VR City has partnered with Sport Relief, the biennial fundraising campaign for Comic Relief, to produce an immersive 360-degree film bringing to life one of the issues being tackled by the charity’s funding. The collaboration aims to raise awareness of life-saving malaria treatments by taking viewers on the journey of a mosquito as it spreads malaria in Uganda.
Narrated by long term Comic Relief supporter, David Tennant (Dr Who, Broadchurch), the film takes viewers on an immersive experience from the very start of the mosquito’s life, submerging the viewer under water to see it develop from a pupae to when it bursts out in to the air to hunt for human blood. Following those on the front line of the fight against malaria, the viewer also learns about the rapid diagnostic tests being carried out by local trained medics, and how these can be the difference between getting lifesaving early treatment and death.
Harnessing the immersive powers of VR, the film, directed by VR City CCO Darren Emerson (Indefinite, Witness 360: 7/7) uses 360 degree views of scenes ranging from small villages and local hospitals, to the stunning deep red clay and lush green landscapes typical of Uganda. All of this helps the audience gain a unique way of understanding the impact of the disease on the day-to-day life of those confronted with the constant threat of Malaria.
The menacing buzz of the flying mosquitos heard throughout the film was recorded on a binaural microphone, and surrounds the viewer, acting as a constant reminder that just one bite can kill. The spatial and binaural sound heightens the viewer’s sense of presence in the film by enhancing the depth of the audio and complements the immersive visuals generated through the use of a Kandao Obsidian 360 camera. Using these techniques, along with track and dolly and drones meant VR City could create the feeling of movement to connect the viewer even more profoundly with the film.
Ashley Cowan, CEO and Co-Founder, VR City, said: “Comic Relief is part of the fabric of the nation –we’ve all grown up with it. So it’s an incredible honour and we are very proud to work with them to highlight what is such a significant issue. With this film we wanted to connect audiences with the threat people in Uganda are confronting every day. By using VR it is possible to feel as close to being there as possible without actually taking them there. We hope it inspires people to take action and donate to Sport Relief.”
Bill Griffin, Executive Director of Brand & Creative at Comic Relief, added: “Malaria takes a life every two minutes in Africa. At Comic Relief, we are always looking for innovative ways to bring home this stark reality and deepen understanding of one of the world’s most deadly diseases. Collaborating with the brilliant VR City to make this immersive 360 film enables us to do exactly that, in a way which will take viewers incredibly close to the daily threat faced by so many people living across Africa”.