360 Video, VR Experience 

Client: United Launch Alliance (ULA)

On Feb. 10, 2016, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex-6. The Koncept VR team was there to film the launch for view in virtual reality (VR) from vantage points never experienced by humans. The 3:32 minute VR experience took three days of preparation in the field, six camera rigs, and some very creative problem solving to overcome the technical challenges associated with the environment and schedule. As a result, we are proud to share a visual wonder that puts the viewer 150 feet from a real-life rocket launch.

The first rockets launched into space in the 1940s, forever altering humankind’s ability to conceive our boundaries and explore the outer reaches of our imagination. Although there have been thousands of launches since that time, the magic and mystery that surrounds them remains. Under contract to ULA, the nation’s premier launch provider, Joergen Geerds and Matt Mascheri of Koncept VR were given the privilege of filming one of these beautiful events for view in VR.

Filming a rocket launch is of course no small feat, particularly when filming from three unique launch perspectives. It involved three full days of preparation to assure we could successfully film under literally Earth-shaking conditions. During launch, the rocket exhaust produces 196 dB of acoustic power with every 6 dB being perceived at double the volume. For a little perspective, a NASCAR racing at full speed revs at 160 dB, which would mean this rocket launch was 64 times louder. Six camera rigs were set up around the launch site: the first rig was 150 feet from the rocket; the second rig was 250 feet from rocket and next to the flame trench (50 feet from the trench itself); and the third rig was 28 stories high atop a roof 300 feet away from the rocket.
case-study

All the time and energy certainly paid off resulting in the true cinematic marvel we see today. The video elicits a true visceral reaction and a sense of awe those lucky enough to view those first launches must have felt. The bonus here being you can see the launch all around and from three separate launch angles. To experience events from a distance that no human can safely observe is what makes virtual reality a true game changer, an eye opener, and a genuine thrill.

In an effort to make and already special event even more so, we brought together Maxbox VR and ULA to design custom cardboard viewers. The cardboards feature still images from the actual rocket launch and help bring a personal touch to the overall experience.

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For the best virtual reality experience, download the Littlstar app for your viewing device.

1. Download the Littlstar app from Google Play, iTunes or Samsung Gear VR
2. Select the “Rocket Lauch 360: Delta IV NROL-45” video or search for the “ULA 360” channel and follow
3. To view in Google Cardboard or similar viewer, tap the VR button…and prepare for launch

Want to share your launch video experience with friends? Check out the Littlstar app on Apple TV.
Don’t have a cardboard or similar viewer? If you’re on a mobile device, you also can watch in 360 via YouTube and Facebook.

Press:

The Verge

Popular Science 

Mashable

Digital Trends

Tech Times

For production inquiries please contact [email protected]