“Red Velvet” is one wacky ride, both in terms of content and experience, and it broke ground as the first scripted comedy put into a VR setting. As director Brendan Gibbons says, “There’s a huge desire for content, so we’re showing this is possible.” The play-like theatrical experience was filmed on a H3PRO7 GoPro rig with seven Hero4 Black 4k cameras.
The three-minute film stars trained improv actors in a job-interview-gone-wrong scenario: The employee being replaced spikes a coworker’s birthday cake with bath salts as vengeance, setting off comedically violent chaos. Brendan strategically created audio and verbal cues to attract the viewer’s attention to different parts of the 360 degree set while also giving subtle directorial hints to his actors.
Through this method, he was able to capture spot-on performances in a piece that unfolds in one single take.
The narrative of “Red Velvet” gives enough context to guide the viewer’s experience, but each trip into the world yields different results. You may at first notice the person clawing at the glass to your left, but another viewing reveals a large man stripping on the table behind you. “The challenge was to build a narrative around specific comedic beats that would fit together as a linear story but would also make people laugh no matter where they chose to look,” Brendan says. The replay-ability and immersion of the film is an excellent taste of the unique power of a well-crafted narrative VR piece.
Nominee: The Webby Awards (“Virtual Reality”)