Banksy’s Dismaland theme park in 360º by Allan Dixon

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Dismaland was a temporary art project organized by street artist Banksy. An abandoned seaside resort in the UK gets transformed into a calamitous parody of Disneyland. Thanks to Allan Dixon, those who didn’t get a chance to go there, can experience some of it.

What is your background and how did you come into virtual reality?

Creating videos has always been one of my passions. The 360 video format sparked my imagination, it added a brand new level of excitement and engagement to videos.
360 Thrill currently consists of just me, Allan Dixon @daxon for pretty much everything. From filming, production, to social media but I’m always looking for help from fans, friends and family. We’re growing, so it will soon be time to expand the team.

Where did the idea of this project (Dismaland) come from?

I heard on the news that Banksy opened a temporary theme park in England. A bemusement park, parodying Disneyland and tickets were selling fast. The internet was buzzing with videos, photos and wishes to go see the park. Since it was opening up in a small english town for a limited number of weeks, I had an idea that very few people would make it to the park, therefore I thought it would be of interest that it should live on though the format of 360 video.
Filming Dismaland in 360 would be the closest experience for all the ‘die hard’ Banksy fans to get a sense of what it’s like to actually be there. Pretty dismal to say the least. We convinced the security guards to film a piece as if the viewer was being scanned for weapons. Other staff actors sadly or gladly joined in with chats and displaying their golf skills.

You used Autopano Video Pro to stitch video frames. How did you find the application in doing the job?

Editing Dismaland began using AVP 2.0.2. The stitching quality was solid and a render test worked well. The next day browsing the Kolor blog we noticed they had previously released the beta AVP 2.2 with significant quality updates so I decided to switch over and give it a spin. It’s new interface makes editing far more pleasing. I also immediately noticed vast improvements in stitching errors between cameras.
Stitching wasn’t perfect for all the scenes as I noticed ghosting in some of the clips. As in, people walking between the camera views; people with two of the same legs, head and arms. Thankfully Autopano Giga has a great masking tool which let us fine tune the stitching in keeping people and body parts on single cameras until they transitioned over to the next camera. Adding extra time and attention to detail to the final production but it vastly improves the ascetics feeling of the final video. I’m glad Autopano has such fine manual controls. All in all, a great program with a streamline workflow.

What one piece of advice would you give to people interested in producing 360 videos?

The filming workflow and post production for the majority of projects are quite simple. Record some test shots, edit and render. You can pick it up pretty fast. However. The one piece of advice or knowledge that I’d like to pass on. If you want to start producing 360 videos, you’ll come to realise that the majority of your time will be spent organising the project and post production. From idea stage, pitching brands and companies, explaining what you’re trying to film, to calling your friends on the day making sure they turn up at the film location. Setup and coordination is key to a seamless shoot. For now, educating your talent and client is a major part of 360 filming as it’s a totally new concept. Make sure people know what you’re filming and how it’s being filmed.
Lastly, purchase spare GoPro batteries and memory cards. There’s nothing like the hopeless feeling of a blank flashing battery symbol or memory full on your GoPro with no spares and little time.

Do you have other VR projects in the pipe?

We’re constantly brainstorming ideas for amazing 360 experiences. For now, we can happily say that we’re so close to our next big video release. Being jumped over by a horse in 360. Imagine the feeling of a horse coming right at you? Suspenseful. It’s looking great and we can’t wait to share it with you. Also, we’ve been touring around Australia filming some interesting projects. So a lot of great experiences ahead. We’re constantly looking to collaborate with individuals, groups and brands. If anyone has an idea or project that could involve 360 video we’d love to hear from you. Tweet myself @daxon or @360thrill.
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