Now you can experience “The Lion King” in virtual reality This image released by Disney Theatrical Productions shows Jelany Remy as Simba in the Broadway musical "The Lion King. The Disney stage blockbuster on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, released 360-degree footage of its opening song “Circle of Life” that lets users look left, right, up, backstage and at the audience even when sitting on a couch. (Joan Marcus/ Disney Theatrical Productions via AP/Jerome Delay)
Now you can experience “The Lion King” in virtual reality
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"The Lion King" on Broadway is offering fans a view of the musical that even the very best seat in the theater can't rival.
 
The Disney stage blockbuster has released 360-degree footage of its opening song "Circle of Life."  It lets users look left, right, up, backstage and at the audience, even when sitting on a couch.
 
"It seemed like a really perfect marriage. A universally known song like 'Circle of Life' being distributed and displayed through a completely new technology that we hope will open up 'The Lion King' to a new generation of theater-goers," said Andrew Flatt. He is the senior vice president for marketing at Disney Theatrical Group.
 
The footage was shot at the Minskoff Theatre. That is the home of "The Lion King." It took five takes of the song with all 31 cast members onstage to capture all the footage. Several hundred volunteers and fans cheered in the orchestra seats.
 
During the filming, the audience members were politely asked not to wave at the cameras, resist the urge to clap at the beginning and keep their energy levels up for all five takes.
 
To create the virtual reality world, some half-dozen GoPro cameras were mounted on a stand and placed in the center of the stage.  The actors then swirled around in their Julie Taymor-created costumes and masks.
 
The stand also telescoped 20 feet into the air to capture the view as Pride Rock rises up and baby Simba is introduced. Software stitched together the various videos into a seamless, 360-degree view. Call it a circle of life.
 
Viewers can follow one performer, or look out into the aisles to see elephants arriving, see the conductor and audience faces, or peer backstage to find out what's coming next. It is a thrilling, heady experience.
 
"I keep turning in different directions and discovering new things," said Flatt. "I hope that the video inspires memories and perhaps brings back to the theater people who've seen the show. But, in the same token, I hope it opens up the eyes of people who never thought 'The Lion King' would be for them."
 
The footage can be seen free on laptops and desktops via YouTube and Facebook (using cursors to move around the virtual world) or smartphones and tablets (where the screen tracks movement) or special immersive headsets like Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard.
 
It's part of a wave of immersive videos. They are taking the Internet by storm. So far, such videos have been made of a "Star Wars" planet, the "Saturday Night Live" set, a Bill Clinton tour of East Africa and a LeBron James workout, among others.
 
The addition of "The Lion King" is noteworthy because, at 18, it is one of the oldest shows on Broadway. But it has embraced technology that's truly cutting edge. It's the first such video ever done in a Broadway theater. Another such video was done for the new musical "School of Rock." But that was shot in a classroom.
 
"Nothing will replace the actual theatrical experience. We're well aware of that. But I think the way that consumers are trending at the moment is they want to know more. They want to go beyond the surface of something. And that includes the Broadway experience," Flatt said. "That's why the virtual reality platform is groundbreaking."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why were five takes required to create the virtual reality experience?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (46)
  • karliw-1-bar
    12/02/2015 - 09:57 p.m.

    Five takes were required for The Lion King's virtual show display because the virtual experience is designed to cover all angles of the extravagant performance in order to include all 31 cast members and include all five perfect angles.The Disney stage blockbuster has released 360-degree footage of its opening song "Circle of Life. The experience lets users look left, right, up, backstage and at the audience, even when sitting on a couch. Therefore, they must do the same performance five times while cameras are rolling and focused on the 31 person cast of The Lion King.

  • samanthao-ver
    12/03/2015 - 12:00 p.m.

    The Lion King is one of my favorite movies so I would like to see it live because it would be a cool experience for me because when I was younger I would watch that movie almost everyday.

  • saray-hor
    12/03/2015 - 12:34 p.m.

    I think the authors purpose of writing this article is to show how much you accomplish if you keep on trying harder like in the article said that it took the cast five tries with all of the thirty-one cast members to accomplish the song " Circle of Life". I learned that anyone can keep trying harder, harder, and harder to preserver themselves to accomplish what they have started, and if they mess up, you can learn from your mistakes, get back up and try again. I agree with the opinions. I agree with them because one of the opinions were "I keep turning in different directions, and I discover new things", and when I turn around from a beautiful view over like a mountain, I turn around a again I see another beautiful view. In conclusion, you can learn from the authors purpose, and the opinions!

  • madelinew-1-bar
    12/04/2015 - 12:24 a.m.

    In order to create the 3D experience, 5 takes were needed. This was because they needed the same videos at many different angles and viewpoints.
    I loved this article. Being an actor myself, I love how they've found a way to bring the magic of the stage to people sitting at home.

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    12/04/2015 - 10:50 a.m.

    Five takes were required to create the virtual reality experience to perfect every detail. In the article's middle, it states that,"During the filming, the audience members were politely asked not to wave at the cameras [and] resist the urge to clap at the beginning" (paragraph 5). Due to these restrictions, it probably took audience members a lot of self-will to restrain from clapping and waving at the cameras. The filming took five takes because of audience members cheering when they should not have.

    I found this article intriguing because "The Lion King" is the highest-grossing Broadway musical of all time, not to mention the highest-grossing animated film of all time (until "Frozen" in 2013), so it surprised me that Disney is allowing people to experience the musical, albeit one number, for free.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    12/07/2015 - 09:20 p.m.

    I think this is cool because they are taking virtual reality to the next level. People can view the song "The Circle of Life" as if it was in virtual reality. It must be a cool experience because I never tried virtual reality devices like the Google Cardboard. It is cool to see that people would want to do it.
    Why were five takes required to create the virtual reality experience?
    Answer: 5 takes were required to create the virtual reality experience because it was to capture the whole footage.

  • skenn-wim
    12/11/2015 - 02:01 p.m.

    i think that this is such a good idea because the lion king is an amazing piece of art. the movie and the musical on broad way was so good. especially when baby simba was introduced on prime rock. so personally I think it is amazing that they are doing this, because there is also some people that love technology and wouldn't think that they would like the lion king

  • meaganw.-tay
    12/17/2015 - 09:16 a.m.

    The movie"The Lion King" is such a good movie!!

  • evakathrynj.1-tay
    12/17/2015 - 09:24 a.m.

    Five takes were taken because the cameras had to get every angle to create this film. The cameras had to capture the actors, people off stage, audience members, and other people or things.

  • lawsonl.-tay
    12/17/2015 - 09:30 a.m.

    I am going to look up that video right when I get home. It would be so cool to be in something like that or even just be in the seats.I like the idea of a movie like "The Lion King" is made where you can see it at all angles.

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