When it arrives in cinemas later this month, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One will give the world a glimpse of the future of virtual reality. It’s fitting, then, that the film’s production itself used current (and slightly older) VR and AR headsets to help define its vision.
In a recent interview promoting the film’s release (as reported by Slash Film), Spielberg noted that the production crew used “Oculus goggles” to recreate the Oasis metaverse that characters in the movie head to when they put on a VR headset. This way, actors could put a headset on and see what the world of the finished product would really look like (scenes in the Oasis are largely rendered in CG), giving them context for their acting.
Just to clarify, we used @oculus Rift, @htcvive, and @HoloLens during the filming of #ReadyPlayerOne, not just one headset. Each one was used at a different stage of production.
When shooting mocap, Rift. When scouting virtual cameras, Vive. When on the practical set, Hololens https://t.co/62Ikvwd0d7
— Girish Balakrishnan (@_MasterG_) March 18, 2018
There’s a little more to the story than that, though. Since Spielberg’s remarks were published several others have come forward to clarify that the production crew actually used several different headsets for different processes. Girish Balakrishnan, who worked on the movie’s visual effects, explained that the crew had indeed used the Oculus Rift for shooting mocap. However, it had also used the HTC Vive for “scouting virtual cameras” and, when everyone was on the practical set, they employed the use of Microsoft’s AR headset, HoloLens.
Oddly enough, Balakrishnan explained that the team didn’t use the consumer Oculus Rift for production but instead the kits second development kit (DK2), which came with a longer tether to the PC. Mocap was shot with the Vicon system and the entire virtual production of the film ran through the Unity engine.
It’s not the first time VR and AR have been used in a film’s production; the crew behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story also used headsets to envision the film’s scenes.
Ready Player One opens 29th March.