MSE supports Discovery’s VR journey

VRig from Matthews Studio Equipment (MSE) has empowered Here Be Dragons with more creation options while shooting Discovery TRVLR, a VR series from Discovery Communications

Matthews Studio Equipment (MSE), a manufacturer of camera and lighting support for the media industry, has supplied its VRig camera support system to Here Be Dragons, a Los Angeles-headquartered production company, for the shooting of Discovery Communications virtual reality (VR) series — Discovery TRVLR.

Discovery TRVLR is a co-production between Discovery and Google’s VR team. In this seven-part, 38-episode series, Discovery TRVLR takes viewers beyond the TV screen, bringing them directly into the lives of people from all corners around the globe to explore different traditions and cultures.

Kate Wurzbacher, head of the camera department at Here Be Dragons, said: “We wanted to document stories off the beaten path — the amazing lives of locals that an actual world traveller might run into on their journeys. On each continent, we shot a guru, explorer, renegade and an entertainer, as well as a sunrise and sunset.”

The production team deployed MSE’s VRig as the team is required to move quickly, and needed to keep the sequences stable for the VR mode despite facing tight and challenging positions at times. Wurzbacher explained: “The rig’s light weight and small footprint had all the accessories required for live monitoring VR, [and] was exactly what we needed for this project.

“Typically, we shoot with multiple reference cameras, so the director can monitor all 360 degrees of action. We also had to carry wireless transmitters, external batteries and audio recorders, which are all mounted beneath the camera. Previously, we used light stands as they had smaller footprint than a traditional tripod, but they frequently shook in even a slight breeze. The VRig is sturdy and minimises the need for any extensive rig removal.”

VRig is available in two formats — S30 and S75 — and is designed with a small footprint to minimise “nadir hole” and “shadow obstruction”.

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