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Inception Hong Kong: A 360 Virtual Reality Immersive Experience

If you loved the movie Inception, then you’ll appreciate this mind-boggling video of Hong Kong, created by 45-year-old digital content creator, Alastair Gray.


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Titled MOVE: Hong Kong, the trippy video offers a totally unique take on our city, shown through a series of 360 virtual reality immersive shots taken in some of its most iconic spots. And although the clip was originally intended to be watched on a VR headset, or in 360VR on a smartphone (click here to see the full effect) we rather like this flat format, which twists our perception of reality, just like the popular 2010 Sci-Fi film.

Captured entirely on Gray’s Samsung Gear 360 camera, the video takes us on a journey around the southern coast of Lamma Island by kayak, across Victoria Harbour on the Star Ferry, and through Central on an open-top bus, among other locations. We are even treated to a disorientating helicopter flight over the city. With such a sophisticated technique of film making on show, it’s hardly surprising the clip won Gray an award in an Online 360VR Film Festival. But how did he master the skill?

“I’ve always been fascinated by tech gadgetry, digital media, and videography, and have been experimenting with 360 virtual reality equipment ever since I had my own VR experience about four years ago”, the British filmmaker tells Localiiz. At the time I was working for a video production company as their drone technician/operator, and we were asked to create some aerial 360 plates for a CGI team to render scenes for a Hollywood movie. That’s when I learnt how to master the technique.”

And what inspired him to capture our city in this way? “Hong Kong is an amazing place, filled with great diversity, from breathtaking natural landscapes to incredible buildings. I wanted to portray this and break the global image of Hong Kong being solely towering skyscrapers. I also wanted to give viewers the experience of traveling around Hong Kong on some of the interesting modes of transport that we all take for granted – from the state-of-the-art ones to those that are relics of the past.”

While the 360 immersive video certainly offers a refreshing alternative to the standard (but equally impressive) drone videos of Hong Kong that we are so used to seeing, it does pose one slight problem – motion sickness.

“Haha, yes, if there is movement in the scene it can often cause motion sickness, where the brain gets confused as the eyes are seeing movement, yet receiving the same information from the inner ear”, Gray explains. “The effects of this VR motion sickness can last longer than normal motion sickness, and put the viewer off watching immersive videos in the future, but I have invested large amounts of time experimenting with how much motion you can get away with, spending hours in my headset viewing footage and subjecting willing friends to it”.

Well we certainly appreciate the ‘trip’… time to watch Inception again, maybe?

Check out more of Gray’s 360 immersive videos on YouTube, and find out about his passion project, Discover360Media.


Watch more! Explore more amazing videos of Hong Kong in our library.

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