India’s Oscar-Winning Composer AR Rahman directs a VR Film “Le Musk” that takes Cinema to next level with the use of immersive technology projecting sensory experience.
Virtual Reality technology emerges widely in the form of metaverse and gaming sectors, where users can immerse into a virtual world completely providing users a fantasy-like experience. VR entirely shifts a person to the simulated world, to render the fullest of the technological wonderance.
While some companies like Meta’s Oculus produce VR headsets for immersive gaming experience, movies and cinema hasn’t yet seen much of the kind. Though some movies had equipped the technology, they aren’t shot in real but animated ones leveraging the software.
And this AR Rahman’s “Le Musk” becomes the first Indian-made VR Film that released in 2022, which is now telecasted in USA’s Los Angeles and Toronto.
VR Cinema – What it’s Like?
Integrating Virtual Reality technology to Cinematic movies for providing 1800 to 3600 experience of a frame or shot is the peculiarity of VR Cinema. The movie watchers have to wear a VR Headset where you can experience the 180-deg video as you tilt your head from left to right. Some early experimental pieces project 2D films in a VR environment or use the 3-screen projection that didn’t really seem to take off.
Owing to its difficulty of shoot in real world, most VR Movies are animated stories that uses real-time gaming engines to blend the backend of a video game with a cinematic experience and story.
However, Le Musk by AR Rahman is shot in the real-world starring Nora Arnezeder, Guy Burnet, Munirih Grace and Mariam Zohrabyan, taking the cinematic experience to another level with VR technology.
Le Musk by AR Rahman
India’s Oscar winning composer AR Rahman written, directed and composed the VR film “Le Musk” – a 37-minute thriller cinematic sensory experience film. The VR piece will be showcased using a motion platform with haptics like VR headsets to provide one-of-a-kind immersive experience.
The film revolves around an orphaned child, a musician, who grows up to be a diva on a mission.
A glaring element of Le Musk is that the film also brings the smell of scents along the 37 minute of experience as the film is about a musician whose only companion is the lingering Muskan Scent.
“Le Musk is an immersive cinematic sensory experience where the narrative would be punctuated by scent, motion and of course, music”, exclaims the composer.
Blending of olfactory element was made by Grace Boyle’s “The Feelies”, a London based studio creating original multisensory XR content bringing perfumery, science and technologies together.
“The idea for Le Musk was born out of a conversation with my wife, who shares a similar love for perfumes as me. Once she had casually asked me why scent was not often used as a narrative device in cinema. Around the same time, a friend of mine had given me my first virtual reality headset. Although initially skeptical, I tried it on and loved the experience”, AR Rahman opens up about initiating the VR Film.
India’s Famous Actor Rajnikanth had his mind-blown after watching AR Rahman’s Le Musk, the composer had posted Superstar’s experience and reaction on the VR film.
Making of Le Musk
In just 13 days and help of 4 units, Rahman and production crew wind up shooting at various locations of Rome. Pair of Jaunt ONE cameras were used for VR shooting purpose. Each one has 24 camera sensors to capture 8K video. Customized rigs were created for complex shootings. Drone camera were also used for aerial shots. In post-production, each frame was stitched into 360° to create seamless world. Le Musk’s was finished by 10 VFX houses from around the world with close to a petabyte of data.
Jaunt ONE is the complete toolkit to shoot live action in 360-degree audio and video, and can be viewed and manipulated on VR platform like Facebook’s Oculus. CGI can be easily integrated in this phase, working with Oculus headset gear.
Intel seed funded the film providing the core technology for seamless VR movie experience. To render the immersive experience to the viewers, Positron helped to create a full motion chair which looks like an ‘egg shaped pod’, called “Voyager” to sit and watch the VR film.
“Imagined with Intel and partners, the creative genesis of the film heralds a new frontier for new-age immersive storytellers like A.R. Rahman. The film has state-of-the-art technology meeting the storyteller to push the boundaries of Immersive Cinema. With motion, music and scent integrated into the narrative, making it an unparalleled Immersive VR Cinema of its era – in ways you’ve never experienced before.” – Ravindra Velhal, Global Content Technologist, Intel corporation, Executive Producer and VR Technology Director of LeMusk
The film was co-produced by PVR Cinemas and AR Rahman’s YM Movies.
Where to Watch?
At 72nd Cannes Film Festival, the legendary music composer AR Rahman unveiled “Scent of a song” from the film.
The VR Film is currently available to watch only in USA’s Los Angeles and Toronto. You can book the tickets from Le Musk’s official site.
The VR Film experience in Toronto will cost you $56.44 (₹4,600) and its $50 (₹4,075) in Los Angeles.