Blackout by Specular Studio, Global Blackout by Specular Studio, Global
Blackout by Specular Studio, Global Blackout by Specular Studio, Global
Blackout by Specular Studio, Global Blackout by Specular Studio, Global
Blackout by Specular Studio, Global Blackout by Specular Studio, Global

Train of thought

21 : 12 : 2015 Blackout : New York City : Specular Studio

Global – Blackout is a virtual reality film that transports you into the memories of strangers on the New York subway.

  • Blackout deliberately moves away from a hyper-CGI look to a more stylised, photo-realistic aesthetic
  • Specular Studio has previously worked with Microsoft Research and HBO Documentary Films

Participants are drawn into a voyeuristic experience produced by New York-based creative agency Specular Studio. At first they are on a typical ride on the New York subway. Then, abruptly, the train screeches to a halt, there is a power surge and a blackout takes place.

Understandably, at first, this causes panic. But soon spotlights illuminate fellow passengers and, thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology, viewers who glance at these characters begin to hear their thoughts.

This form of narration has often been used in traditional films to explain plot or give viewers access to inner monologues. Specular Studio’s VR experience feels intuitive and telepathic, an innovation that offers storytellers opportunities to play with new narrative directions.

The team at Specular Studio used DepthKit, a piece of software that repurposes the depth-sensing camera from the Microsoft Kinect to visualise the environment. Since its launch on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter the project has received more than £30,180 ($45,000, €41,490) in funds.

The Big Picture

It is time to offer consumers dream-like digital experiences. Explore new technology. Embrace new forms of storytelling. Read our macrotrend on Awakening Tech to explore how forward-thinking designers are leading the way. 

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