UK newspaper The Guardian has already proved itself to be an enthusiastic supporter of virtual reality (VR), having produced several VR experiences, including an affecting tribute to Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi. The latest, titled Celestial Motion, is a VR dance experience.
Celestial Motion was made with the Alexander Whitley Dance Company, in association with Sadler’s Wells and uses a combination of contemporary dance and motion capture to explore the movement of the solar system.
The VR piece allows users to switch between watching human dancers perform and a more cosmic world where ethereal figures perform the same choreography, with the aim of depicting the relationship humans have with the sun.
The Celestial Motion VR experience was created in two halves, with the costumed dancers filmed in front of YouTube Space’s 360 green screen studio in London, while the virtual world was created by recording the dancers wearing motion capture suits. The Guardian’s VR team worked together with Luca Biada of production studio FENYCE to finalise the project.
Shehani Fernando, director, virtual reality, Guardian News & Media, said: “Celestial Motion is our first arts-inspired virtual reality project and one which lets viewers switch between two worlds, further exploring how audiences can interact with the medium of VR. We’re extremely pleased with the way in which choreography, visuals and interactivity have come together to produce a powerful immersive performance.”
Alexander Whitley, said: “Exploring the new creative possibilities opened up by digital technology is a defining principle of my company. I’m thrilled, to have worked with The Guardian in the creation of this new virtual reality dance experience. I’m as excited by what dance has to bring to this new platform as I am by the opportunity it presents for creating and experiencing new forms of dance performance.”
Celestial Motion can be viewed on Google Daydream through The Guardian’s mobile app and will be available on YouTube 360 later this year. VRFocus will bring you further news on other VR projects from The Guardian as they become available.