September 13, 2017

TEC Teams Up With Artists to Ignite Tree VR Experience

Technicolor provides sound services, optimization, and more on festival-darling Tree VR.

  • Photoreal, haptically-enhanced Tree VR experience transforms users from seedling to towering rainforest tree.
  • The immersive piece takes users on an emotional journey of the senses designed to ignite passion for environmental issues.
  • Led by Scott Gershin, The Sound Lab at Technicolor team went on location to record foliage and trees for the immersive experience. 
  • The TEC hosts an installation space for Tree VR, fully equipped with multi-sensory haptic elements.

The age-old question – If you were a tree, what kind would you be? – now has an answer in virtual reality. Tree VR is an immersive experience that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the VR realm, as it transforms users from a tiny seedling to majestic rainforest tree. To ensure the project maintains maximum impact – both technically and artistically – The Technicolor Experience Center (TEC) worked to optimize Tree VR.

By enabling viewers to experience life as a tree, turning bodies into trunks and arms into branches, Tree VR can inform and change the way we think about the environment around us. It’s one way that virtual reality experiences are being used not just to entertain, but to build empathy and understanding around issues affecting society and the planet.

During production of Tree VR, The Sound Lab at Technicolor team, led by Supervising Sound Designer Scott Gershin, provided location recording of foliage and trees to heighten the immersive experience. The team had previously worked with the filmmakers – Milica Zec and Winslow Porter – on Giant, a VR experience inspired by actual war-zone events.

Recognized at a variety of festivals including Sundance and Tribeca, the immersive, room-scale exhibition features many 4-dimensional elements, such as ambisonic sound, haptic floor and backpack feedback, touch controllers, and heating and cooling components. The combination of elements enables the user to experience the cycle of life from the tree's perspective, soaring to great heights, but ultimately feeling the effects of global climate change and deforestation.

The TEC partners are committed to keeping the Tree VR Experience fully optimized, establishing an artist-in-residency to principals and team for production and development. The TEC hosts a fully-equipped installation space for Tree VR, and provides replenishments of necessary elements including both messaging and technical needs. Marcie Jastrow, SVP of Immersive Media and Head of the TEC, offers additional project advisement, along with other key members of Technicolor, such as sound design from Scott Gershin and optimization by David Witters. 

Look for exclusive updates about Tree VR on social media and at the TEC website, as well as educational outreach at schools, museums, and climate advocacy events.

Visit the official Tree VR website to learn more about this critically-acclaimed VR experience and its ambitious mission.

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