Hit the runway at a cruising speed as the blue angels zip over a marsh. Holding tight formation, our narrator talks of the parade pass- a formation the angels assemble into placing the jets less than 6 inches away from each other! The Diamond 360 turns the formation of four planes into a clean formation that acts and moves as one. Using voice inflections, and code words our narrator directs his unit of four planes.
Feeling weightless, and flying over the marshland the viewer is placed as captain of the unit and guides his team. From the slot position you command a squadron of the most skilled fliers the United States has to offer. Now you can’t feel the 8 G’s of force against your body, but you can see the breathtaking flight patterns by our nation’s finest.
Choosing to do this video in Virtual Reality, was a fantastic choice. I was sitting in a computer chair while watching it and felt like I was a third pilot in the plane. Spinning around in the chair, I ended up being about 5 feet and facing the opposite way of where I started. The video’s immersiveness is spectacular, and unbelievable. The camera placement was wonderful, and useful to help the viewer be immersed in the flight. The camera set up used was a clamped stand between the primary, and secondary pilot.
The narrative process of the video works great due to the take-off, warm up formations, more advanced invasive flight patterns, then winding down by re-bunching in formations, and winding up together in back in a 360 Diamond. The story is experience driven- and due to its immersive nature it places the viewer in a wonderful experience of bliss that virtual reality can achieve. This type of form, and storytelling is why virtual reality’s imaginative power is so innovative. Placing a viewer in a world of wonder, and a scenario that they could rarely, if ever experience is one of the main reasons many find Virtual Reality so wonderful and expansive.
There were some weaknesses to the film, but the concept is strong, and the execution of USA today’s work is impeccable. The weaknesses I see are one sided narration, and the length of the video. Eight minutes is lengthy for the film and they could have accelerated some movements, but I didn’t recognize the time because I was transfixed in the work. It’s transformative video work, and a great subject matter. There was some tension, I was a little worried the wings would hit, or we’d stutter some, but the plane stayed remarkably stable.
When we talk about virtual reality taking people to a place of imagination, a place of wonder, and an exceptional experience. By putting on a virtual reality set, anyone can become Ace and Maverick in Top Gun. Much like a skydiving video, spacewalk, or a steampunk stunt driving video, USA today drops us into a fresh new experience and makes the video shine.