As the founders of the largest comedy festival in the world, Just For Laughs doesn’t joke around when it comes to innovation. It isn’t surprising that they wanted to test the waters of immersive technology — the possibilities presented by virtual reality could dramatically change how comedy is produced and delivered. XPR Labs was up to the task of building a virtual comedy club in collaboration with JFL — and delivered.
The comedy club would need to be functional, able to host standup shows in real time. It also needed to be an attractive proof of concept for JFL’s roster of standup comedians, proving the value of immersive events. Ultimately, the venue would need to be flawless, rendered in high definition with realistic features and furnishing.
To deliver on JFL’s requirements, XPR designed one of VR’s most realistic comedy clubs. Modeled after a brick-walled NYC basement club, it was completed with dim lighting, rustic wooden flooring, and modern-minimalist furniture, with the goal of near-perfectly mimicking the clubs that many comedians would have started their standup careers in. For functionality, microphones and a camera system were deployed to enable real-time video production. Finally, auxiliary functions were added, including a recording booth, green room, and meeting room.
Immediately after completion, the club saw its first live show. JFL management entered the venue using VR headsets, were treated to live VR talent, and experienced the environment firsthand. They even received bar and table service from VR actors, to further drive home the immersiveness of the space. Afterwards, JFL walked away not only knowing the power of virtual events, but planning tests for TV integrations and to use VR elements in an upcoming live show.
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