The Reel FX virtual reality experience at SXSW 2015

I remember years ago everyone thought VR was going to be the next big thing, we had such high hopes but sadly all we got was something that looked like a poor man’s version of ‘Lawnmower man‘. Though in the last few years this has all started to change. Virtual Reality’s main problem came from the fact that the tecnology was so far behind the concept but now we are finally ready to catch up. While at SXSW 2015 we got to hang out with the guys from Reel FX.



Now you might not know these guys just yet but they are going to be big, put it this way their last project was the stunningly beautiful The Book of Life, produced by Guillermo Del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierrez. I will be talking more about The Book of Life later so don’t worry.

Like I said earlier we had a chance to meet the men and women behind these marvels and not only that we got to check out some of their tech as well. We where lucky enough to experience two of their VR experiences and each was just bind blowing.

The first VR experience we got to try at Reel FX was the Pacific Rim Jeager pilot based experience. You get to relive the opening from Pacific Rim and experience what’s it like to pilot one of these colossal machines. Anyone who has seen this film will want to try this out. One minute you’re sitting in a room full of people the next you’re in the cockpit of a machine that could crush a city.It’s a very simple one compared to the next offering but it’s so engrossing and wonderfully accompanied with the excellent music by Ramjin Dwanjir. When you look around, you are surrounded with so many tiny details,I wont lie I was sitting there with quite the smile on my face and was maybe doing the opening monologue inside my head.

Raleigh Becket: There are things you can’t fight, acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you’re in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.

The VR was that engrossing I couldnt help but be sucked in.Of course this had to come to an end and my co-pilot died, I know what a bummer, but this was just the entree, the main course was what really drew me in.

Reel FX where the driving force behind The Book of Life, one of the most stylized and artistic animated films to come out in a long time, it’s beautiful, a little twisted, completely unique and unlike anything else out there. As well as making this film and created a VR for Pacific Rim, they decided to create a virtual reality experience for The Book of Life.

The VR experience takes participants on a fantastic journey into our Golden Globe Nominated animated feature film Book Of Life! The VR experience debuted at Dell World and most recently appeared at CES. The movie was created by Reel FX and distributed with 20th Century Fox. Artist leveraged assets from the movie and recreated a pivotal scene in the movie. Now participants can view the movie from Manolo, played by Diego Luna in the film.


When I tried it out for the first time I thought this was just amazing you get to experience what it is like to go to the Land of the Remembered in this epic horse ride that had me ducking and diving in my chair, the experience is an assualt of the senses, well sight and sound and just beautiul in so many ways.


While I was sitting in a room knowing full well that I was wearing a pair of goggles over my eyes, I still found myself giving into this new reality, one that moved with you. It was so intelligently done and the little tweeks brought the whole place to life, for instace if you looked left your driver would move right so you could get a better view. With so many colours and vivid images you felt as if you where inside the film or better yet a peice of art. I have tested a few VR expriences including the Game of Thrones Ascend the Wall experience, Insurgent Shatter Reality experience and of course Pacific Rim but this one really has to be my favourite.

Book Of Life

The work they are doing is truly outstanding and it’s humbling to know that they see VR as a new medium not just an extension of already existing ideas and for that reason they are going to be leading the technology, plus any company that can make a movie like the Book of Life well they are going to be churning out a few more gems thats for sure.

For more information on Reel FX, you can visit their official website at

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