The immersive world of British Airways
Setting the immersive scene
Cast your minds back to a better time. Brexit was but a glint in the eye of Boris and David; Donald Trump certainly wasn’t the Republican candidate. We were embarking on our latest exciting project. British Airways and Chase Bank had teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge to create a British menu to “Bring Britain Closer” to the USA. We were charged with creating an immersive dining experience to bring the sights and sounds of the areas of Britain that each course was from.
Capturing the footage
Our intrepid senior designer and animator Duncan Worrall ventured out of the cozy confines of the studio. He travelled far and wide to Bristol, Devon and er, Brighton. Taking multiple photos of the scenes, he then also filmed from the same viewpoint. This enabled him to create an high resolution image while compositing elements of motion to create a cinegraph. We used this technique to show Brighton Beach for chocolate pebbles; a Cotswolds village for gala pie; a Cornish harbour for white bait; and a kitchen garden for Parsley Soup.
A dash of CGI
For the other scenes we enlisted the help of Giggle stalwart, John Keates, to create immersive scenes in Maya, the leading 3D CGI software. A country house drawing room for pudding. The dark caves of Cheddar Gorge for the cheese course.
The technical bit
To project this immersive environment onto the walls, we first need some, well, walls. Highline Studios in Greenwich Village was the venue. The issue was that 2 sides of the wall were infinity coves. This meant that, if we projected onto the curve the image would bend and distort at every different point in the room. MD Jonathan Brigden did a whistle-stop meeting in NYC. Imagine flying from Heathrow, landing at De La Guardia, ubering across town to a 1 hour meeting, ubering to JFK and flying out again all in one day*. The only thing to do was to build 4 new walls to project onto.
We enlisted the help of long term collaborators in immersion, XL Video who had recently merged with PRG. PRG XL provided the Barco projectors and Watchout media server to enable us to project onto the walls.
Duncan and Jonathan hopped into the business class BA seats (one of the perks of working with an airline) and spent the week in sunny New York. Grappling with broken frames and inserting last minute ghosts to delight the audience, we ate our way through 5 days of production.
Watch this video for the full immersive experience: