It’s been nearly ten years since renowned musical artist and producer Mike Shinoda–co-founder of Linkin Park–released “The Rising Tied,” the debut studio album from his side project, Fort Minor. Inspired by all of his unforgettable experiences over the past decade, Shinoda has just released a new music video for a brand new Fort Minor track called “Welcome.” Among the world’s first 360-degree virtual reality (VR) music videos, Shinoda and his collaborators at The Uprising Creative in LA joined forces to fully leverage the power of VR. The result is a unique experience in Venice Beach where everyone is invited.
Discussing the theme of “Welcome,” Shinoda explained, “My influences were always outsider influences, songs sung by underdogs. I related to them because they were like me. And although eventually Linkin Park was embraced by millions, I eventually felt drawn back to the ‘outside’– to reconnect with my voice and aesthetic as an individual. It’s modern DIY, fueled by technology, inspiration, and ambition.”
As discussions progressed with Shinoda and director Jeff Nicholas, a common vision surfaced: Mike would throw a party in Venice Beach, paint a giant canvas with original designs and invite everyone around to join the fun. Meanwhile, Nicholas and his crew would capture it all with a GoPro-based VR rig. All of that happened on May 12, when the party came together throughout the day on the boardwalk and eventually wound up at the Mobli Beach House. The next day, the crew used a similar setup to photograph the finished 12×80-foot canvas in 360-degrees on LA’s world famous Mack Sennett Studios soundstages, and capture performances of Shinoda playing drums, guitar, and keyboards on the track.
“As a medium, virtual reality and 360-degree cinema are completely new frontiers of exploration,” Nicholas said. “The entire language of filmmaking is being rewritten as new ways to engage the viewer and lead them back to the central narrative are discovered. Knowing that good VR can offer viewers unforgettable experiences, we set out to capture some poignant video portraits where we can learn, share and interact in some different scenes while Mike creates art and pulls us in with his performance.”
Production innovations on the set were numerous, including the use of a motion-control slider to create timelapse footage. Choosing to shoot in mono instead of stereo, the production’s custom GoPro array used four GoPro cameras with custom 195-degree lenses to afford fewer stitch lines, make the post workflow easier and offer more control on the set. A custom wireless monitoring system from Radiant Images was also used.
“VR/360 storytelling is very different from traditional storytelling,” Nicholas added. “For this reason, the video has fewer cuts than a traditional video, allowing viewers to establish where they are and have the opportunity to look around and explore scenes. We kept the camera movements to a minimum and placed performance clips and visual cues to strategically invite viewers into the narrative.”