An Evening with Childish Gambino
From Community to Atlanta to Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars Story, Donald Glover is quickly becoming a household name. Last night at the Microsoft Lounge, Childish Gambino (aka Glover) joined Microsoft and Wolf + Rothstein to unveil an exclusive first look at PHAROS VR, a new musical experience that lets fans relive The Pharos Experience, an audio/visual spectacle in Joshua Tree headlined by Gambino this past September. Last Friday, Gambino released his latest album “Awaken, My Love!” which broke away from Gambino’s usual rap to a funky, atmospheric, intricate album. With PHAROS VR, Gambino is creating a world that blends the physical and digital arts. In a Q&A last night, Gambino got real about his influences, passions and the evolution of music.
When Gambino announced The Pharos Experience last August, he gave little-to-no information about the event; fans came with no preconception of what the show would be. They trusted Gambino enough to go along with him on his musical journey. All he asked was for his fans to come out to Joshua Tree and go on a generative experience with him. At Pharos, Gambino had a strict “no phones” rule to ensure that people stayed in the moment, not hiding behind their phones. Gambino went on to explain that going wireless “builds complexity while simplifying the human experience.” With society being so dependent on their phones nowadays, Gambino adds that going off the grid is a rare and gratifying experience. His last album, Because the Internet, went in depth about how social media and technology addiction is hurting the human experience.
Gambino was very humble about himself and his creative process. As an artist, he’s not simply attempting to dish out mixtape after mixtape, he wants to further sonically stimulate the human experience. He wants to engage the audience in unique and creative ways without “treating culture as microchips.” Coining the term “human bandwidth,” Gambino wonders how far he can musically go to influence and stimulate his followers.
These philosophical wonderings led Gambino to develop PHAROS VR. This one-of-a-kind virtual experience allows fans from all around the world to experience Gambino’s vision. Gambino and dancer Eka Take used motion capture to generate over 80 animation clips that would later be used as holograms via Unity3D at The Pharos Experience. Take a look below at an exclusive preview of PHAROS VR.
Immersive Experience –
The VR experience has been developed using Unity3d as a development environment. Underpinning the collaboration and workflow within the development team was Git repository hosted in Visual Studio Team Services. Working in iterations, we’ve used Hockey App (soon to be Visual Studio Mobile Centre) to allow us to distribute development releases for testing, feedback and review. Through a seamless integration from Hockey App into Microsoft PowerBI, we’re able to visualize performance and operational data from the application. Every development stage was reviewed in a mobile VR headset, using a variety of different mobile phone hardware.
The VR experience has been developed as a cross-platform experience across Android, iOS and Windows operating systems.
Binaural & Spatialized Audio –
We want to immerse people in the world and its characters, so we’ve made the VR experience using 3D binaural audio panning. To provide a static binaural sound scape, we developed a custom Quad Binaural 3D system which creates a sense of space to enhance a person’s presence in the experience allowing us to create a world around them.
Microsoft Technology – Visual Studio Team Services, HockeyApp, Azure App Services, PowerBI