For the first time in 50 years, thanks to the VR film “1st Step” by the Darmstadt VR Studio Faber Courtial, the moon missions can be experienced as the 12 astronauts saw them through their own eyes. The German VR film celebrates its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival 2020.
There are many documentaries and films about the Apollo missions, but with “1st Step” the story of this great challenge can be experienced in a completely new form thanks to virtual reality.
The 15-minute film can be watched in Germany under the German title “Apollo” on the MagentaVR app. It was finished just in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and tells – according to the makers Maria and Jörg Courtial – the magical story of a dream come true.
“1st Step”: German VR film celebrates premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2020
As the Tribeca festival team recently announced, the German VR film “1st Step” by the renowned Darmstadt VR studio Faber Courtial will celebrate its international premiere at the prestigious New York festival this year. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the festival management has decided to present all VR projects selected in the Tribeca Cinema360 category online on the Oculus TV platform for Oculus Go and Oculus Quest.
The film was produced with the financial support of Deutsche Telekom in 2019 by the German VR studio Faber Courtial, which has already made a name for itself in the international VR scene with award-winning VR film productions such as Volcanoes VR, Gladiators in the Colosseum VR and 2nd Step.
In the film, viewers not only visually experience the fascinating history of the Apollo missions from the launch of the rocket to its return side by side with the astronauts, but also have the chance to relive their own impressions. For example the loneliness in the dark orbit of the moon or the breathtaking beauty of the earth.
Special 3D camera
The production of “1st Step” was also an ambitious project in technical terms. The Faber Courtial team constructed a special 3D camera to shoot the astronauts – for whom original replica suits were used – in 3D in front of a green screen. And exactly in the same positions and dimensions as on the original Apollo missions. Parallel to this, lunar environments were reconstructed in 3D.
For this purpose, original NASA archive photos were assembled and – since NASA also provided information on the exact photo positions – projected from the correct camera positions onto the exact digital elevation data (collected data from satellite-moon cameras). This is a complex process with a convincing result, as it enables a completely different, unprecedented plastic experience of the moon.
The first steps on the moon were undoubtedly the fulfilment of an old, long-cherished dream of mankind. “Our film wants to set an unforgettable monument to the fulfilment of this vision,” say the makers of Faber Courtial. In their award-winning VR film 2nd Step, which was made in 2018 in cooperation with ZDF, the subject of expeditions into space has already been taken up from a different perspective by creating a VR dream journey about future missions to the moon, Mars and unknown worlds – and which is a wonderful complement to “1st Step”.
About Faber Courtial studio
Faber Courtial is one of the internationally most successful VR film studios and has been one of the leading VFX companies in Germany for over 20 years. The top-class animations of the Darmstadt production company have been inspiring viewers on television and in exhibitions for over 20 years.
With the internationally award-winning VR films “Vulcanoes VR”, “Gladiators in the Colosseum VR” and “2nd Step” – produced on behalf of ZDF” – as well as “Zeitreise Kölner Dom” (WDR), Faber Courtial has made a name for itself as a pioneer in the field of VR film and has been one of the most successful providers of VR films worldwide from the very beginning.
The company’s films have been shown at numerous international film festivals and have won numerous awards. Since 2018 Faber Courtial has also been producing independent VR films: the VR series “Follow Me-Rom”, which was produced with the financial support of Deutsche Telekom, and the VR documentary “1st Step”, which tells the story of the Apollo missions. Further innovative VR film projects are in the planning stage.
Ambitious future plans
The plans of Maria and Jörg Courtial are also ambitious when it comes to the future of their work: the next big VR project is already in the starting blocks and is supposed to open a new door in VR by weaving an innovative bond between conventional film and VR, thus enabling the viewer a completely new experience on different levels of perception.