The era of 360-degree filmmaking is upon us. Google, in collaboration with The Mill and production company Bullitt, has released the 360-degree short film "HELP" for free on Google's mobile storytelling platform Spotlight Stories. The film is full of explosions, aliens, and action all within a beautiful 360-degree world.
The groundbreaking film combines live-action filmmaking and VFX all within a 360-degree space users can explore on their mobile device. Moving their device around, users can experience different parts of the scene, creating different narratives to play depending on what users look at.
Directed by Hollywood filmmaker Justin Lin, the film forced The Mill and Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team, the group behind Spotlight Stories, to solve new challenges to create a seamless 360-degree film.
The Mill developed their own software to stitch video together from their custom built, four-camera rig. Both on set and in postproduction, the filmmakers were able to review footage on their mobile devices in 360-degree space using The Mill's custom app. This was a filmmaking first, giving the director the ability to review the 360-degree footage right on set and to make changes based on that information.
Just last week at Google's I/O developer event, Google released a rig utilizing 16 GoPros aimed at filmmakers to help foster the adoption of 360-degree filmmaking. With this latest film, it's clear Google is invested in 360-degree filmmaking and virtual reality.
So is 360-degree filmmaking the next big thing? Skeptics say that the immersive reality breaks down the fourth wall of filmmaking and creates a difficult situation for the viewer to suspend disbelief. It's undeniably a huge technical advancement in film production, but will it catch on or go the way of 3D televisions and simply become a gimmick? Time will tell.
[via The Mill]