A VR Experience is Born

Ridley Scott’s highly-anticipated return to outer space thrills with Alien: Covenant – and this time there is no escape for the audience in the film’s terrifying VR prequel, Alien: Covenant in Utero, a virtual reality experience. Like the crew of the colony ship Covenant in the movie, the creators chose not to go alone into this new world of immersive experiences, and enlisted the award-winning artists and creative technologists at Technicolor’s VFX studio MPC and the Technicolor Experience Center (TEC). Collaborating with Twentieth Century Fox, FoxNext VR Studio, RSA VR, and Mach1 plus technology partners AMD RADEON and DELL, the team created what may be a first: a frightening immersive journey designed to scare viewers into their seats before the movie opened.

The Universal Art of Storytelling Meets the New Art of VR

Alien: Covenant in Utero represents what can happen when the traditional moviemaking business and narrative storytelling meet the new world of VR and other immersive media. Through the context of the story and the strong emotional connection it has with its audience, the VR experience deepens the relationship with an iconic brand.

Creating a VR Experience Worthy of the Franchise

MPC created all of the visual effects for Alien: Covenant, and that would prove essential to the consistency of the VR extension – meaning users experiencing Alien: Covenant In Utero would encounter the same look and feel as the film. So, not only did it enable as much visual and artistic continuity as possible with the film – a must for fans of the Alien franchise – but it accelerated the production timeline so that the VR experience could be released ahead of the movie’s premiere. VFX film production assets were readily available and leveraged during the making of the VR experience, and the same artists who worked on those visual effects were on hand as the parallel projects progressed in tandem. The Alien franchise is a global phenomenon, so localization and platform delivery were also key components – requiring availability in 12 languages and multiple platforms for tethered and mobile headsets.

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A Nexus of Innovation and Collaboration

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The Technicolor Experience Center is a central point of action where different organizations and skill sets come together to create new experiences…like Alien: Covenant In Utero. In this case, it was RSA VR, Twentieth Century Fox, FoxNext VR Studio, and MPC, from the Technicolor family of brands, who partnered to keep the creative intent and look of the popular franchise alive in the VR experience. The TEC leveraged Technicolor’s Research & Innovation expertise in compression in order to enable the most immersive viewing experience possible. Additionally, motion capture for the VR experience took place at the TEC, which enabled director David Karlak to employ the same storytelling techniques on VR as one would on a live-action feature.

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