O2 puts rugby fans in the game with “Wear the Rose” VR experience
In 2013 O2 achieved a world-first in virtual reality, by creating a truly immersive VR experience for the Oculus Rift Developer Edition which placed the viewer at the heart of the England Rugby team.
Now in 2017, O2 and agency M&C Saatchi worked with us, Happy Finish, to present a new Wear The Rose experience, pushing the boundaries of VR technology further than ever before. England Rugby’s new secret weapon – virtual reality – allows viewers to join the England Rugby team for a training session at Twickenham, explore the training grounds and test their skills against the champions of the sport in this groundbreaking combination of virtual reality and 360 real-time CG, combining immersive VR film with a VR game.
Partnering with Nokia and their virtual reality camera, the Ozo, Happy Finish filmed on location at Twickenham with the England rugby team and coaches using 3D 360 cinematic quality video. The 360 camera captures everything that’s going on around it, so the viewer can explore the details of every scene as they’re introduced as the new recruit. All moving shots were captured with Motion Impossible’s custom built robotic dolly system which allows the viewer to get right in the middle of the action, bringing a sense of dynamism to the film as the viewer moves around the grounds with the other players.
The game elements challenge viewers to test their rugby skills, from conversions to tackles, and Happy Finish wanted to make these skill tests feel as real as possible. The England Rugby team’s movements were captured with Xsens motion capture technology with proprietary code, which allowed us to realistically simulate actual movements from the players in the 360 CG animations – so when a CG Dylan Hartley comes running at you, you believe it! The viewer’s performance in these challenges affects the final outcome of the experience, so you have to give it your all.
O2’s Wear The Rose experience was officially launched at Twickenham in February 2017, at the home of England Rugby. During the RBS Six Nations, dedicated rugby fans had the first chance to get closer to the England team than ever before. The experience will continue to feature at Twickenham on match days, and has been rolled out to 90 O2 stores nationwide.
Gareth Griffiths, head of sponsorship at O2, said: “We believe in live, and using the latest VR technology we can showcase our live experiences to O2 customers in our stores across the country. Through a combination of world first CGI characters and unique interactive gameplay, each experience has been designed to give the user unprecedented access [….] to our relationship with the England Rugby team. We’re excited to roll our new virtual reality into O2 stores nationwide, Twickenham Stadium on match days and The O2.”