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Sleepy Hollow is first VR experience to claim Emmy award

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A virtual reality experience set up at this year’s Comic-Con is the first VR film in history to win a prestigious Emmy award.

The Sleepy Hollow experience, based on the TV adaptation of the classic horror story, won the Emmy for user experience and visual design, a sign that VR is moving closer to the mainstream market as hardware such as the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear and Microsoft Hololens gear up for a commercial push.

Created by Canadian studio Secret Location, the Sleepy Hollow experience made its debut at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. Visitors use the Oculus Rift headset to watch the short video which starts with an introduction to Ichabod Crane, who warns them of the dangers of Sleepy Hollow. Crane then leaves the user alone in the forest before a flock of bats fill the screen, followed by the appearance of the headless horseman who swiftly cuts off the viewer's head (leaving many who sampled the product to check their necks were still intact).

Using the technology developed by Secret Location, the horseman’s trajectory is determined depending on the direction the user is facing, ensuring he will always strike from behind to add an extra fright into the experience, which ends when he picks up the dismembered body part as the eyes close to end the chilling video.

The visitor experience also offered those who dared to brave an encounter with the horseman a green screen photoshoot which depicted them beheaded, while a costumed headless horseman would parade around the creepy shack installed outside the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con.

Over the course of four days several thousands fans lined up for the experience, with queues reaching up to two-hours long.

The ‘AMEX Unstaged: Taylor Swift Experience’ also picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program, enabling fans to follow Swift around using their smartphone, but the experience isn’t VR in the traditional sense, as it is not available on a headset.

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A virtual reality experience set up at this year’s Comic-Con is the first VR film in history to win a prestigious Emmy award.
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