The Icelandic avant-rock band Sigur Rós teamed up with Magic Leap One to create a mixed reality (MR) experience called Tónandi. This unique collaboration allows users the chance to manipulate music through stunning visuals. Now, a behind the scenes video has been released which details some of the work that went into creating this project.
In the video, Stephen Mangiat, Creative and Technical Lead at Magic Leap Studios and Mike Tucker, Creative and Technical Lead at Magic Leap Studios, talk about how the idea came to be. Both were working on different teams originally until their shared interest in creating a music based experienced brought them together. Early on the two started by just prototyping different ideas until one clicked and caught the attention of Sigur Rós.
The team reveal that they had a long term love and respect for the Icelandic band and so when the chance to collaboration with them on an immersive experience came up, they jumped at it. Everything started to come together after the band and the team sat down in a meeting and asked “What would you like to see in MR?” before then spending the next six hours in an intense brain storming session. It was during this that the idea of using music spirits was picked and would later develop into the final experience.
“How do we take the signature DNA of a band like Sigur Rós and bring that into a new medium, how do we bring that over and it really paid off.” Rebecca Barkin, Executive Producer, Magic Leap Studios
Because the team were also keen to leverage the technology of the Magic Leap One to build a truly unique experience, they opted for spatial audio as a key focus point thanks to its unique application within the headset. Early on though they didn’t have access to the headset as we know it now and instead had to work with a number of different prototypes. “We tried to treat the music, the visual and the interaction to be equals, it was just a concept and there was no headset. It was just literally, we called it the big bench, it was just this massive thing on a table” Explains Mike. Other earily versions of the experience would simply see the users just stick their head into a virtual box to then find content floating within. It was once the headset became mobile that the team really started to explore the application of moving around the room.
The final result was a unique music experience that allows the user to walk around the room and interact with each element of the song to change volume, pitch, tone and more. Thanks to the hand tracking feature of the Magic Leap One, the project was able to drop any need for a controller and truly open up the experience to embracing freedom and the feeling of the band and music.
You can see the full behind the scenes video below to gain a deeper understand of the development progress and can learn more about the Tónandi experience over on the official website. VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest in the future, so make sure to stay tuned for more.