Reel FX Transports Fans to Umphrey's McGee Spring Tour With VR 360 Music Video
Digital studio Reel FX produced an experimental virtual-reality experience for Umphrey’s McGee spring tour filmed April 20, 2016 at the House of Blues in Houston, TX.
The VR music video premiered at the Austin Music Video Festival where it was nominated for best interactive video along with The Weeknd/Eminem, Run the Jewels and Santigold. Mixed in spatial audio, the audience is given unprecedented access to the bands performance of “Puppet String,” from a unique 360° video fan perspective that is otherwise impossible to experience.
Umphrey’s McGee and Reel FX have been looking for a project to work together on for a number of years. “Over the past 10 years of seeing UM live, I’m always absorbed into their musicianship and watch each concert like a musical virtuoso tennis match,” says Pete Herzog Executive Producer/Creative Director of Reel FX who directed the VR concert experience in collaboration with the Reel FX VR directing team. “With VR, I wanted to transport the viewer into the close-ups of every musical note, shred, drum roll, and pure power that this band puts forth every show.”
“VR is changing the way we tell stories and deepening the entertainment experience across the board. We’ve been experimenting with VR lately and jumped at the chance to work with the forward thinking Reel FX,” says Umphrey’s Manager Kevin Browning. “VR is the wild west right now and without any preconceived ideas about what it’s ‘supposed to be’, the goal was to create an opportunity for fans to peel back the onion and explore a classic UM song in a whole new way.”
Using six GoPro 360 camera rigs – three on stage, one balcony, one front of house and one crowd – Reel FX was able to capture the band from different perspectives. Reel FX also wanted to highlight extreme close-up footage shot by TourGigs, also based out of Texas. “I’m a huge fan of TourGigs and sometimes find myself watching the show through their front row cameraman, C.J. Strehlow’s lens. I wanted to add some of that intimacy he captures since their songs are just as personal.” adds Herzog.
After putting on your VR head mounted display, Reel FX paid additional respects to the time sensitivity of a 12-minute song with an extended improvisation in the middle. “We wanted viewers to take a musical journey through the song so when the band cuts loose and starts to improv, I let our creative team do the same with the footage to break up the visual experience and keep it building.”
You can view the video on Samsung VR using Gear VR, or Oculus Rift and HTC Vive using Virtual Desktop. Viewers using Chrome or the YouTube 360° app can look around as well, or strap on a VR headset like Google Cardboard with headphones to enhance the essence of their aggressive progressive musical prowess.
Thrillbox VR also created a dedicated Austin Music Video Festival app for the 2016 VR music videos featuring Reel FX’s Umphrey’s McGee, Polyphonic Spree, and Ghostland Observatory – You can download it on iTunes App Store or Google Play.
Cast & Credits:
Director: Pete Herzog / Reel FX VR
Executive Producer: Pete Herzog
Director of Photography: Ryan Hartsell, Dylan Rogers
Editor: Quan Tran
Sound Engineer: Frank Salazar
VR Creative Director: James Rowell
360 Artists: Matt Stocks, Shannon Walsh
VR Production Coordinator: Julia Gibson
Special Thanks: Tour Gigs
Umphrey’s McGee is: Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger, Joel Cummins, Andy Farag, Kris Myers, & Ryan Stasik
Produced by Kevin Browning
Lighting Designer: Jefferson Waful
Front of House Engineer: Chris Mitchell
Tour Manager: Bobby Haight
Production Manager and Monitor Engineer: Bob Ston
Stage Tech: Andrew Queen
Stage Manager: Robbie Williams
Road Crew: Louie Meyette, Steve Britz
About Reel FX
Reel FX develops and produces award-winning animated films, virtual reality experiences, mobile/interactive content, live-venue projects, and commercials. Based out of Dallas, Texas and Santa Monica, California, the company has over 22 years of experience working with studio partners like Fox, Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation and Universal Studios as well as national advertising agencies and global brands. In 2010, Reel FX announced the launch of its feature film banner, Reel FX Animation Studios. Its slate includes the Golden Globe-nominated The Book of Life with 20th Century Fox and Free Birds with Relativity Media. Reel FX Commercial, the studio’s turn-key short-form division, crafts a variety of broadcast and digital content, music videos and themed attractions. The studio’s newest division, Reel FX VR, launched in 2014 and has already developed dozens of world-class VR interactive activations and 360º narrative content for innovative brands, such as 20th Century Fox, Acura, American Express, AT&T, GE, Legendary Pictures, Lionsgate, Porsche, Samsung, and the U.S. Air Force, and for all leading VR headset platforms including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard.
About Umphrey’s McGee
After 18-plus years of performing more than 100 concerts annually, releasing nine studio albums and selling more than 4 million tracks online, Umphrey’s McGee might be forgiven if they chose to rest on their laurels. But then that wouldn’t be consistent with the work ethic demonstrated by the band, which consistently attempts to raise the bar, setting and achieving new goals since forming on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana, in 1997. Umphrey’s McGee are more than just a rock band – through nearly two decades, they have proven to be on the cutting-edge of both music and technology, super-serving their fans through a community that stretches from the campus of Notre Dame to the hallowed halls of Abbey Road.