Becoming Iron Man

Our battle begins in Stark’s penthouse. The reflection in the window reveals that the user is Iron Man. Suddenly, tranquility is shattered: Ultron Prime and his Sub-Ultron foot soldiers attack. Time slows to dramatic bullet-speed. The user skims through the ensuing mayhem, passing explosions and attacking Sub-Ultrons, flying by Thor mid-hammer-throw, Captain America battling three Sub-Ultrons, and the Hulk as he simultaneously breaks Stark’s pool table and rips an assailant in half. The slow motion illuminates everything in glorious 2K resolution. The pre-rendered video is 360° degrees of top-quality cinematic CG. The smoke clears, the missiles track in, and the Sub-Ultrons part to reveal Ultron Prime himself.

An Ensemble Cast

With so much going on, it was critical to consider the user journey from the opening moments to the battle crescendo. The experience opens with an epic real-time rendering, fully interactive environment and then transitions to a stunning pre-rendered 360 video. 'It was important to give each character enough screen time and action for us to inhabit their world, but then use something else to make the viewer change their gaze to a different hero', explained Director Andrew Daffy. 'We found flying weapons and rocket trails really helped'.

One of the biggest technical obstacles on the job was the rendering time for spherical 3D video. 'We essentially created 90 seconds of film in 360 degrees, in 3D, in under two months', said Executive Producer Christine Cattano. Despite the use of the same rendering farm as for Gravity – based in London, and supported by a giant power plant – it still took three days to render the epic environment for this project.