Arrival of a Train… and a new medium is born

Ever since watching Sascha Unseld’s talk at Oculus Connect last year, which prominently featured “Arrival of a Train“, one of the very first silent films, we’ve been noodling on a little side project concerning a VR capture of a train locomotive in action.

After many trials and errors, and much reverse-engineering of train schedules, and inclement weather, we’ve finally captured a nice little rough draft piece of footage. We’ve posted the 360 footage, captured with our Ricoh Theta, to YouTube, for your enjoyment.

Here are a few stills. Scroll down for the complete video. Be sure to a) fullscreen it using the little [__] icon in the lower right of frame, and b) click and drag around with your mouse (or look around if in googles).

Oh, and we’ve included the original “Arrival of a Train” for your viewing reference. The reason its so famous? Reportedly, crowds fled the theatres waaaaay back in the day, convinced that the 2d animation on the screen was in fact a train headed directly for them. This allegory is often used to communicate¬†how audiences viscerally experience a brand new medium — half is the content, half is the novelty of the experience.

gTrain-inbound-01

 

gTrain-midtrain-02

gTrain-freight-03

I was quite concerned that the train would knock over the tripod, it was within inches of the car extents. Thankfully, the rig survived, and we even got a friendly wave from the engineers.

 

 

and, finally, the original to which we pay homage:
Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (The Lumière Brothers, 1895)