Production

Southpaw partnered with Happy Finish who are a professional retouching and interactive agency in London who specialise in immersive media. They did a fantastic job of modelling the interior of the cockpit and cabin with amazing levels of detail. It was important for Honeywell that the look-and-feel of the jet was not reminiscent of an existing model.

The Virtual Reality environment was developed with Unity3D, a piece of software traditionally used to build video games.

Together with the client we wrote the script for the voiceover. I created hand-drawn storyboards to help us visualise each story. There was a lot of information to fit into the experience and we were conscious of not bombarding the user with too much information as VR can be very claustrophobic. It was a delicate balancing act but we were happy with the results.

Technical

I worked very closely with Happy Finish to discuss issues of feasibility. The stories were carefully analysed and envisioned.

The VR headset that we used was the Oculus Rift (developer kit version 2) and was not yet publicly available. As with all beta releases, the software was buggy and had a tendency to change between runtime releases. This made the development process slightly challenging.

The final piece needed to run on a very fast high-spec PC with the latest graphics card installed. But, it also had to run on an iPad so we had to compromise on certain aspects of the rendering. Video rotoscoping had to be removed for the iPad and the quality of lighting and shading was slightly reduced.

I utilised my experience in iOS development and wrote a functional specification and UX document for the iPad version of the experience. The iPad app allowed Honeywell staff to collect data on participants whilst also allowing them to show the work to many people at once.

Results

Honeywell were very happy with the final piece of work and reported an increase in visits to their booth at MEBA. The VR Experience was mentioned in the trade press and was triumphantly showcased internally throughout their company.

I was personally gratified by working on the project with Southpaw and Happy Finish. Immersive Media is fascinating new media and the creative possibilities are endless.