Disney’s The Lion King recently filmed its iconic opening number “Circle of Life” using immersive reality technology, marking it the first time the technology has been used inside a Broadway theatre. The 360° footage has been compiled to create the first-ever virtual reality experience of a theatrical production number captured exactly as it is seen onstage.
Unlike most virtual reality captures of landscapes, sporting events or concerts, The Lion King allows viewers to experience “Circle of Life” from the actors’ point of view and see activity otherwise invisible to an audience. The camera allows viewers – in a seamless 360° sweep – to experience the number from within it, completely surrounded by the 31 cast members onstage, Julie Taymor’s puppets and masks, the audience seated in the Minskoff Theatre auditorium, set pieces flying in from above and actors emerging from two floors below the stage as Pride Rock rises up to present Mufasa, Rafiki and baby Simba. The virtual reality technology enables viewers to choose where to look at every point, inviting repeat viewings of the video to take in every possible vantage point.
‘Circle of Life’ in 360º | THE LION KING on Broadway
“In our 19th year on Broadway, The Lion King continues to be embraced to an unprecedented degree around the world, and we are humbled,” said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer Disney Theatrical Productions. “But with that success comes the responsibility to consistently find new ways of sharing Julie Taymor’s bold artistry. What better way to do that than this cutting edge virtual reality technology that puts you right in the middle of one of the most unforgettable production numbers ever staged? For the first time ever, you can become part of the ‘Circle of Life.’”
The video debuted at on Wired.com earlier today and can be viewed now in the following ways:
For viewing on desktop, open the link in the latest Chrome browser and use your mouse to click and drag to navigate your view.
For viewing on mobile or tablet, open the link in the latest YouTube app and move your device to navigate your view.
For viewing on headset, watch on Google Cardboard with the YouTube app (Android only).
From 6pm today, the video will be available on YouTube and Facebook and can be viewed in the following ways:
For viewing on desktop watch below! or visit YouTube.com/DisneyonBroadway or Facebook.com/TheLionKing in the latest Chrome browser and use your mouse to click and drag to navigate your view.
For viewing on mobile or tablet, open the latest YouTube or Facebook app and visit the Disney On Broadway YouTube Channel or The Lion King Facebook Page. Move your device to navigate your view.
For viewing on headset:
Watch on the Samsung Gear VR with MilkVR.
Watch on Google Cardboard with the YouTube app (Android only) or the Littlstar app (available on the App Store and Play Store).
The video is produced for The Lion King by Total Cinema 360.