Etihad Airways has released its highly anticipated 360-degree virtual reality film starring Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman. This marks the first time that a Hollywood actor has ever starred in a fully immersive virtual reality movie.
The five-minute feature, titled ‘Reimagine’, is a major coup for the innovative national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and immerses its viewers in a fully experiential journey following Nicole Kidman through one of its new Airbus A380s flying between New York and Abu Dhabi.
The airline has used cutting-edge technology and multidisciplinary mediums in the feature to bring to life its acclaimed guest experience and hospitality story by engaging the consumer in various sensory interactions onboard the virtual flight. Each scene in the film takes on a theme intended to stimulate the senses of light, sound, motion, and conversation.
Nicole Kidman, Academy Award winning actress and Etihad Airways’ brand ambassador, said: “The film is a culmination of Etihad’s vision to tell the airline’s story in an extremely innovative way and a commitment to engaging with the public as has never been attempted by an airline before. It was a great challenge but one which has definitely paid off and it was great to be part of such an exciting project.”
Throughout the experience, the viewer meets and engages with a number of characters including the actress herself, her film director, an opera singer and even an Emirati guest with a falcon in First Class. The journey also provides personal interactions with the Savoy-trained Butler in The Residence, the airline’s luxurious private three room cabin, the inflight Chef in First Class, the Food and Beverage Manager in Business Class, and the Flying Nanny, trained by the Norland College in the United Kingdom.
The adventure takes the viewer through the twin-decked aircraft and covers its luxurious interiors including Economy Class, Business Class, and First Class, before concluding with a focus on Nicole Kidman enjoying the unique features of The Residence.
The film, which has taken more than six-months to produce, was filmed exclusively in Abu Dhabi, and utilised state-of-the-art VR technology in its creation. An Etihad Airways A380 was used for three days and fully customised prior to filming; overhead lockers, seats and other sections of the aircraft’s interior were removed to allow for the installation of cutting-edge Red Dragon cameras, which were used to perfectly capture the actress’ movement through the aircraft. Hundreds of individual lights were required to ensure smooth and uninterrupted shots.
The Virtual Reality film is available on a dedicated website vr.etihad.com and will be followed by an updated version in stereoscopic sound on June 17. To guarantee the full experience, viewers will need to download the Oculus VR app on the airline’s dedicated website and view the film using a virtual reality headset, such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard. Viewers will also be able to watch the film as a 360 degree video on YouTube.
On May 29, Etihad Airways will host a red carpet premiere and roundtable discussion for ‘Reimagine’ at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Tune in on Facebook Live via the Etihad Airways Facebook page at 12:00 p.m. (UAE time) / 4:00 a.m. (Eastern time) to take part and pose your questions to some of the key players behind the film.