Phil Tippett, the visual effects genius behind classic stop-motion animation sequences from films such as the holochess scene from the Star Wars franchise, Jurassic Park (1993), and RoboCop 2 (1990), brings his latest stop-mo project MAD GOD to virtual reality.
Based on Tippett’s eponymous short film MAD GOD (2013), a long-time passion project and result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the newly released 3D 360 video is filled with the universe’s faceless ghouls, war pigs, and other nightmarish sights. While it’s only a little less than two minutes it length, it’s effect is nothing short of terrifying.
Like in the good old days of movie magic though, all of the creatures in MAD GOD are hand-crafted—something that really makes your skin crawl to see up close and personal via the immersive first-person view of a VR headset.
Phil Tippett is a VFX pro with more than 40 years of experience under his belt with an Oscar, a BAFTA, and 2 Emmys to show for it, so when he says something about the nature of film and its role in the burgeoning medium of virtual reality, we’re inclined to listen. Explaining his thoughts on VR in a behind-the-scenes look at MAD GOD, Tippett says that VR isn’t so much a continuation of film-making as an art, but rather an entirely new medium, one that pioneering creatives still need to figure out.
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“I do not think VR is the future of film making,” explains Tippett. “It’s the wild west. It’s like, nobody knows nothin’. The opportunity to experiment and try things that you haven’t seen and you haven’t imagined, it’s all out there.”
Even though stop-motion animation has now become a niche field in visual effects, replaced largely by computer-generated imagery (CGI), Tippett still wants to be on the forefront of story-telling.
“It really is that first-person dreamworld. It’s all experimental, it’s all really wild. It was kind of like that working for George [Lucas] or Steven [Spielberg] early on. Why do you want to do what you’ve already done a hundred times before?” he wonders. “Oh. I understand. To make money. My mind doesn’t go there—it’s like … you now what would be really great? […] Like a LSD VR-thing. That would be really fuckin’ cool.”
Check out the behind-the-scenes video below for a deeper look into MAD GOD for VR.