Although we have seen a number of car brands give consumers the opportunity to experience driving in the driver’s seat on a racetrack or winding down a country road, sometimes there isn’t a strong enough storytelling component to keep viewers engaged throughout the film.
MINI USA however is not just giving fans a look at their 4-door hardtop with standard 360-degree cockpit live action shots. Instead the company is stepping up their game and maximizing the use of VR storytelling with the launch of two immersive films that are sure to keep viewers engaged, while still showing off the car features.
“Backwater” follows a heist that takes an unexpected turn, action-packed with a fight scene in a fish market.
“Real Memories” features Max as he travels down a mysterious road to uncover his past.
The two VR short films run around 6 minutes each and make use of real actors, real sets, and traditional film techniques. Although the set may look like a standard film shoot, the cameras have been replaced with 360-degree stereoscopic VR rigs. The two films were created with VR production studio UNIT9, VR post-production house 361VR, and digital agency KKLD.
KKLD CTO Stephan Lämmermann agrees that VR can bring you to places you have never seen before, “but then unfortunately not that much is actually happening. We wanted to change that and bring some exciting storytelling to this.”
Nine RED Dragon 6K cameras were used to film most of the scenes while a more compact seven GoPro rig was used for shooting in car. All the cameras were shot in stereo pairs to get the full 3D effect.
In addition to the release of the films, MINI is also giving out pairs of MINI Cardboard viewers for fans to experience the full 360-degree experience. They are expected to give away 140,000 of these custom cardboard viewers.
Both live-action VR short films show the potential of what future film storytelling will look like. As you view the films with a VR headset, looking around at the different actors around you, it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a film play out. It feels like a theater show and you have the best seats in the house. As UNIT9 director Gevorg Karensky puts it, “Live-action virtual reality is like a chemical bond between theatre and gaming.”