Here’s How Liquid Productions Solidified Their Position in the VR Industry
Liquid Productions is an award winning video production company based just outside of London, England. Currently a team of 13, the company was founded in 2012 by Matt Day and Oliver Hall. Matt came from a television background having worked at the BBC for 12 years as a successful Producer & Director. Oliver was from a corporate video background starting back in 2004.
After buying the Oculus Rift Developers Kit v2 in April 2015, Liquid immediately began working in VR/360. During our interview, Alex Green, Liquid Productions’ senior animator and design lead, agrees that 360 is an innovative way to experience video, which offers instant access to situations some might never otherwise experience. Working with many charities, the Liquid team feels 360 is also a really effective way to show in depth other people’s lives and evoke emotional connections.
Compassion in Kenya
Bringing Virtual Reality to the Living Room was their first effort in 360 video, marking the milestones technology has reached in bringing entertainment and information into people’s homes from the 1920s to today.
Much thought went into designing the audio and visuals of the video. A good example of this is the moment at the top of the skyscraper, crafted to heighten expectation and feeling. From the moment you pass across the top of the building, the whoosh of air as you pass the rooftop entrance to the left, the familiar roller-coaster ‘tick-tick’ to tell the viewer ‘yup, we’re gonna drop you’, the dramatic pause in the music, the rumble and rush of air as you plummet 100 storeys, digital sound and the epic music impact as you reach the bottom, transitioning, …or hitting the next scene. The experience wouldn’t be the same without any of these details.
Bringing Virtual Reality to the Living Room
Experience the London Blitz was a little bit of an experiment, and a project undertaken because of Alex’s personal interest in WWII, and concerns that the generation with first-hand experience of the war is slowly passing away. Based on the stories of the Blitz that he’d heard, this piece was Liquid’s effort to keep their story alive.
Using lots of old photos of the London Underground during the war, they created a 3D environment, hand-modelled all the elements and textures and brought it all together. The Blitz, as Alex imagines it, was harrowing and very audible, this 360 video turned out to be just that. Serving as a perfect testimony that 360 is still effective as an audible experience, complimented by simple visuals.
Experience the London Blitz
Speaking of his visions for VR, Alex told us he feels VR is too good to fail, but will take time before it gets close to any kind of mainstream, as the market is in need of quality hardware at an affordable price. He also mentioned that fully interactive VR will always be what drives this technology, nicely complimented by well captured 360 videos. Creating experimental animations has taken a backseat at Liquid Productions presently, but they are looking into ways of merging the two using VR gaming platforms, interacting with a 3D environment to control or interact with the video that surrounds you.
Recently they’ve also been looking into ‘binaural audio’, also known as VR for the ears. A technique using a physical dummy head closely between left and right microphones, to capture audio that’s far more accurate to what we actually hear than a standard stereo microphone setup. Liquid is currently working on a 360 experience, using the real-time visual effects of a gaming engine, together with captured binaural audio – and they see this as hyper immersion that must be tried.
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