Leading production and post house Optimus recently teamed with Solstice to produce, edit and do CGI/design on a virtual reality (VR) automated driving experience app for Bosch. The app, developed by Solstice, an innovation and emerging technology firm headquartered in Chicago, debuted at CES 2017 with the goal of showcasing Bosch’s innovative technology within the field of automated driving. A video featuring the experience has already been viewed more than 180,000 times on Facebook. 

ONE Director Ben Chappell helmed the video footage, Optimus Editor Aaron Porzel cut it, and Optimus Senior Animator Luis Mayorga headed design and animation. “Our work on the automated driving VR app presented an incredible opportunity to demonstrate the entire spectrum of Optimus capabilities,” said Optimus Executive Producer Jon Desir. ““A major difference between VR and traditional film is that it is difficult for the client to see how a project will look in VR until the very end of the process, because most reviews happen on a flat monitor. So, from the start of the project, we made sure production, post and design were involved every step of the way. We did significant R&D and pre-production with Solstice and Bosch, and brought experts from each area to the initial shoot in California to ensure that any possible challenges were addressed on the spot. After that, we collaborated constantly from audio and color production to design and CGI to ensure the final piece exceeded client expectations.”

The VR app gives consumers a peek into a future when manual driving is no longer necessary. In a first of its kind experience, the app delivers a true driver’s point-of-view via a live driving sequence, including transitions in and out of 360-degree 3D animation. It has been downloaded more than 1,000 times and the response at CES was overwhelming, with attendees lined up at the Bosch Automated Driving booth to experience it. 

Chappell helmed the live action component of this project, which entailed a much more involved and technical production process than many 360 videos. He and Porzel worked closely from prep to production to ensure the success of the final product. 

Says Solstice Consultant Jackie Lincoln, “Optimus was one of the first partners we contacted for this project. The overall caliber of their work, their previous experience in VR, and their ability to bring Bosch’s vision to life were the biggest factors in our decision. We had many people tell us it couldn't be done, but Optimus worked tirelessly with us to bring it home. Their attention to detail on everything from planning and production to design and post was exceptional.” 

“In order to pull off a project like this, you have to consider all the space around you, not just the ‘hero’ image in front of the viewer,” commented Mayorga. “The user can look away at anytime, so we tried to make sure that there were little surprises tucked into the CGI in all directions. At the same time, since this was a film about driving, we wanted to keep the attention forward as new Bosch technologies came into view. To showcase the autonomous driving technology, we had to consider all of the challenges of stitching eight cameras together to create the 4k 360 live action plate. Then, to simulate the creative mind of the driver, we seamlessly transitioned to a futuristic dream world of Bosch technology.”

Throughout the process, Optimus production, design and post were able to bring their individual concerns to the table to figure them out together and choreograph scenes ahead of time. In some cases, the team identified potential problems and created brand new workflows and techniques in real-time. Such collaboration was critical as the team learned more about the technical bottlenecks inherent in this new world of VR production and design. 

Added London, “The designers and artists at Optimus created an incredible dream world filled with various Bosch designs and technologies and the editors ensured the transitions between the two worlds were smooth.“

To view the video on YouTube, please visit http://bit.ly/2lIBbZA. 

For more on Optimus’ VR capabilities, please visit http://optimus.com/vr/
Download the app at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Screenwork Production Credits
Executive Producer: Jon Desir 
Editor: Aaron Porzel 
Assistant Editor: Jenny Schaye
Audio: Ben Treimer 
CGI/Design: Luis Mayorga, Brad Cannady, Tyler Nelson, Sunmin Park
Animators: Drew Parks, Anthony Palermo
Director: Ben Chappell
EP of Production: Jonah Mueller

About Optimus
Optimus is a leading production and post-production house located in Chicago.  A true one stop shop, Optimus and its production arm One at Optimus offer a full suite of creative services, including production, editing, color correction, visual effects and design, audio mixing and finishing. For more information, please visit www.optimus.com, http://design.optimus.com and www.oneatoptimus.com. Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Optimus161 and www.facebook.com/OneAtOptimus.