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Nokia and Disney Just Created a Big, Green, Virtual Reality Dragon

Aug 08, 2016

If you’ve ever wanted to see a big, green dragon fly up close and personal, you may be in luck.

Nokia said last week that, with the help of digital effects company Weta Digital, it had built a short virtual reality video that lets people fly on the back of Elliot, the lovable dragon from Disney’s (dis) upcoming Pete's Dragon remake.

The virtual reality short, called “Pete’s Dragon: Elliot’s Flyover,” was shot with Nokia’s newly released OZO 360-degree camera to capture the mountains, skies, and canyons of New Zealand. A CGI version of Elliot the dragon was spliced into the video to give users a sense that they are riding Elliot like a wild stallion through the skies.

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“Virtual reality is a new frontier in filmmaking and our vision for VR is to connect audiences and experiences in a way that were not possible before,” Guido Voltolina, Nokia’s head of presence capture, said in a statement. “Each activation we’ve created with Disney has been unique to each film and we will continue to push innovation in the VR category to create even more immersive experiences to complement Disney films.”

Consumers can watch the short film via the Samsung VR app that works with the Samsung Gear VR headset, or see a 2D-version via YouTube or Facebook (fb).

The new VR short-film comes after Nokia and Walt Disney Studios signed a multi-year deal in April for Disney to use Nokia’s OZO cameras and related software for the studio's films and marketing materials. Designed for Hollywood filmmakers, Nokia's 360-degree camera retails for $60,000 and debuted in November.

In April, Nokia said it helped Disney create special video extras for The Jungle Book, including 360-degree video interviews with the film’s cast. The company also helped live-stream a 360-degrees performance by pop-star Pink during the premiere of Alice Through the Looking Glass.

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Disney isn’t the only movie studio looking to incorporate virtual reality into its film business.

In June, Sony Pictures (sne), appointed a Sony executive Jake Zim to a new role specifically tied to creating virtual reality content. Zim previously helped create VR marketing videos for Sony, including a special interactive VR short film for Sony’s Ghostbusters movie.

Pete's Dragon is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on August 12.

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