Secret Cinema is an experience-based series of events where a film is shown as part of a piece of interactive theatre featuring 50+ actors, vehicles, custom built sets and – in the case the latest production – some immersive interactive VFX created by London post house Framestore.
Secret Cinema usually shows classic and cuilt films – transforming the tunnels underneath Waterloo station into souks and mosques for The Battle of Algiers, and showing Bugsy Malone at the art deco Troxy entertainment hall in east London, complete with dancing 'flapper' girls and custard pie fight involving all attendees at the end (my personal favourite). The choice of film isn't revealed until it starts, though strong and occassionally obvious hints are given in advance.
For the latest production though, Secret Cinema teamed up with Ridley Scott's production company RSA films to show his Alien-prequel Prometheus at the same time as it was in cinema. Throughout June, over 25,000 people visited a spaceship inside a converted factory neat Euston, where they were split into groups as part of an exploratory mission to another planet, given tasks, encouraged to explore dark alien tunnels, climbed inside vehicles from the film (above, actual props from the film) and freaked out a bit as the crew of the ship started to fall apart due to unknown forces (below), before watching the film itself.
Watch the video below to get a flavour of what was in store for them.
Framestore created elements including a pseudo medical X-ray scanner using Xbox’s motion-sensing Kinect cameras. The VFX team also helped create landing films, 3D maps based on ground plans of the event’s secret location and a giant movie wallpaper.
“Evolutions in technology and digital mean we now have the tools necessary to further blur the lines between the passive experience of watching and the active experience of taking part," says Framestore’s digital creative director, Mike Woods. "Viewing no longer needs to be a linear experience and visual effects can boost this new model by creating an added element of live and interactive theatre.”
Check out some of Framestore's graphics below.