The launch of #nytvr, a dedicated virtual channel by The New York Times, marked a massive step forward for the VR medium, as over one million Times subscribers received a Google Cardboard and instantly gained access to a whole new world of content. Framestore VR Studio was excited to be a part of this landmark project, designing and creating a VR film around the subject of biomimicry for brand partner General Electric.
The New York Times established their virtual reality channel, NYTVR, in October 2015, to share and promote groundbreaking virtual content amongst their vast readership. Framestore's challenge was to create pioneering content for the channel's debut that would tell the story of General Electric’s commitment to development whilst providing a meaningful experience for new consumers, remaining mindful that many of them were not familiar with Virtual Reality. The work needed to be both impactful and accessible, and, as always, take the medium somewhere new.
'Then came the New York Times’ astutely executed leap into virtual reality and what can I say? I’m hooked.'Howard Homonoff - Forbes, 11/16/15
Taking design cues from the publisher's paper heritage, The Nature of Industry unfolds an unparalleled narrative of technological biomimicry in a visually distinct environment. Framestore based the design on paper constructions; kaleidoscopes were dusted off to inform the animation effects, particularly for the mesmerizing bird wing sequence, all to highlight the hypnotic wonders of nature. The rich visuals are accompanied by a subtle text detailing the trajectory of biomimicry in industry through the ages.
A Creative Journey
The film, almost three minutes in length, was created entirely in CG and utilized the skills of various teams across Framestore. Concepts and designs born in the Design studio were passed to CG where the environment was modeled and textured; the Animation team then brought this colourful and beautifully crafted virtual world to life. ‘Making film for VR requires us to think in a more theatrical way’, explained CG Supervisor Andy Rowan-Robinson. ‘We looked to make sure key points were emphasised in the animation style, and further cemented in lighting. We had to evolve our ideas to be a specifically appropriate for a VR platform’.
The effect? Spectacular 360º animation that combines the natural world and the material quality of newspaper in a unique virtual landscape. Framestore VR Studio attributes the success of the film to a fantastic relationship with the NYT and GE, as well as the collaborative talents of the artists within. Said Maryanne Butler, Creative Director of the project: ‘We had amazing clients who embraced all of our creative input and an absolutely stellar team who took the original creative through to final picture. Having an idea that resonated across an entire team, from design to finish, made for a truly unique creative experience’.
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