Reimagining the haunted house through an immersive labyrinth of visual, aural and sensory illusions to release the bat within. Nocturnal Awakening was created in partnership with Kenzo Digital exclusively for a Bacardi Halloween Party in NYC.
Bring out the Bacardi Bat
Framestore VR Studio joined forces with artist and creative agency Kenzo Digital to reimagine the traditional concept of a haunted house as Nocturnal Awakening. A multi-sensory experience that would transport, thrill and terrify visitors. Party goers plunged deeper into their own psyches and came face to face with the Bacardi Bat like never before by traversing a two-floor multi-room labyrinth. The challenge was to tell the ultimate story of metamorphosis and show that Bacardi, with its iconic bat logo, is the true owner of Halloween.
Kenzo Digital came to Framestore VR Studio with the creative look and feel for a holographic bat which would feature at the heart of the immersive installation. The challenge for the team was make a spectral apparition worthy of Halloween night. We wanted the bat to be utterly otherworldly and hauntingly mesmerizing. Ultimately, giving people the ability to step inside the hologram and give it wings.
To really tell the story of metamorphosis we had to combine distinctive art direction with an unprecedented level of interactivity. The bat was a fully interactive hologram running in a game engine with 5.1 surround sound audio. The idea was to bring the classic illusion technique Pepper’s Ghost into the digital age: an LED panel, out of sight of the party goers, was reflected onto an angled plane of reflective glass to bring a generative, glitchy spectre into the real world. To craft the unique art direction in the engine, we had to come up with a bespoke process that could handle the technical challenge of blending prerendered animations with physical avateering so the hologram responded to human gestures with motion that felt entirely bat-like.
In this first of a kind Mixed Reality experience, we used a Kinect to recognize the skeleton, and an in-engine rig with two bone inverse kinematics to translate human gesture across anatomies into a bat flapping its wings. To let party goers see even more of themselves in the bat, a point cloud mirrored the bat’s face to their own.
The apparition was accompanied by a bloodcurdling screech and the sound generated by the flapping wings was Framestore’s first foray into real time audio. Sensory elements like falling snow and mist deepened the experience.