically up to this point it has been get this thing out and don’t let Randy down.”
When speaking about Coachella, Edwards reflected, “This is home for a lot of people, it’s a pilgrimage coming back every year, especially with Randy, that was his life for 8 years, coming back every year.”
Let’s make a way for people to come back whenever they want.
Edwards shares much admiration for the community and for the Coachella organizers where he stated that working with Coachella has been a “dream come true.” He couldn’t be more happy to see the Coachella Explorer experience finally see the day of the light and the opportunity for Randy Mills’ dream of anyone having the ability to re-visit the Coachella grounds, a reality, even if it is just virtual reality.
As a homage to his partner Randy Mills, Edwards let us in on a little secret when viewing the Coachella Explorer, “There is an Easter egg of Randy hidden somewhere in there.” So get searching!
Edwards is currently capturing content at this year’s Coachella to soon supplement the Coachella Explorer experience in the near future. So expect to see Edwards roaming the Polo Fields for the second weekend with camera gear in hand and just maybe Randy Mills will show up again, this time in the virtual reality Coachella 2015 that he so wanted to attend.
When asked what is next for Greg Edwards and virtual reality, he responded, “I can’t wait to find out too!”
You can download the Coachella Explorer here.
VRScout will continue to bring you the best of immersive storytelling projects and virtual reality cinema news.
Photos Courtesy of Greg Edwards. Denise Nafarrete contributed to this article.