When Sir Paul McCartney, a genuine living legend, agrees to let you shoot a virtual reality documentary series in conjunction with his new album, what do you do? You pull together an A-list team of production and post pros to get it right! Especially when so much of this road to VR remains uncharted.
Jaunt, which produces and publishes cinematic virtual reality content, was up to the task of shooting, posting and publishing this six-part series of VR documentary shorts. The first two episodes of Pure McCartney VR, are available now. As part of the upcoming launch of Pure McCartney, an album that spans his career, each of these immersive VR experiences dig into the stories behind some of McCartney’s most iconic songs.
That A-list team we referred to before includes director/DP Tony Kaye, producer and soundscape architect Geoff Emerick (who worked on the Beatles albums Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles and Abbey Road), and executive producers Cliff Plumer, Lucas Wilson and Doug Allenstein. We will get into the post team shortly, but the series was shot on a Jaunt One camera and used the Jaunt Cloud Services Platform for stitching and publishing.
In the VR experience, viewers go inside this rock legend’s home studio as he shares stories related to various songs. He also shares archived and never-before-seen footage. The Pure McCartney VR episodes, Dance Tonight and Coming Up are now available, with My Valentine, Mull of Kintyre and Early Days to be released an episode at a time leading up to the Pure McCartney album release on June 10.
The VR episodes include digitally remastered and spatially oriented ambisonic audio mixed in Dolby Atmos. This project marks the first time an original Paul McCartney track has been remixed in Dolby Atmos. Sound designer/re-recording mixer on the project was Luke Bechthold.
“The pieces are creative, have a point of view and are very quirky and real 360 pieces,” explains EP Wilson. “These were conceived by Tony Kaye as 360 pieces in stereo, not 2D.”
The post was done in a big room at Jaunt Studios in LA. “That’s where we lived for a couple of months,” explains Wilson. “There was a ton of creative back and forth, which we needed because so much of this stuff hadn’t been done before. There is no body of work to look at as an example. We just tried things out until we got it to where we wanted it to be.”
The series was edited on Final Cut X by Duncan Shepherd working with two assistants. VFX were accomplished using Houdini, Maya and After Effects by Machineyes. Dave Franks did the color grade using Scratch. “Scratch offers realtime VR color grading, so Dave sat with Tony Kaye using an Oculus Rift and just did the grade.”
“We used to see artists connect with their fans through album covers and liner notes but that personal expression, and deeper understanding of the music, has diminished over the years,” says Plumer, president of Jaunt Studios. “With virtual reality, Paul McCartney is taking the most innovative step yet; he’s connecting directly with his fans, to share his innermost thoughts and experiences in an entirely new, personal and immersive way.”
Each track will be released into the custom Paul McCartney world within the Jaunt VR App. Jaunt VR is available on iOS, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Desktop 360.