Ja zur Feuerwehr | VR
Have you ever wanted to be a firefighter? A German recruitment campaign for volunteer firefighters lets you feel the excitement in VR. Over 300,000 viewers have experienced Ja zur Feuerwehr , or “Yes for Firefighters” so far on their facebook page, making the campaign a resounding success. TVN GROUP produced the 360 video for their client, Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Inneres und Sport. It includes emergency simulations in an old school, which required careful planning. Alexander Schuett was the 360 camera man, and also in charge of post-production. Mettle SkyBox plugins for Adobe After Effects and Premiere were part of their production pipeline.
Alexander Schuett (360° Camera operator and Post-Production) explains the project:
Overall – it took 12 days to produce the 360 video and its trailer. We started with bouncing around different concepts, and decided to simulate actual experiences that volunteer firefighters go through in Germany. They have to go through practical training, as well as emergency drills at their fire station. So we included both scenarios in our 360 video. We show some training and then proceed to action shots, to increase the drama. And finally, we put the focus on a simulated fire-emergency in a school.
We had two days of shooting, with more than 3 full volunteer-firefighting-units (about 30 -40 persons). The biggest challenge was to make it look real. We had a team of 3 lighting-engineers to let the school burn without any real fire. It´s all light and artificial smoke/fog. We also had to direct all the “actors” to behave appropriately and be in right place at the right time. As you know, in 360 it’s hard to shoot without seeing what you are shooting. The director has to get off-camera and be hidden, or be masked out afterwards, which is a lot of extra work in a complex scene with smoke and fog. And yes, the public thought that a emergency was actually taking place, because it looked so real – the blue lights in the dark, the smoke, the fire. And filming/driving with emergency blue lights flashing through the night at high speed; we think we did a great job.
SkyBox Extractor module lets you flatten your Equirectangular footage into a cubic “undistorted” view.
Cameras: 2x F360 GoPro Rigs with six Hero4+ black, 2x Backbone GoPro Rigs with two Hero4+ black and Entanyia 250° Lenses
The Production Workflow on Set
We switched between camera rigs depending on the scenery (we made the helmet-shots with the Backbones and everything else with the F360) and after every shot our DIT (Digital Image Technician) made a dirty pre-stitch with our mobile stitching unit (Schenker XMG) using Kolor Eyes. So it was possible to check directly on the Samsung Gear VR if the shot was good and working.
Before and After using “SkyBox 360 Post FX – Sharpen” in After Effects
Stitching the whole footage (21 Scenes with about 120 GB) with Kolor Eyes (AVP, APG). Then made a RoughCut with Adobe-Premiere (using your SkyBox VR-Player and the Oculus DK2) on music. Then finalising in After Effects (using all your plugins for replacing the pole in the nadir, to clean the scenes of what we don’t need, to sharpen the footage, redirect the view, etc.) and a colorgrading with Magic Bullet Looks. And to be honest: I love the sharpening tool! It took our footage to another level! Good job!
HP Workstation, Intel® Xeon® CPU E5-1650 v3 @ 3.5 GHz, 32 Gigs Ram, Win 10 64bit, Nvidia Geforce GTX 980 Ti
Mobile Stitching Unit: XMG P506 PRO, Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 4 Core 3,5GHz, 16 Gigs Ram, Nvidia Geforce 970M
After Effects UI with SkyBox Studio and SkyBox 360 Post FX
Alexander Schuett (360°-Camera operator and Post-Production), Oliver Frohnauer (Director), Patricia Schulze & Patrick Brodersen (Producing), Steffen Edenhofner / Arwid Wolters / Malte Ebers (Lighting), Greta Piper (Audio Recording), Steffen Benne and Laura Saenger (Digital Image Technician), Christian Ehlers (Account Manager)
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Inneres und Sport (Lower Saxony Ministry for Internal Affairs and Sports).
TVN GROUP Film & TV PRODUCTION – www.tvn.de is a film and tv production company based in Hanover Germany, but operating worldwide. They produce image campaigns, commercials and imagemovies, doing live broadcasting, streaming.