A duo of filmmakers made a jump into the virtual reality world with their documentary “Goldfield 360” and their work netted them an award.
Ted Faye and Jamie Hall won in the “best live action educational virtual reality film” category at VR Fest, which was held Jan. 6 through Jan. 9 at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“We took our knowledge of the work we’ve been doing in Nevada and applied that to the VR technology and that is what won the award,” Faye said.
The documentary is part of their series “American Ghost Towns”, which also features Tonopah.
“It’s a VR series that’s designed for virtual reality that is distributed on the app Ascape, which is an app that featured virtual reality content related to tourism.” Faye said.
This is the duo’s first jump into making a full virtual reality piece and the fact that they won an award with the project really surprised them.
“We were really excited,” Faye said. “We were up against the big boys. We are a small company and we were up against the major players in the VR world. We looked at it as a David and Goliath kind of scenario.”
Sweetening the win for the team was that the initial round in the voting was done online by anyone who watched the nominated films, before the two most voted on pieces from a group of eight were judged by a panel at VR Fest.
Hall began using virtual reality technology last year while on location filming with a television series.
“I transitioned to VR last year while I was shooting on location in Alaska for Animal Planet,” he said. “So I initially started doing some testing shooting up in Fairbanks, Alaska and have been continuing ever since.”
Faye does the research for the projects while Hall does the filming, which has worked well for the two.
“The project is really the blending of our partnership,” Faye said. “We have the technology and the content end. I’ve been working with the Nevada Commission on Tourism and the local communities in Nevada to help tell their historical story.
“So we took our knowledge of Nevada and applied it to our series American Ghost Towns, and Goldfield is the latest release from that series.”
Hall wanted to portray the area of Nevada accurately and took steps in his filming process to do so.
“In capturing Goldfield we wanted to make sure that we got a real accurate representation of the landscape of the ghost town and the prominence of some of these buildings,” he said. “In shooting and directing the piece it was more about selecting the shots that would tell the story in an iconic way.
“It allows the viewers to use their imagination as they explore the insides of these buildings and see things that they otherwise might not be able to see.”
Utilizing new filming techniques is a major key in how Hall was able to pull off their vision.
“In virtual reality one of the biggest challenges filmmakers have is moving the camera,” he said. “We had to get inventive and we designed an innovative new system that comprises of motion control components which is one of several tools we’re creating for VR filmmakers to help move the camera more efficiently without being in the shot.”
Faye explained he’s helped the tourism committee with maps, signage, videos and tourism guides among other things that have helped educate Nevada visitors.
Faye and Hall have been working together for 10 years and have done various projects together from documentary series on Death Valley and desert regions of Nevada to contributing to the documentary on former NBA superstar Allen Iverson titled “Iverson”, that aired on Showtime.
Faye and Hall have future projects lined up in various stages of production that involve Nevada in them in varying roles.
“The series that we’re working on, ‘American Ghost Towns’ does feature additional towns in Nevada,” Faye said.
“We have several projects coming up that we are already in pre-production on that will at least partially take place in Nevada,” Hall added.
Contact reporter Mick Akers at email@example.com. On Twitter: @mickakers