This past Fall the Bob Baker Marionette theater took its final curtain call. For nearly six decades the Bob Baker Marionettes entertained the children of Los Angeles from their unique theatrical space in the heart of downtown. In 2009 the site was declared a historic monument. Just a few years later the theater officially closed its doors, and with them, a chapter of American history.
Although the marionettes continue to entertain at alternative venues, they will never take the stage again at the place they called home since the early 1960’s. VR studios Flarb and Clever Fox, with support from Samsung, recorded the location’s final performance in immersive stereoscopic video.
The performance, which will live on Samsung’s VR Video platform as a channel containing multiple segments of the hour long show, is a testament to using long-form immersive video as an important historical tool.
“Los Angeles has changed dramatically during the many years I’ve lived here, and it’s always sad to see a unique part of LA history vanish”, said founder of FLARB LLC, Ralph Barbagallo. “When I heard that the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre was moving, I immediately hatched a plan to preserve the space using the latest Virtual Reality technologies. Samsung and Clever Fox were my first choices for partners on this project and I’m grateful they’ve helped create a historical record of this legendary theater.”
Virtual and augmented reality are vital to creating a living history for future generations. The ability to collect and distribute a record of significant events is here, but it still has some limitations.
“My parents were puppeteers when I was small. This project is very close to my heart. When Ralph called me up I knew we had to get involved,” said Dekker Dreyer chief creative officer of Clever Fox. “I immediately knew that our challenges would involve balancing the lighting and sound of the show against current camera technology. Having shot long-form cinematic VR in the past at concert venues like Red Rocks I knew we would only get one shot at this and we couldn’t leave anything to chance. Samsung came to the table with an incredible stereoscopic camera system that could fit in the venue, capture high resolution video, last for the entire performance, and give us a dynamic range that we desperately needed for a show like this.”
Samsung VR Video hosts tens of thousands of 360 videos for VR, mobile, and web consumption, enveloping consumers into new worlds and bygone eras. With Samsung VR Video, people can explore timeless content like the Bob Baker Marionette from their favorite mobile or VR device, anywhere they are.
The project can be watched right now at https://samsungvr.com/BobBaker
The Bob Baker Marionettes continue to entertain and inspire with their sites set on the future. A fundraising campaign to create a new permanent venue is currently underway at: http://www.bobbakermarionettetheater.com/donate/
FLARB LLC is an award-winning XR developer and experience studio based in Los Angeles. FLARB’s latest release is DEMON’S TILT, a retro pinball game currently available for PC & Mac on Steam. www.flarb.com
ABOUT CLEVER FOX
Clever Fox is an immersive entertainment studio that works for major studios and brands to develop compelling content that combines technology and storytelling. www.cleverfox.media