With a groundswell moving toward more immersive content, animation studio Reel FX, with offices in Santa Monica and Dallas, has opened a virtual reality division, Reel FX VR. This new entity will create content for virtual reality platforms, including the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition. The VR division is based in the studio’s Dallas office.
The division is focused on client work for major studios and commercial agencies. The idea for Reel FX VR was born after the release of multiple high-profile VR projects in early 2014 ranging from content for Chuck E. Cheese to a piece for Legendary Picture’s Pacific Rim, which debuted at 2014 ComicCon. More content debuted at IFA in Berlin in early September, including a mobile version of the Pacific Rim Jaeger Pilot experience and a stereo trailer for Reel FX’s own The Book of Life.
Reel FX’s history and relationship with Oculus Rift dates back to Oculus’ 2012 Kickstarter campaign. Founder and ECD Dale Carman was an early adopter of the technology and one of the first to begin developing for the platform.
“As a studio, we are passionate about finding, using, and pushing technology,” said Dale Carman, founder/executive creative director of Reel FX. “I knew the moment I encountered Oculus [Rift technology] on Kickstarter that it was magic. Creating these experiences for clients like Legendary and our own films and working closely with Samsung and Oculus has been a great journey so far, and we are excited about the future.”
The relationship with Oculus and expertise in the technology has made Reel FX VR one of Oculus Rift’s top developers. “Legendary is always seeking out new entertainment frontiers and technology that can offer our fans a greater level of immersion,” added Emily Castel, chief marketing officer for Legendary Pictures. “Reel FX was a fantastic partner and their VR team did a terrific job at bringing the transportive universe of Pacific Rim to life.”
In preparation of the Reel FX VR launch, Reel FX has brought on multiple team members over the past year that will focus on and grow the VR business. Reel FX VR will be overseen by Carman, GM Keith McCabe and executive producer Gary Banks. Veteran interactive executive Dan Ferguson joined the team in late 2013 as director of digital interactive. Rounding out the unit is interactive account manager Tina Ghezzi. Artists from Reel FX’s feature and commercial crews will lead the creative teams.
Main Image: Guillermo del Toro takes in Pacific Rim’s Oculus experience at Comic Con.