CBS Digital’s visual effects creative team has entered the race for an Emmy Award. Executive Creative Director, Craig Weiss and Executive producer, George Bloom, elaborated on the collaboration with Netflix. The Stranger Things Virtual Reality experience had one key mission. It was to create an interactive media faithful to the show. Our vision was to weave the narrative of Joyce Byers empathetic role so the user assumes her struggle to find her son.
The challenge was to design an experience beyond anything that could be achieved from off the shelf VR and make it scalable to other platforms. We laser scanned the actual house in Atlanta which allowed us to build an exact replica in 3-dimensional space. This allowed participants to walk unobstructed through the Joyce’s home.
We used optical tracking so participants could use their own hands and interact with real objects in the virtual world. This interactive dimension added realism by allowing users to explore the home with a flashlight and answer a real telephone. The immersive experience had a story arc with a climatic ending. All users experienced the same unanimous surprise. Every person had an unforgettable memory into the world of Stranger Things.
Netflix deployed the VR experience at publicity stunts domestically and internationally. From development to completion the production period was four months. A behind the scenes video of the cast experiencing it for the first time garnered over 1 million views. There was added buzz from social media and more VR versions were launched onto: YouTube 360, Gear VR and Google Cardboard.
This memorable interactive media gave people a unique opportunity to participate in the story world of Stranger Things.