Figment Productions’ Cinematic VR Experience, Kinch And The Double World, has been nominated for both ‘Best British Experience’ and ‘Best Cinematic VR Experience’ at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival to be held in London this September.

Figment has been recognised for its Cinematic VR Experience, with not one, but two nominations at this year’s Raindance Film Festival.

After being shortlisted from over 400 applicants for the VR Theatre at the 2018 SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Conference in Vancouver earlier this month, Kinch and the Double World will have its world premier in London this September at the 26th Annual Raindance Film Festival’s Gallery of Immersive Stories and Interactive Worlds. The experience will be shown in the OXO Tower, on London’s Southbank.

The story tells of a young street urchin named Kinch, living in Victorian London, he steals a loaf of bread and is pursued by a policeman. Taking refuge in an old Vaudeville theatre, he meets a magician who saves him from the attentions of the police by transporting him to a parallel universe where magic is real. Viewers will wear the Oculus Go to watch the story reveal itself in this immersive VR Theatre.

Kinch & The Double world was created as a testbed for new cinematic VR production techniques including the use of lightfields. The 360° film elements, captured using a mix of camera rigs including Google Jump and Nokia OZO, was filmed across four Victorian-period locations in the UK. The final piece features a mixture of 360 video filmed on location with live actors, CGI environments and visual effects, lightfield shots, LIDAR scanned environments and real-time interactive elements.

Figment’s primary objective was to create an original immersive virtual reality experience that would provide real-world production challenges for the technology toolchain. Lightfields were a particular focus. Actors were captured on blue-screen with a custom lightfield capture system built at the University of Surrey who also worked on core technology for volumetric video generation and real-time streaming playback. The Foundry developed techniques to edit the lightfields in Nuke and to stream them into a real-time engine with free-viewpoint video rendering to support viewer head movement. As part of the project Figment also explored storytelling techniques in virtual reality using a combination of 360° video and real-time CGI. Multiple versions of the film have been created including a lightfield version and a non-lightfield real-time interactive version.

Figment also created a behind the scenes making of video of the experience, and is available to watch here:

Simon Reveley, CEO of Figment said: “Kinch and the Double World is an original cinematic VR experience but it has an unusual origin story of its own. Its primary purpose was to be the test case for a government funded research project called ‘ALIVE’. With government funding from Innovate UK we worked with technology partners (Foundry and the University of Surrey) whose tasks were to develop the core tech and the toolchain that would facilitate next generation production techniques particularly around 360° video and lightfields.”

He continues: “Our role was to generate the real-world demands of an actual production rather than just a series of test scenarios so we decided to create the VR equivalent of a short film. Several members of the Figment team pitched in ideas and we selected the one which both excited us most and provided the right range of production scenarios for the objectives of the ALIVE project. Our production team worked on Kinch the same way they would on a commercial project and that allowed us to place plenty of unreasonable demands on our technology partners! 

“The UK creative industries are incredibly active in developing immersive entertainment: VR, AR, MR and 360. There’s a really strong culture here around innovating with new forms of media and that’s what the ALIVE project was all about. It was an honour to work as the production partner alongside Foundry and the University of Surrey.”

Raindance Immersive Stories and Interactive Worlds is taking place during October 4th – 7th. Audience members will immerse themselves in 360° stories and explore interactive VR installations from thought-provoking 360° films to mind-bending, elaborate worlds, the festival will showcase the selected VR experiences, including Kinch And The Double World, at the OXO tower.

For further information please contact: Simon Reveley or Rhiannon Simmonds, Figment Productions Ltd