theBlu: Deep Rescue The next step in immersive entertainment
At Wevr we believe in the evolving possibilities of the immersive medium. We have from the very beginning. And while this includes what is currently recognized as virtual reality, it is much more – it is VR, AR, immersive domes, and all the possibilities of spatial computing. At its core it’s really the obliteration of what separates an audience from the content they are consuming. The ability to, not merely observe, but to experience, to move inside.
Our brand is the innovation of immersive entertainment. We have explored the medium in many forms, from the psychedelic musical-comedy of Reggie Watts, a meditative journey with Deepak Chopra, to the reinvention of the music video with Run The Jewels and Tyler Hurd’s award winning Old Friend. Recently we teamed up with the late Paul Allen’s company Vulcan and their new immersive Holodome technology. Gnomes & Goblins, our ongoing collaboration with renowned film director Jon Favreau, utilizes animation and artificial intelligence to place audiences inside an ever expanding and fantastical world, allowing them a heightened sense of agency while interacting with seemingly sentient characters. As Wevr cofounder Anthony Batt explains, “We are not simply a VR or AR studio. We are a studio that makes all types of immersive content and is always thinking about how to use the newest technology to create the best experiences and stories.”
Before there was Wevr, we were individually pushing the boundaries of creative technology. Some of us are from the gaming world, innovating works like Call of Duty and The Sims. Others have been integral to innovations in online marketing creating platforms such as Buzzmedia/SpinMedia. Some of us have been involved in making movies and animation and visual effects on pioneering works such as Titanic, Avatar and The Jungle Book. And common to all, we share a passion for technology. When asked what it is we do, Wevr Cofounder and CEO Neville Spiteri replies simply, “We make immersive software. With heart”.
Wevr began with theBlu and the vision of creating a globally connected immersive digital ocean. It first started as an environmentally themed interactive undersea web app that we soon migrated into room scale virtual reality. The first episode, entitled Whale Encounter, featured an extraordinary close encounter with an 80 foot whale. Directed by Jake Rowell and produced by Neville Spiteri, the experience premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was quickly recognized as a preferred introduction to VR. The concept was initially inspired by an actual whale encounter producer Spiteri had years earlier in the Caribbean. “There is something extremely powerful and transcendent about having a close encounter with another intelligent species,” he explains. “And in virtual reality, we now have the ability to hint at that intense sense of connection.”
Director – Jake Rowell, Technical Director – Scott Reeser
The immersive landscape is continuing to evolve. One of the most exciting developments is the emergence of location based experiences. It is a way to bring an immersive show to the people, across cities and neighborhoods throughout the world, and a way to expand what is possible, both technologically and artistically. We began exploring this concept early on with theBlu, offering it at special venues such as the renowned Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.
With theBlu: Deep Rescue, Wevr and Dreamscape have teamed up to deliver a multiplayer experience propelled by a conservationist narrative. “There is a healthy tension between narrative and agency in VR,” Spiteri says. “And I think for this experience we’ve landed in a very good place. It allows us to really leverage what Wevr does best, which is high fidelity high immersion experiences.”
Unlike previous Blu episodes, this is a distinctly social experience, able to accommodate up to six people simultaneously with the ability to see and interact with one another. “We always wanted you to be in theBlu with other people,” Rowell says. “Our goal from the beginning was to create convincing avatars and experience this world with your friends. Having the opportunity to collaborate with Dreamscape and work on their platform helped make this a reality.”
Director – Jake Rowell, Technical Director – Scott Reeser
Dreamscape CEO Bruce Vaughn and chairman Walter Parkes collaborated closely with Wevr on the production of the experience. Vaughn explains, “Feeling what it’s like to be a member of an elite dive team on a mission to save an endangered blue whale is truly wish fulfillment beyond one’s wildest dreams and a huge step closer the realizing the ultimate promise of immersive entertainment”.
theBlu: Deep Rescue is undeniably entertaining, but it is more. It is a rare opportunity to experience something most people only dream about – the extraordinary sights and sensations of traveling deep beneath the waves and swimming right alongside giant blue whales with your friends. Even more, Deep Rescue allows you to viscerally experience the act of saving an endangered whale, hopefully sparking a newfound awareness of the urgent need to protect our oceans and their vulnerable inhabitants.
Immersive stories have the power to alter people’s perception, perhaps more than any other medium to date. By positioning an audience inside an experience and offering a sense of agency, it becomes something more than just passive observation. It is an experience and is processed as such. We are convinced that these types of experiences will continue to evolve technologically and creatively. They will draw an increasing number of consumers from across the globe into deeply engaging game sagas and compelling narrative journeys comparable to lucid dreams and actual life events. At Wevr, we are on an impassioned mission to create transcendent immersive stories and transformative globally shared experiences.