June 22

Escape the Night: “Welcome to Everlock in VR180°”

At Wevr we believe it’s important to continually explore in the immersive space.  These remain early days and it’s important to find out what works and how. It’s one of the reasons we are so excited to have produced the new 180° 3D experience for the Youtube series Escape The Night. The show is a murder mystery reality competition  featuring popular YouTube stars.”  The accompanying VR experience uses striking visuals to both tease the new season and reveal which stars will the be featured.

The experience,  entitled “Escape the Night Season 3:  Welcome to Everlock, was created by Lex Halaby, a director well versed in both conventional and immersive filmmaking. Many of us became aware of Halaby back in 2009 with his b-movie horror film music video for the band Man Man starring Fred Armisen and Charlyne Yi.  Since then Lex has directed an assortment of visually exploratory commercials, music videos and VR spots.

“I was always involved in the technical side of making commercials which translated into wanting to explore interactive projects,” Halaby explains.  “Five years ago I got my hands on a development kit for the oculus DK1 and began to explore how it could apply to narrative storytelling.”

The Escape the Night experience was created in 180°3D  instead of full 360°.  It was deliberate choice. The format, which Google and Daydream are currently working with,  delivers a number of visual advantages including higher resolution and increased flexibility for camera moves.

Anthony Batt, EVP Wevr, says, “The 180° format is intriguing and we think Lex made a great use of it’s capabilities. Google is pushing the right direction with this.”

The Escape the Night experience is visually striking on many levels, the compositions and special effects pulling the audience in. We move through a vibrant carnival landscape as an evocative version of  the song “Sympathy For The Devil” plays, passing series stars frozen in mid movement while an assortment of items – pocorn, drinks, etc – float past, practically touching our eyes.

The new 180° 3-D format allows for twice the resolution with the same file size.   A  complaint with 360°  has been that it is blurry. The increase in resolution with 180° allows the picture to appear far more crisp. It also allows one to place objects much closer to the camera in 3-D, because there is no stitching

“I promised the show’s creator Joey Graceffa that we wouldn’t do a basic VR experience,” Halaby says. “That we would come up with a visual hook that had not been done before and that would make people want to see it in VR. So lightning strikes and the world freezes, and then we’re moving through scenes that are frozen in time. And you can only really get the full effect of this if you’re looking at it in VR.”

You can experience Escape the Night Season 3 | Welcome to Everlock in VR180 here!