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Sony Debuts Virtual Reality Mapping Technology in Groundbreaking Music Video at SXSW

It’s the first time the tech was used in a music video

Written By | Ann-Marie Alcántara

Sony closed out its week-long activation at South by Southwest with some fluffy clouds, a cash bar, special musical performances and a new type of virtual reality experience.

The second half of Sony’s activation, which ran from March 15-16, concluded with the debut of artist Khalid’s “Young, Dumb and Broke” VR music video. For the first time in a music video, VR projection mapping technology was used. The technique enhances VR with 360-degree “stereoscopic” images, making it possible to display images on objects within the experience. In this case, Khalid’s original video, “Young, Dumb and Broke,” is being projected onto different aspects within the video, like the ocean and planets.

“This idea of using projection mapping inside a virtual world was something that was created through an original Sony interactive entertainment engine,” said Miki Anan, senior manager, entertainment partnerships at Sony.

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Visitors who came to Sony’s “Lost in Music” event put on Playstation VR headsets and were first guided through the company’s “acoustic vessel odyssey,” an audio journey with an immersive sound experience. The audio and light show included a whopping 576 speakers, as well as a unique light installation created by digital artists, Kimchi and Chips.

After seeing, hearing and taking plenty of Instagram-worthy photos, guests then entered the “dreamscape” room, where they could watch the new VR video and get some drinks. They were also treated to performances by artists Tinashe, A.CHAL, Leikeli47, Olivia Noelle and, at the end, Khalid himself.

Sony worked with agency Ralph to come up with the creative for the event, using Mission to put the production together.

We wanted to bring together a completely new type of immersive experience to music lovers,” Anan said.

Anyone who owns a Playstation VR headset will be able to download the video come spring.

The first half of Sony’s activation (March 10-13) included the Wow Studio, which showcased different technologies like Aibo, an AI-driven robotic dog that responds to touch and even barks. The studio was taken down after the interactive portion of the festival ended; the space then solely focused on Khalid’s VR experience during the music portion of SXSW.

Sony will wrap its “Lost in Music” campaign at SXSW on March 16 with performances by Noah Cyrus, Cam, Caitlyn Smith, Lo Moon, Morgan Saint and The Accidentals.

The technology Sony debuted was yet another example of brands breaking the mold with unique activations during the festival. As Adweek senior tech editor Lauren Johnson noted, while there have been less activations than in past years, this year’s presented a host of new and unique experiences, including BeautyRest inviting 150 people to sleep on its beds and Grindr editing over 50 Wikipedia pages to add LGBTQ information.

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