Sony International
The Forest

Inside the Yellow Tent 360 Video Experience

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To watch 360 degree videos, you'll need the latest version of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or Internet Explorer on your computer. On mobile, use the latest version of the YouTube app for Android or iOS. View in Google Cardboard with headphones for the most optimal experience.

The Ask

When Sara Price learns her twin sister Jess has disappeared in Aokigahara, the infamous “suicide forest” at the base of Mt. Fuji, she travels to Japan in the hopes of finding her alive. Once inside The Forest, Sara must confront the restless souls of those who perished under its branches.

Artists and filmmakers are still learning to tap the visual and narrative potential of 360° video, a medium that remains deeply experimental. This digital bleeding edge is where AvatarLabs loves to play. The AvatarLabs team was convinced that trapping viewers inside the confines of Sara’s tent—and inside her mind—was the ideal way to convey The Forest’s creeping psychological dread and powerful jump scares. Sony Pictures International agreed.

The Approach

Our “Inside the Yellow Tent 360° Video Experience” relies on sight, sound, motion and in-house practical effects to draw audiences into Sara’s world. The addition of user-controlled perspective on Facebook and YouTube—but best viewed in Google Cardboard with headphones—offers a degree of visceral immersion unavailable in any other medium. Inside the tent, the boundary between the real and the supernatural begins to collapse. Items from Sara’s childhood—a blanket, a chess set, an 80s-era Viewmaster—rest on the floor, while vengeful phantoms lurk beyond the walls.

Following a period of research and test shoots, AvatarLabs videographers assembled a spherical, seven-camera GoPro rig for use inside the tent. The experience was scripted as a single take, but required multiple shots to accomplish the desired effect. Extensive manual image correction was required to merge takes, hide “seams” and create the illusion of a fully explorable 360° view.

Jump scare effects were filmed with actors, rather added than in post. The unique challenges of 360-degree filming meant there was virtually no room for error in the staging and timing of their performances. Even the costume used to recreate the film’s signature ghost was created practically, in-house, by agency staff.

In a 360° environment, filmmakers relinquish camera control to the viewer; there’s always a chance that important cues may be missed. To address this concern, Sony worked with AvatarLabs to duplicate audio and visual cues in multiple locations, helping to maximize the viewing experience. When shadowy hands brush the tent walls, for example, the effect was replicated across a 180° expanse behind the viewer to increase its likelihood of being seen. Lighting and binaural audio were used to guide the user’s gaze; illumination, whispers and sound effects were always louder in the direction from which the next scare would come.


“Holy crap. Never going alone in the forest again. Ever.”

“My name is Sarah and it scared the sh*t out of me!”

“Daaaaamn this is how every trailer should be.”

To date, the innovative (yet cost effective) piece has logged over half a million views on YouTube and Facebook, ~7.1k likes, thousands of shares, and hundreds of comments equal parts frightened and delighted from around the globe. Our experiment-turned-marquee marketing event has even more clients requesting 360° video for some of 2016’s biggest releases.