Cirque du Soleil
Courtesy of Felix & Paul

Award-winning virtual reality studio Felix & Paul released a new virtual reality experience in cooperation with Cirque Du Soleil at CES in Las Vegas Thursday. “Dreams of O” takes the viewer on a 12-minute journey into the underwater world of “O,” the Cirque show that’s been playing in Vegas for close to 20 years.

The whole experience consists of dreamlike associations featuring Cirque du Soleil performers diving, swinging on a trapeze and embracing strange characters that include a priest and a guy reading a newspaper while literally being on fire. “You are floating between worlds,” said Felix & Paul co-founder and President Stéphane Rituit.

To immerse viewers into this world, Felix & Paul tweaked its camera setup to not only record underwater, but also capture slow-motion scenes in and out of the water. Rituit said that storytelling and technology development go hand in hand at the studio for projects like these. “As we are developing the creative, we are developing the technology.”

The studio shot “Dreams of O” over a course of three days, working during the daytime before performers had to get ready for their nightly shows. Some of the tricks for the capture of the scene involved blackening the entire pool to record performers in a night-like setting. “Working under water is always a challenge,” said Rituit.

Felix & Paul released “O” for Samsung’s Gear VR headset Thursday, but plans to bring the experience to other headsets down the line as well. To that end, the studio plans to release a dedicated Cirque du Soleil app for a variety of headsets later this year that will feature “Dreams of O” as well as the two previous Cirque du Soleil VR experiences Felix and Paul has produced, plus future collaborations.

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