ScanLAB Projects

A portrait like no other - step inside a jawdropping landscape and hear from the people who have made incredible discoveries there.

Extraordinary People Extraordinary Places is an in-home 6DoF episodic VR format.

Each independent story is 10-15 minutes long and lets audiences navigate an unforgettable place with people who are involved in exploration in its widest sense. ScanLAB’s pioneering scanning and pointcloud aesthetic allows viewers to explore these incredible environments at multiple scales.

ScanLAB’s prototype takes viewers into the world of Tim and Pam Fogg – cavers and rope access specialists who have rigged cameras and led expeditions to some of the world’s most breathtaking locations. For them, cave exploration is like setting foot on another planet.

Audience members accompany them as they journey through a hyper-real miniature cave system, with binaural audio and evocative stories. Viewers will step inside the scene at real world scale and come face to face with extraordinary characters; a detailed replica of person and space, portrait and landscape.

ScanLAB intends to make 6-10 initial episodes and they are in development with their first collection of stories. They include a forensic investigator in a field of rotting corpses, a nuclear physicist creating the hottest place in the universe and a climate scientist mapping Arctic sea ice. These are powerful stories in otherworldly places and the team already has access to them.

Intended audience

Extraordinary People Extraordinary Places audience has a keen interest in compelling global stories that merge artistry and technical innovation. They listen to podcasts such as This American Life that explore universal topics through audio testimony. They are fans of documentary, science, travel and adventure and own VR hardware.

Extraordinary People Extraordinary Places subjects are daring mavericks with a streak of adventure. The series offers unique access to unimaginable places and people, satisfying a curious audience time after time.

Creator’s statement

Millions of global television viewers have seen our work across the BBC, National Geographic, Arté and Smithsonian. This project is an opportunity for audiences to step inside our scans, getting one step closer to the environments we capture and the wonderful human stories we hear. There’s something magical about seeing these worlds in miniature and being able to understand them through the eyes of our extraordinary subjects.

Previous ScanLAB immersive works have been critically acclaimed (Eternal Return, Displaced Witness) but inaccessible to large audiences through their use of elaborate sets and performers. This project, like our previous award winning collaborations with Guardian VR, specifically aims to be accessible at home and scalable as a series

Technical summary

The experience utilises ScanLAB’s realtime pointcloud render engine built within Unity. The current prototype is optimised for Oculus Quest/Quest 2 but the backend is scalable for higher performance hardware including Rift, and VIVE Pro.

Project team details

  • Matthew Shaw – Creative Director and Executive Producer, ScanLAB
  • William Trossell – Creative Director and Executive Producer, ScanLAB
  • Shehani Fernando – Director
  • Manuela Mesrie – Producer, ScanLAB
  • Jacques Pillet – Technical Lead, ScanLAB
  • Max Celar – Creative Technologist, ScanLAB
  • Tom Brooks – Capture Specialist, ScanLAB
  • Pascal Wyse – Music and Sound Designer
  • Axel Drioli – Sound Recordist

Team profile

ScanLAB Projects is a pioneering creative practice, with a passion for highly crafted storytelling. ScanLAB’s primary medium is 3D scanning, a form of machine vision that is potentially the future of photography. By bearing witness through the eyes of these machines the team shines new light on key subjects.

Past work

  • 2020 – Eternal Return
  • 2019 – The Waiting Room
  • 2019 – BBC Great Pyramid
  • 2018 – Crime Scene
  • 2018 – The Party
  • 2017 – Post-lenticular Landscapes
  • 2017 – Limbo
  • 2015/18 – BBC Invisible Cities