A new live-action VR experience has been unveiled by Immotion Group – Swimming with Humpbacks. This world-first experience provides a rare glimpse and insight into one of the most mysterious creatures on the planet, the giant Humpback whale. – Global Amusement & Play
This new ‘breath-taking’ VR experience is exclusively available on Immotion’s VR Cinematic motion pods at the Company’s ImmotionVR stores.
As reported by Global Amusement & Play, “Building on Immotion’s VR aquatic expertise, the experience [Swimming with Humpbacks’] is the first installment in Immotion’s Blue Ocean Aquarium series. To create it, the Company joined forces with Jeff Hester, a leading free-diving cinematographer. He successfully filmed a pod of humpback whales in live action VR in the Kingdom of Tonga [171 islands located between Hawaii and New Zealand] on migration from Antarctica during the mating season.
”Virtually every move the whales made has been captured. Viewers can witness incredible scenes including a female giving birth and bonding with her calf, young whales playing, and a frenetic heat run. During the heat run, males vie for the attention of the female whale and chase her in an ocean sprint that can go on for hours.
“As well as Immotion VR Cinematic motion pods, consumers will soon be able to enjoy this fantastic experience in the comfort of their home through SonyVR, as well as through mobile downloads on IOS and Android.
Martin Higginson, CEO of Immotion Group, said: “At Immotion, we are always looking to push the boundaries of VR. What we’ve managed to capture is truly breath-taking. The film provides an incredible insight into these elusive creatures. The experience makes full use of the visual, sound and motion capabilities of our VR Cinematic motion pods to deliver our customers something ground-breaking and memorable. We are excited about future installments of our Blue Ocean Aquarium series, and demonstrating the power of VR to engage and thrill audiences.”
Ian Liddell, Immotion’s Group Creative Director, added: “This film is a first for VR. People can experience something they may have only dreamed about until now. Thanks to this piece of immersive filming, it’s possible for them to get up close with humpback whales.
“This is a truly remarkable achievement to get so near to such a magnificent and endangered species. One of the great challenges was that our cinematographer, Jeff Hester, couldn’t scuba dive around the whales as the bubbles it generated would have disturbed them. He had to hold his breath for up to four minutes at a time while keeping up with the whales. Each whale can weigh 40 tons and move at speeds of 15 mph.
“At certain points, our camera is just three inches away from the whales’ pectoral fins. From seeing them show dominance by rolling over and flapping their fins, a mother bonding with her calf, to the young whales gaining their independence – we’ve captured it all.”
What this could mean? FCDN first reported on Immotion’s VR Cinema Pods back on 2-12-19 “Immotion Group Secures a Major Contract with Merlin Entertainments. It appears that ‘Swimming with Humpbacks’ will be rolled out to the 49 Sea Life Centers. Here is a perfect example of how a major entertainment company can utilize the ‘buzz attraction’ of VR and their own brand to increase frequency of visitation and increase their target market. And you can bet that there are more short-film VR experiences in Immotion’s pipeline.
The out-of-home entertainment industry is in growth mode and existing family entertainment centers need to keep up to date as to who their competition really is and start taking steps to increase their own brand and stay relevant. It is not a difficult challenge but it will take detailed planning and, of course, a continuous re-investment. FCDN will always try to keep its readers ahead of the curve.