Be transported into a virtual reality world at Pause Fest

Published:  December 22, 2015
Jamuna Raj

Hollywood’s Ingenuity Studios is creating a virtual reality opening titles sequence for Pause Fest 2016.

Ingenuity Studios





The underground world, Edo, created by Ingenuity Studios

The air’s damp with foreboding and around her nothing stirs. Kee moves forward, stopping at every few steps to ensure that her grandfather Takeo is keeping up with her. They have to move forward; they have to find better lands. They have to leave Edo behind. Edo, once home to her, her family and everyone, is now left with no one. It’s now nothing but a hollow, dark shell of what it once was. Kee grabs hold of her grandfather’s worn hands. They have to move on. They have to continue this journey…

And their journey continues in February. This is not your regular short film, but the opening titles for Pause Fest. It celebrates the theme of discovery, but what’s even better is that these titles, entitled Edo, are in fact a virtual reality (VR) sequence.

That’s right. Guests at the upcoming Pause Fest can look forward to being immersed in that underground world and experience that journey of discovery alongside Kee and Takeo.


Join Kee on this journey of discovery

Created by Hollywood’s Ingenuity Studios, Edo marks a different genre of opening titles, one that is far more engaging and experiential.

Grant Miller, creative director and VFX (visual effects) supervisor of the studio, tells desktop that all the guests at the festival will need to do is download Edo on their phones via the Google Play Store and Apple Store. “We will be handing out Google Cardboards at the festival and what the guests need to do is put their smartphones into the device, look into the viewfinder and be transported into Edo.”

Miller has served as VFX supervisor on films like Whiplash and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, as well as on music videos, including Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’, which had elements of 3D. He says that this is Ingenuity Studios’ first ever VR project.


The underground world, Edo, created by Ingenuity Studios

“It was an excuse for us to do a cool VR project. Pause titles is a great opportunity and when we had the first phone call with [festival director] George Hedon, we discussed what he was looking for and what we needed to do to deliver. At that point, we didn’t know if we could commit, but it’s a great project and so we took the plunge,” adds Miller.

That plunge soon proved to work out for the teams at both Ingenuity Studios and Pause Fest. The development of the storyboards, the models and the technical details were done in two months, though Miller adds that it took a lot longer than expected to create the toolset that would work with VR.

The files were modelled and packaged in MODO – a 3D modelling, animation, sculpting, effects and rendering software package – and then exported into Unity, another piece of software that builds high-quality 3D and 2D games. The results are then deployed across mobile, desktop and VR consoles.

“We rendered the files in real time in Unity. This was important because we wanted to keep the final download size small and ensure that the final product is in high definition and made for two eyes and in a spherical structure in which the viewer is able to look around and be part of the sequence,” Miller says, adding that the real time rendering proved to be a challenge.

“That’s the biggest challenge with VR. We had to render the files in real time at 60 frames per second. This is unlike, say, Taylor Swift’s video where we could render the files for hours in post-production.”


The underground world, Edo, created by Ingenuity Studios

Another challenge, says Miller, was planning the shots for the entire sequence.

“We’re planning shots in a VR environment where the viewer is able to see everything, 360 degrees. It was a huge challenge to lay out all our shots and we had to ensure nothing was missed or overlooked, as that would ruin the entire experience for the viewer.

“We kept asking ourselves if we were in way over our heads, but we wanted to create something different and engaging for Pause Fest,” says Miller.

The team at Ingenuity Studios is now putting the final touches in place for the VR sequence that will be launched in February. With such attention to detail, cutting edge technologies and methods used, and a story that engages everyone, the team’s creation is so meticulously conceived you almost believe it’s real.

This article first appeared in the desktop-Pause special.
For more information on Pause Fest, click here. Get your early bird tickets now.

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