United Arab Emirates flag-carrier Etihad has created a five-minute, 360-degree virtual reality film for Android and iOS smartphones to promote the first-class cabin on its Airbus A380 passenger jets. Starring Nicole Kidman, the movie — shot on Red Dragon cameras — required the interior of an Etihad A380 to be almost gutted, with lockers and seats removed to allow shots to be lit and filmed.
You can download the Etihad VR movie app on both iOS and Android, and there's also a version customised for Samsung's Gear VR headset which you can buy through the Oculus store. You're able to see a short trailer for the film above, but to view the entire film without downloading an app, you'll have to wait for the YouTube version to be released.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We want to share Etihad’s story in a completely new way, using technology to make our consumers a part of the narrative and to experience an Etihad Airways A380 flight first-hand, from anywhere." Of course, it goes without saying that it's probably the closest that most of us will ever get to a first class cabin without shelling out a bunch of cash.
Throughout the experience, the viewer meets and engages with a number of characters including the actress herself, her film director, an opera singer and even an Emirati guest with a falcon in First Class. The journey also provides personal interactions with the Savoy-trained Butler in The Residence, the airline’s luxurious private three-room cabin; the inflight Chef in First Class; the Food and Beverage Manager in Business Class; and the Flying Nanny, trained by the Norland College in the United Kingdom. The Virtual Reality film is available at vr.etihad.com and will be followed by an updated version in stereoscopic sound on 17 June. To guarantee the full experience, viewers will need to download the Oculus VR app at vr.etihad.com and view the film using a virtual reality headset, such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard. Viewers will also be able to watch the film as a 360 degree video on YouTube.