Mr Robot VR in it’s core
Despite being far behind in watching the series, I couldn’t miss the virtual reality-enhanced flashback of Mr Robot VR, as it was only available as a one-time event.
It was made as a collaboration between the series creators and Here Be Dragons, the production company associated with Within (previously known as Vrse), the VR distribution company founded by Chris Milk, who was both Executive Producer and Creative Director on this project.
The Google Cardboard version used a 1080p monoscopic, which was more than adequate for my 720p phone. Interestingly it had no blind spot either at the zenith or the azimuth, and it was almost free of visual artifacts (the peephole in the door moved around a little).
They used a very interesting technique for camera movement avoiding motion sickness. Basically, there was always a well-defined “front”, and the scene was structured so that the spectator is already watching in the right direction when the camera movement begins.
As this is a flashback, the whole thing is built around the disassociation between the protagonist’s point of view and that of the character. Roughly speaking, we share the point of view of the “remembering” protagonist who observes his past self. When the protagonist gets high, our point of view literally soars in the room. Judging on the filenames, they used their usual “quad binaural” technique, spatializing diegetic sounds, while the protagonist’s thoughts and narration are literally inside our head.
The last scene is geometrically very interesting. We are suspended over the bed, where the two characters have a conversation. The bed is the focus of our view, and forms a plane. The rest of the room is squished and deformed at the sides.
Mr Robot VR is now available online via USA Network