Q&A: Mad Max stuntman on VR and movies

Ahead of the Magnify Conference on VR/AR we speak to leading stunt director Guy Norris on new filming technologies in VR and the experiences consumers will be offered.
Guy Norris (far right) on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road. Photo / Supplied
Guy Norris (far right) on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road. Photo / Supplied

You've filmed part of Suicide Squad with a Proxi Virtual Reality camera rig, could you explain the experience Proxi VR gives for viewers who use a headset? Is it going to blow people away?

The Proxi VR rig was developed by my son and a team of engineers. It captures 360 degree imagery putting the viewer right in the middle of the action. Everything is happening around you - rather than in front of you. It's pretty special.

Can a film be remastered for VR viewing, or is the filming crucial to the hardware requirements?

No - a film needs to be shot on a 360 VR rig to provide a full experience. It's like watching a game of rugby from the sidelines compared to watching the rugby from the referee's point of view.

As a live-action stunt director, do you think real stunts have an edge over CGI when it comes to a VR experience?

Absolutely. People recognise what's real, and it's a much more kinetic and intense experience knowing it was genuine.

Is it hard to sell the idea of VR while high-end headsets remain prohibitively expensive and many people haven't been able to try out the technology?

It depends on who you're pitching to. Suicide Squad's VR portions were filmed for marketing purposes. It takes some work figuring out how to monetise these experiences.

Are we close to a full VR film?

We are very close. Currently we're shooting VR experiences and developing short episodic films made with VR cameras, but it won't be long until films are available in VR.

Will that spell the death of the cinema?

No. They are totally different experiences, it's like live theatre versus movies - one complements the other.

Does the idea of the isolated headset experience give you any cause for concern?

Not at all. Right now, VR film is like a single player video game. It offers people a chance to be inside the story, which is an experience to talk about and share. It won't isolate people.

The Magnify Conference, sponsored by Air New Zealand, runs on Thursday and Friday at the Idea Collective as a part of Techweek Auckland.

- NZ Herald

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