VR for Change
360° Films about the Climate Emergency
A new participatory project from Produced Moon, which invites high school students around Scotland to create dynamic and moving 360 degree music videos about the climate emergency.
Driven by an activist framework, the project immerses participants in climate justice movements, introducing 360 degree films as a tool for advocacy and protest. Working as part of a wider campaign with different schools and arts centres across Scotland, groups of students will plan, write, record and edit their own 360 music videos.
They will learn to utilise the power of virtual reality as an ‘empathy machine’ to create immersive content that will shift perspectives, provoke action and make change.
The 360 music videos created will be showcased across the country: shared with policy and decision makers, public audiences and other students. As the project grows, it’ll connect up schools and students Scotland-wide, placing students in an expansive network of young people passionate about climate justice and changing the world we live in.
We’re currently looking for schools and arts centres interested in hosting the project, and for funders interested in supporting it. If this is you, then please do get in touch.
You can contact Mel, Joint Artistic Director on firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve already created two prototype films, Climate Chaos and We Open Up Our Eyes, in collaboration with Camelon Arts and Artlink Central in Falkirk.
Climate Chaos is an original 360 music video about the climate crisis, which presents a battle between two sides: the climate heroes and the climate villains. Climate Chaos investigates climate change by exploring ideas of care and neglect, chaos and order, connection and fragmentation, and tuning in and tuning out.
“We want the film to encourage people to take action. Small changes make a big difference. It’s up to you.”
The makers of Climate Chaos
Climate Chaos was created by a group of students from Falkirk High School: Cara, Chloe, Claudia, Emily, Emma, Jack, Lewis and Liam, who worked in collaboration with Leo and Mel from Produced Moon, Aniela from Camelon Arts, Mr Reekie from Falkirk High School and sound artist Lewis Cook. We worked across the Spring of 2022, in regular after school sessions for several months, to create Climate Chaos together.
Our project began with watching lots of 360 film videos and getting to understand VR headsets. We shot some test footage to work out what looked great (action scenes) and what looked less good (exploding coke cans). We then moved on to exploring the climate crisis, focussing on what was happening in Falkirk. We looked at the commitments that the local council had made, and their commitments to local biodiversity, which involve protecting the red squirrel, the tree sparrow, the bullfinch, the bluebell and the mountain currant.
From all this research we built a sequence of scenes, which our creators performed in and we captured in 360. The film is shot in locations across the high school and features some fantastic costume pieces, thanks to the Falkirk High drama department, including an epic Lidl hat.
The film has been showcased at events across Falkirk and has been presented at locations across the UK.
Climate Chaos was designed to be viewed in VR headsets but you can watch a 2D online version here
We Open Up Our Eyes
We Open Up Our Eyes is a 360 music video which was developed at and in collaboration with the Falkirk Wheel and Scottish Canals, and funded by Artlink Central.
While Climate Chaos was made slowly over several months, with We Open Up Our Eyes, we had a different approach. We worked over two weekends with a range of creatives: a group of singers from Freedom of Mind Community Choir, artists from Artlink’s Art Group, and a group of young people connected to the Falkirk Wheel. Each group had a slightly different relationship to the project, some wrote lyrics, and others performed in the 360 video, but all came together to create the music video, on some characteristically wet Scottish summer days.
At the start of the project, we heard from Olivia Lassiere from Scottish Canals, who spoke to us about the impact that the climate emergency has on the canals and how Scottish Canals are addressing this. We used this to spark discussions around our own relationship to the climate crisis and what we felt we needed to change.
At the core of the song and our music video was the idea of noticing: of opening up our eyes. This was both about opening our eyes to the realities of the climate crisis and the destruction around us, but also opening up our eyes to the natural beauty that surrounds us too, and recognising the need to protect it.
Across the project we collaborated with the fantastic Brownbear (Matt Hickman), who worked with the group to write lyrics and a tune for our song, and managed to work in some fantastic and tricky rhymes. We then had a filming weekend where we captured the visuals for our music video.
You can watch We Open Up Our Eyes here:
The film was shared in a celebration event at Scottish Canals in autumn 2023, and then has toured to various other locations UK wide.
360 Camera Research
Following our two prototype films we received some funding from Creative Informatics Resident Entrepreneur fund to work on the business and funding model for the project, and to develop our approach to working with 360 cameras.
We learnt about shooting 360 in 3D from the wonderful Andrew Murchie, about recording and editing spatial sound from the phenomenal Eliyana Evans, and collaborated with fantastic Trainee 360 Filmmaker Tao-Anas Le Thanh and Young Trainee Artist Sonique Noreiga to explore new possibilities in 360 and immersive storytelling.
We worked with producer Rebecca Livesey-Wright to develop a new producing model for the project and to explore how we could scale up our approach to deliver in multiple schools simultaneously. Together we also developed a new approach to working with arts centres, galleries and theatres to showcase and celebrate the work created by students.
Across our time as Resident Entrepreneurs we were mentored by Miriam Nelken, who helped us unravel and interrogate the project and our approach. From these conversations we identified the central role we wanted activism to play in VR for Change, and we’re now developing an approach where we directly collaborate with activists and activist groups across delivery.