Seated inside Felix & Paul Studios and Cirque du Soleil’s new 14-minute 3D 360° cinematic experience, a young girl approaches me. She knowingly lifts the mask resting on the bed of flowers between us, and slowly places it on her head. And then I’m transported into the first scene of the imaginative, Mexican-inspired world of Through the Masks of LUZIA.
With each scene transition, we both return to discover a new mystic mask, sitting in this space that seems to exist somewhere between reality and the magical worlds on the Cirque du Soleil stage. For a moment in time, when this mysterious girl puts each new mask on, I see myself in her. Except instead of a mask, I have on my Samsung Gear VR, and I’m placed next to a roaming jaguar, a demigod of rain, a butterfly, and more engaging creatures.
Felix and Paul always begin their story development by defining the role of the viewer. The beauty of Cirque du Soleil worlds is the range of characters that they can allow their audience to be in their immersive experiences. Through the Masks of LUZIA takes advantage of the ability to play with scale in VR, shifting the size and perspective of the viewer’s character in each scene, from human to bug-sized. The change in viewer size has a brilliant effect on how each scene feels, and offers another reason for viewers of Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA A Walking Dream of Mexico show, to also experience the complementary 360 content. This is the first-ever piece developed using both hyper-stereoscopy and hypo-stereoscopy processes.
Through the Masks of LUZIA is now available for free on in the Oculus Store and this Fall it will launch on the new Cirque du Soleil VR App that will house a complete catalog of the cinematic masterpieces of their collaboration with Felix & Paul, including Inside the Box of Kurios, KA: The Battle Within, and DREAMS OF ‘O’.