Directed by: David Liu and Rob Ruffler
Featuring: Billy Corgan
Developed by: Isobar, ViacomNEXT
Platform: Tilt Brush, Unity
Viewing System: Oculus Rift
Aeronaut debuted at SXSW 2018, featuring the work of directors David Liu and Rob Ruffler. The experience featured a hologram of Billy Corgan's piano performance captured with Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture. A ghost-like figure of him sits at a grand piano playing while a 3D world created in Tilt Brush morphs alongside the music. The song was originally from Corgan's album "Ogilala", selected in collaboration with the artist and Dave Meeker, Global Director of Emerging Technology from Isobar.
The song was ultimately featured as the music video for his subsequent record label. As the viewer progresses through the song, objects such as leaves and trees dance around the viewer. The song was originally written for Corgan's son, as a story of overcoming trials and tribulations.
The directors chose to use the room scale VR experience as a set for shooting a companion music video to post as a 2D experience as well. One of the significant differences between the experience and a typical music video is the fact that the elements constantly change depending on the viewer's perspectives, allowing the song and the setting to constantly change as the viewer progresses with the experience.
While the image of Billy Corgan is clearly virtual, the aesthetic of the smooth vector surfaces cast a less realistic environment overall, creating a degree of juxtaposition between the expectation of a realistic music video and an animated sequence. The result is slightly uncanny, although the graphics are overall much more primitive than other VR experiences, as the majority of it consists of silhouettes with dancing lights in the background playing in a predictable sequence while Corgan's figure is moved around the setting.
Compared to other videos Corgan has created in the past, Aeronaut is far less intricate, although the virtual reality experience does permit for a different kind of individual interpretation of the song, allowing viewers to experience a difference setting every time they initiate a sequence of melodies. Nevertheless, the flowing artwork created in Tilt Brush and the ever-changing imagery succeed in creating a realistic-enough alternate dimensions for viewers to fall deeply into each time they view the piece