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BWW Review: SCORING the Last Jedi: A 360 VR Experience

BWW Review: SCORING the Last Jedi: A 360 VR Experience

SCORING THE LAST JEDI: A 360 VR EXPERIENCE gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the creation of the iconic score from the latest Star Wars installation, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. SunnyBoy Entertainment, a full-service creative studio in Pasadena, California, developed the video, giving fans of the film an immersive 360-degree look into John William's score.

The 7-minute VR experience walks you through the Academy Award-winning composer's process of creating the emotional sound for THE LAST JEDI with the 100+ piece orchestra. Viewers are able to see the process that goes into recording the sound for a film. The 360 VR experience keeps viewers engaged by allowing them to choose what they want to see.

John Williams and the film's director, Rian Johnson, give insight intoTHE LAST JEDI's 183-minute soundtrack. The video highlights the unique instruments used in the creation of the sound for the Canto Bright casino planet scenes, including kazoos connected to horns and plastic trumpets.

The creators of SCORING THE LAST JEDI: A 360 VR EXPERIENCE and SunnyBoy Entertainment, Craig S. Phillips and Harold Hayes, Jr., took the time to speak with me about the creation of this VR experience.

How did the two of you meet and start SunnyBoy Entertainment?

Craig Phillips and I met at the University of Georgia as Telecommunication Arts colleagues. We ended up moving to Los Angeles in the early 2000s and worked in various parts of the entertainment industry as producers, editors, and writers. We decided to join forces as SunnyBoy Entertainment to create innovative creative content for our clients and focus on producing original IP as filmmakers and screenwriters.

What draws the two of you to create VR content?

Once we began to explore VR content as a by product of our work in visual effects, we realized that the rules had not yet been defined for creating storytelling in VR. Thus, VR is a ripe arena to explore and experiment. Being able to be immersed in a world in an all encompassing way adds new dimension to the storytelling medium when compared to TV and film.

What made you guys decide to create THE LAST JEDI: A 360 VR EXPERIENCE?

Lucasfilm contacted us at SunnyBoy to craft shot OZO footage on the set of THE LAST JEDI. They wanted a piece on John Williams and we scoured through the footage and crafted a story that is similar to a short documentary but in stereoscopic 360 degrees. We also included 2D materials, like the feature and interviews not shot in 360, and had to find way to present them in a 3D environment, like the movie theater set.

What is the process of creating a VR video?

When we first started creating VR videos we took our standard approach of trying to find the storyline or objective and build around that starting point. After gaining some experience, we now attempt to define how and where a VR video will be displayed or presented to the public. This is important to know how to shoot materials and equally as important after the raw video has been shot and are now moving into the post-production process. We storyboard and create animatics that are aware of the 360 medium. We sometimes have to scan and or shoot 360 plates for environments and we even composite green-screen elements into the environments after they've been built and captured. Editorial and 360 sound design is paramount to bringing a decent VR video to fruition.

Did the video turn out as you expected or was there anything that surprised you about the process?

We encounter surprises in every video we create. The crew boldly moved the 360 camera on the set of THE LAST JEDI via a Steadi-cam operator. The motion was very fluid but that puts a camera operator into a very close proximity to the viewer which could make for an uncomfortable viewing state. We ended up having to remove the operator from view which allowed for you to be smoothly transported through the halls of the set.

Do you think VR is the future of entertainment?

I think VR will have a lasting effect on the future of entertainment. Traditional films and TV will still have their place in entertainment, but without a DOUBT as technology and artistry become more efficient in delivering quality content over more adoptable devices, VR will hold its share in the entertainment space. You get to step into the world of your favorite movies like Star Wars and create a true memory of that experience because your mind at least tour the world of THE LAST JEDI and behold a master composer conduct his musicians while creating a beautiful piece of art.

Do you have any upcoming projects you could tell us about?

We wanted to play in more than VR video. We are now creating stories and games in "room-scale, 6 dof" environments. One such project we are releasing on Steam this May 8th, 2018 is HUMBLE PIE. It's a short game that grew to completion out of us exploring new techniques. It's a snackable piece of fun that we like to call VR Therapy. Check out the website at www.humblepiegame.comand enjoy the satire in VR.

SCORING THE LAST JEDI: A 360 VR EXPERIENCE is available now for free at this Youtube link:

IMAGE Courtesy of: SunnyBoy Entertainment

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