Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Elton John announces his retirement tour with an amazing kaleidoscopic VR video

elton john
Rock legend Elton John announced his final concert tour in spectacular fashion with a virtual reality showcase revealing the upcoming “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, a three-year 300-date whirlwind leading up to his retirement.

Ad Week has the details on the event held at Gotham Hall in New York City, where more than 100 journalists decked out with Samsung Gear headsets joined a worldwide streaming audience to embark on a VR journey through his decades-long career. The event ended with a short live performance by Elton John.

Related Videos

You can watch the six-minute VR video here via YouTube. It can be viewed in Google Cardboard or Google Daydream, as well as in regular 2D video. You can also watch a full 34-minute stream featuring live performances and interviews in VR here.

The video features John’s first U.S. show from 1970 at the Troubadour in New York, as well as his legendary Dodgers Stadium concert from 1975. There were no VR cameras around to capture those events, of course, so John turned to the special effects wizards at Spinifex to recreate it.

Using a combination of motion capture and CGI, Spinifex recreated John’s entire career, using a body double for his younger self. “It was one of the most amazing parts of the process, because we’d done the green screen shoot, and we shot the Troubadour on August 25th last year, and his opening show was just two blocks down the road,” said Spinifex CEO Ben Casey. “47 years ago to the day when we shot.”

The team authentically recreated all of the iconic singer’s outfits and the evolution of his distinctive eyewear through the ages, down to the last sequin. John himself even donned a motion-capture rig to play 10 songs on the piano.

“This isn’t just tech for tech’s sake, the digital assets we are capturing and creating will extend Elton’s magic for generations to come,” said Casey. “Great songs endure the test of time and we believe bringing them to life in this way will enable people 50 years from now to discover and experience the full impact of Elton’s music.”

Casey’s team made their pitch to John at an Oscar party in Los Angeles. Memorializing his career in VR certainly wasn’t John’s idea, but he’s amazed with the result. “I’m a Luddite,” he said in a CNN interview after the New York presentation. “I’ve never downloaded anything in my life. Even porn.”

See Google Cardboard on Amazon

Editors' Recommendations

Samsung Gear VR gets its killer app with 'The Well' from Turtle Rock Studio
the well

Turtle Rock Studios, best known for multiplayer games like Left 4 Dead and Evolve, has announced its next game, which promises to be a much more personal experience. Coming exclusively to Samsung Gear VR, The Well is a turn-based fantasy role-playing game built specifically for VR. It features a "storybook art style" and a "dark, dreamlike atmosphere."

While playing The Well, players explore the ancient world of Tholl to defeat the demonic Tesh. This destructive force is throwing off the balance between the peaceful villagers and the barbaric tribes in the wilderness. Players choose between one of four classes -- Warrior, Mage, Rogue, and Druid -- each with their own set of spells and abilities. Along the way, other characters will join the party and level up over time to unlock new abilities.

Read more
Google added two Samsung Galaxy-class smartphones to its Daydream VR list
Google Daydream

Google said on Monday that Samsung is now distributing an update to its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus smartphones that adds support for the Google Daydream mobile VR platform. That means in addition to supporting Samsung’s Oculus VR-powered Gear VR headset, these two phones will be compatible with Google’s Daydream View headsets as well. But the overall list is still extremely slim for customers wanting to take advantage of Google’s new mobile VR platform for Android despite Samsung’s new Daydream entries.

Here is the updated Google Daydream phone compatibility list:

Read more
Facebook drives 360 video with new 4K support and Gear VR integration
Facebook LIve

Facebook has upgraded its Facebook Live platform with new support for 4K video in 360 degrees, so you can record higher-quality video than ever before for viewing on smart devices and VR headsets. Taking things a step further, it's also enabled live playback for Gear VR users, as well as added a new camera certification program.

Although 360-degree video has the potential to become the video standard of the future, with much greater presence than fixed-perspective, 2D video, it's currently a nascent technology. Part of that is due to a lack of proliferation of platforms to experience it on, but a lack of resolution of recording devices doesn't help either. A 1080p resolution might be great for standard video, but when stretched throughout 360 degrees, it doesn't look so good.

Read more