The 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. The games were supposed to be cheerful. But on the 11th day, terrorists take members of the Israeli team hostage. The police attempt to free the prisoners fails and ends in disaster. This walk-through embodied documentary traces what happened 50 years ago using virtual reality.
FIVARS had a chance to speak with directors Matthias Leitner and Eva Deinert about this innovative narrative non-fiction experience:
What lead to the creation of this piece?
“Munich 72” is a documentary experience on the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games in Munich and the 1972 Munich Massacre. We tell the story in VRChat. Users can go through the events of that time chronologically in five worlds that are built on one another. With this virtually walk-through documentation, we want to make history something that can be experienced spatially and together.
What was the production process for you and your team? What did you learn?
We always work with a user-centered process and prototype testing in our projects and network with historians and museums that work in the relevant thematic field. This project has again shown how important it is to test with users as early as the conception stage.
It all started with a concept phase in which our art director Annick Buhr created concept sketches. We as the authors then wrote level designs for the worlds and went into smaller user tests with prepared Miro Boards. We did those workshops for example, with student teachers at the University of Munich. We incorporated the feedback and went to the next stage with the first blockouts in Unity, which enabled us to create a first spatial prototype in Unity and transfer it directly to a closed world on VRChat.
It was very important for us to get to know the technical limitations at each stage of the process. VRChat is a very exciting but also in some ways restrictive framework.
In addition, we wanted to get quick feedback from experts such as historians and the families of the victims on each intermediate stage and from users without any special prior knowledge of the historic background.”
How did you become an immersive media content creator and why?
At Bayerischer Rundfunk, we work in a team that is constantly adopting new digital platforms and technologies to create relevant journalistic content. With “Munich 72”, we wanted to find out how a complex and tragic historical event can be told in Social VR.
What is the VR/AR industry like in your region?
The industry is growing and in Bavaria, we have institutions like the XR Hub Bavaria, which networks locally and internationally. We have various industry associations and an institution like the European Creators Lab. It is fun to work in this industry.
What do you have planned for the future?
We are currently evaluating “Munich 72” and are again scouting VR platforms and XR technology. From December we will go into ideation again. Let’s see what happens.
What would you like to share with fellow content creators and/or the industry?
We are looking forward to networking. We can learn so much from each other, our team is especially curious about the many great projects that are running at FIVARS.
Do you think VR festivals like FIVARS are important?
Oh yes! Without festivals, there is no space for learning and networking together!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you very much for the invitation to this great festival!