Brand: Financial Times
Campaign: Hidden Cities: Dublin, ‘Dublin in the Dark: The Story of Emerald Noir’
Deliverables: a 3D 360° video and 3D audio for FT’s Hidden Cities: Dublin microsite, Facebook and YouTube
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Project Date: Autumn/Winter 2016
Following the success of the FT’s first foray into virtual reality with Hidden Cities: Rio in August, Visualise partnered again with the leading publisher and adam&eveDDB to deliver their next immersive film. Dublin in the Dark: The Story of Emerald Noir is an exploration into the darker side of Dublin, in 3D 360° for the Hidden Cities series.
Hidden Cities: Dublin looks at the literary genre of Emerald Noir, a new kind of crime fiction to emerge from Ireland in the wake of the 2008 recession. This short 3D 360° film was collaboratively developed between FT’s associate editor Natalie Whittle, award-winning crime writer Tana French, adam&eveDDB and Visualise to bring Emerald Noir’s gritty realism to the film and transport viewers into the city.
Our travels took us to many areas of Dublin, from Poolbeg Power Station, to the famous Hellfire Club on Montpelier Hill, an embalmers, Goldenbridge Cemetery, right through to the elegant grandeur of the Old Library at Trinity College Library.
Each location in the film was shot in 3D 360° with the exception of the drone shots over the Great South Wall. This was a hugely ambitious and complex project, both shooting in 3D and post-producing the content is considerably more complicated and involved than creating a ‘traditional’ 360 video.
“Dublin in the Dark is a deep piece of content that looks into one of the unexpected outcomes of the recession in Ireland. As such the locations we visited and the complexity of the story were far removed from typical 360° video productions. It was a pleasure to get our teeth into such a meaningful piece of VR content.” Henry Stuart, Visualise CEO and VR director on Hidden Cities: Dublin
The majority of this project was shot on Johnny Five, our custom-built 3D (stereoscopic) VR rig, based on two Sony A7sII cameras with modified lenses, making it perfect for the low light conditions of the many locations we visited.
The Google Jump rig was used to capture the time-lapse sequence at the Hellfire Club and the external car shots taking the viewer through Dublin’s streets to give a sense of moving through time and history within the city.
During the R&D phase of this project, Jonathan Curran, DP at Visualise put the rig through unlimited tests, included the development of a moving time-lapse process that was later applied to one of the car shots, seen at around 2 minutes in the film.
“Using VR technology has enabled us to be more creative in our documentary approach and enhance parts of the city that are normally inaccessible. Since the economic crash in 2008, crime writing has flourished in Dublin, and we were keen to show how this literary genre fits into the broader changes, both social and economic, that Dublin has experienced over the past 20 years.” Natalie Whittle, FT Weekend Magazine, associate editor and editorial lead on Hidden Cities
We collaborated with Enda Bates on the soundtrack, a composer from Dublin who works with spatialised music. To create a homogeneous experience, bringing together the narrative, film and audio, Henrik Oppermann, head of sound at Visualise captured the ambient sounds of each location using Sennheiser’s AMBEO VR microphone.
“The most prominent layer of the mix, is a recording of the inside of a chimney. The wind was rushing through the chimney and created this dense eerie sound that happens around you in this scene.” Henrik Oppermann, head of sound, Visualise
We supplied Enda with recordings of the various soundscapes which were integrated into his spatial composition, creating an immersive atmospheric soundtrack to beautifully balance the film.
Hidden Cities: Dublin launched in the FT Weekend magazine in the UK and Europe 3rd December.
1. Hidden Cities Rio reached over 21k users who generated 100k page views
2. The City Within: Life in Rio’s favelas 360° video has been watched 234k times across FT.com and social platforms
3. User engagement on the site is incredibly strong with each user viewing an average of 5 pages and spending 2 minutes 33 seconds on the hub
4. United Kingdom, United States and Brazil account for 67% of the audience geography
5. The City Within is the best performing piece of written content
Henry Stuart – VR Director
Paul Knott – Creative Director
Natalie Whittle – Narrative Lead
Tana French – Narrator
Henrik Oppermann – Sound Capture and Design
Enda Bates – Music
Jonathan Curran – Director of Photography
Christopher Corless – Camera Technician
Goldie Robbens – Producer
Sophia Georgiou – Producer