Just when I think I’m getting tired of 360-degree video I see something beautiful like Take Flight from the New York Times and VR production company VRSE.works. The film is 3 minutes and 43 seconds beginning on a street and moving to a dreamy sequence among the clouds featuring slow-motion snippets of Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Lily Tomlin, Melissa McCarthy, Benicio del Toro, Jason Mitchell, and Jacob Tremblay floating all around the viewer. The actors were picked “as the year’s best” by NY Times critic A.O. Scott.
Unfortunately, I could only make out a few of the actors in the VR scene because there aren’t enough pixels on current phones to see the kind of detail needed to recognize a face. Nonetheless, the beautiful music and perfect compositing of a completely computer-generated space with real-life actors floating all around me was a surreal and gorgeous sight. The film is another product of a partnership between the New York Times and VRSE.works. They previously produced VR documentary The Displaced and Walking NY together.
This most recent Take Flight VR production is part of a “Great Performers” annual series of videos by the New York Times focusing on the work of actors. You can see one of the videos from this year’s series embedded below, featuring del Toro:
In the VR version of the project, del Toro is shown shattering glass with shards flying by the viewer in every direction.
The project was directed by Vrse.works creator Daniel Askill, who said this about the project in a prepared statement:
I’m definitely a convert to the incredible potential of Virtual Reality after working on this project for the New York Times. The visceral response that people of all different backgrounds have when given the chance to try this new technology is undeniable.