Georges Méliès, French filmmaker and illusionist, is honored by Google this Thursday (3) with the first interactive Doodle in virtual reality. The date was chosen to mark the 116th anniversary of the film considered his masterpiece, «A Conquista do Pólo» (À la conquest du ple, 1912).
George Méliès’ unprecedented celebration is the result of a partnership between the teams of Google Spotlight Stories, Google Arts & Culture and Cinémathèque Française. Méliès was introduced to the world of cinema by the Lumière Brothers, the doodle animation allows the viewer to explore the scenery created by his films with the Google Cardboard VR glasses.
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Tribute to Georges Méliès is first Doodle in reality – Photo: Disclosure / Google
For the first time, a date is celebrated by Google with a 360-degree video that can be accessed in virtual reality. To check the news, just click on the image that replaces the traditional search giant logo. Then, the video “Back to the Moon” begins, an interactive animation of just over two minutes. On smartphones, the movie is likely to open in the YouTube app.
At the end of the video, the doodle allows you to research more about Méliès and share on social networks – Photo: Reproduction / Beatriz Cardoso
In the film, an illustration version of Méliès performs a series of tricks seen in his films, such as the multiplication of a person, the man whose head is separated from the body and the individual who turns into smoke. In the case of devices with a gyroscope, the design scenario can be explored in 360 degrees by moving the device. For example, when you move it to the right, you can see what happens on the right side of the scene, and when you lift it above your head, you can see the starry sky.
On computers, interaction takes place by dragging the cursor across the player, giving the same details. The experience, however, becomes even richer and immersive if done with virtual reality glasses, for which it was developed.
Méliès tricks were reproduced in the Doodle animation – Photo: Disclosure / Google
Special Effects Father
Born on December 8, 1861, in Paris, France, Georges Méliès had his first contact with cinema in 1895, when he was invited by the Lumière Brothers to the first cinematic presentation. At the time, he already owned the Robert-Houdin Theater, where he acted as an actor, director, producer, writer, set designer and costume designer, in addition to inventing many of the magic tricks. Impressed by the cinematographer, he made an offer for the device, which was rejected by the brothers, because they believed that it should be used for scientific and not artistic purposes.
In the following year, he managed to buy a similar film projector, called Animatógrafo, created by the English scientist Robert W. Paul. First, the device was used in the theater to insert projections as part of the shows. Subsequently, Méliès studied the design on the device and managed to adapt it so that it also allowed filming. Between 1896 and 1913, he directed more than 500 films, lasting between one and 40 minutes, and took advantage of his experience as an illusionist to apply it to the seventh art.
The universe he created was a mixture of phantasmagoria, vapors, flames and illusions. In 1902, he released “Viagem à lua”, a film considered his masterpiece and inspired by Julio Verne’s work “Da Terra à lua”. The production entered the history of cinema as a milestone in the evolution of narrative continuity, in a sequence in which a cannon that takes astronomers to the moon lands in the «eye» of the star.
Among the other achievements of Méliès in cinema is the development of techniques that served as a basis for the special effects we have today. Among them are editing and color effects in the film, subtle transition techniques between different scenes (crossfade), optical effects, pyrotechnics and many more.
Exhibition on Georges Méliès
Virtual exhibition about Georges Méliès at Google Arts and Culture – Photo: Reproduction / Taysa Coelho
In addition to the interactive Doodle, Google also launched a virtual exhibition about the French filmmaker in Google Arts & Culture, created in collaboration with Cinémathèque Française. In the show, it is possible to learn more about the life and work of Georges Méliès.
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The history of Google Doodles