IGN has just released part 1 of their new VR short Augmented on their YouTube channel featuring action by Eric Jacobus and his stunt team The Stunt People and directed by Blair Kelley of the hit short Wake Up Juice. Though best enjoyed through a VR device like an Oculus or Google Cardboard, any device can view the short.
Stunt coordinator Eric Jacobus and veteran Stunt People performers Dennis Ruel, Ray Carbonel, and Edward Kahana Jr. are joined by new talents Allen Quindiagan and Eddie Ray Johnson III. The first episode puts the viewer in the position of a scientist held captive in a medical bay, and follows the action into a hallway gunfight which ends in an explosion. The viewer experiences the explosion in a bullet-time sequence where they can view the carnage in full VR 3D.
Eric Jacobus coordinated with stunt riggers Mike Martinez and Paul Crawford to create the effect of bodies suspended mid-air during the explosion. Stuntman Allen Quindiagan spent the better part of the day hanging on wires from the ceiling, while the remote-controlled camera drove under his body through the middle of the blast.
Jacobus details the difficulties of shooting a stunt scene like this in VR:
If we did this stunt the old fashioned way, we could have hung Allen up anywhere in the room because we could have used a more elaborate rig and kept it hidden out of frame. But in VR, there is no frame. The viewer sees everything. So we had to use what anchors there were in the ceiling at the location, which required meeting with the building manager to make sure we weren’t tying Allen to an insecure spot.
Action is a challenge in VR. The viewer is experiencing a 360 degree world, so cutting the shot can be jarring for the viewer. What cutting there is has to be deliberate, but generally the action scenes have to be shot with no cuts. And since the technology is so new, I wasn’t able to review the shots until the following day, which meant everyone had to hit their marks perfectly.
Part 2 of Augmented to be released soon.