YouTube has teamed up with the Emmy Award-winning VR studio Felix & Paul Studios as well as Just For Laughs for a new VR series that puts celebrities on the hot seat: “The Confessional” features stars like Lilly Singh, Trevor Noah and Grace Helbig opening up about their deepest secrets in a wooden confession booth.
The show’s first episode, which has Singh a.k.a. IISuperwomanII talking about being a virgin, can be viewed on Felix & Paul’s YouTube channel, either on YouTube.com or via the YouTube app. The video is shot in 360 degrees, and puts viewers in the seat that would traditionally be occupied by a priest — a fact that’s even more striking when watched with a Cardboard or Daydream headset.
“You can really feel the presence and the proximity of the people you are with,” said Paul Raphaël of Felix & Paul in an interview with Variety. “It changes what comedy can be.”
“It’s a great vehicle,” added Just for Laughs COO Bruce Hills. “It’s a great outlet for comics to have a lot of fun with.”
Felix & Paul recently teamed up with Funny or Die for “Miyubi,” its first comedy production. With “The Confessional,” the studio wanted to explore what else is possible with comedy and VR, and also embrace a wider audience of YouTube viewers that may not actually watch the content with a VR headset.
Ultimately, 360 video could be a kind of gateway drug for VR, and help popularize the medium, argued Felix & Paul chief content officer Ryan Horrigan. “YouTube and the talent help us in that mission,” he said.
Those remarks were echoed by YouTube VR lead product manager Erin Teague. “We now have more than half a million public 360-degree videos on the platform,” she revealed. “‘The Confessional’ is the latest in a series of VR content that YouTube is investing in. It’s part of an effort to find compelling content for new verticals like comedy, and to bring more content from VR experts like Felix & Paul Studios to the platform.”
Future episodes of “The Confessional” will star Howie Mandel, Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart, Moshe Kasher, Natasha Legero, Jim Norton and Judd Apatow. New episodes will be published every two weeks on YouTube.