April 3, 2017
Charlotte-based Wheelhouse Media released its first-ever full 360° / Virtual Reality (VR) experience: “Sweet Talk,” a 3D animated music video designed for L.A. indie rock band Saint Motel. Dave Mason, Motion Design Director, gave us a tour of their motion design department and a behind the scenes look at the various phases involved in the creation of the video.
VR represents an exciting cross between technology, art, and user experience. In a world where we have computers that fit in the palms of our hands, it’s crazy to think about the computing power needed to create these videos. Even with the most advanced equipment, the final version of “Sweet Talk” took a computer the size of a mini fridge and two weeks for render (which is still pretty impressive considering it would have taken months in the past). The technology and design skills needed to create this is truly cutting edge. To make things even better, this innovation and creativity is coming right from Charlotte. This project represents the impressive skills and forward-thinking mindset of the team at Wheelhouse Media.
The project started off at a VR conference in Atlanta. The wheels were set in motion when a series of connections spread the word of Wheelhouse Media’s capabilities to Saint Motel’s manager. They were still in Atlanta when they received the green light to film Saint Motel in Charlotte that very night. From there, Dave says he had a “light bulb” moment when it came to the concept and hit the ground running on creating the video. Earlier this year, it was premiered at SXSW. Fans in Austin were invited to wear VR goggles and experience the technology in real time, while Saint Motel shared the video with fans via YouTube’s live stream app as part of the premiere.
This new medium is changing the way artist think of music videos and how fans can experience their sound. When you put on a VR headset and watch “Sweet Talk” you are transported into a vibrant experience in the desert. It’s easy to forget your surroundings as you are enveloped by the stunning visuals. The scene starts with a simple television set against the backdrop of a night desert sky. As the song progresses your view begins to rotate as neon lights displaying the lyrics light up in coordination with the song. Even if you don’t have a VR headset, Youtube has created a feature that allows you to navigate the video in order to stimulate the 360 views in your browser.
It is just the beginning for Wheelhouse Media. Dave and his team are currently in the process of producing six more videos for the band, completing the first full VR album release. The virtual sky is the limit when it comes to what we can expect next.
Watch the 3D animated music video for “Sweet Talk” by Saint Motel (*Best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, or your own VR Headset*)