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After Solitary”, a collaboration between Emblematic Group and FRONTLINE,  is a groundbreaking virtual reality experience that places the viewer physically and emotionally inside an otherwise inaccessible world.  It was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW 2017 for best room scale VR, the top prize at the World VR Forum, and has showcased at AFI Docs and SIFFX.

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Photogrammetry

We went to Kenny's house and captured his bedroom in photogrammetry. The user can walk around in the room as if they were there.

After Solitary is a visceral window into the practice of solitary confinement co-directed by Cassandra Herrman and Lauren Mucciolo. It features ex-offender Kenny Moore’s story of being held in long-term solitary confinement in the mid-90’s at Maine State Prison and what happened to him when he returned home to his family. This groundbreaking journalistic experience is based off three years of rigorous investigative reporting and marries cutting-edge photogrammetry technology that places users inside of two photorealistic 3D scanned environments—one of a solitary cell and the other of an ordinary bedroom—with a videogrammetry capture hologram of Kenny.

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Cell Photogrammetry 

We went to Kenny's cell, where he spent 5,5 years of his life, and captured it in photogrammetry. When the user puts on the goggles, he can walk in the cell, as if he was there.

The vision was to use cutting-edge technology to push the boundaries of immersive storytelling, while exploring what virtual reality can bring to journalism.
— Cassandra Herman, Director

Videogrammetry

To make the experience more effective, we invited Kenny to the 8i studios to capture his testimony in volummetric video.

The claustrophobic experience of walking around a photorealistic prison cell in the presence of an actual offender. Standing alongside Kenny’s lumbering frame as he recalls his most despairing moments in solitary and the disturbing measures he took to cope. When we then transport the user to Kenny’s home and inside his bedroom, where he has cordoned himself off from the world, and where the same vacant stare from his solitary time lingers on, the user understands on a hauntingly visceral level the real price of solitary.
— Cassandra Herman, Director
When the hologram of Kenny is imported in the photogrammetry of his former solitary confinement cell.

When the hologram of Kenny is imported in the photogrammetry of his former solitary confinement cell.

So I found myself walking in this solitary confinement cell, yet, despite all the research to make my narrative short film I still didn’t have a clear idea of what solitary confinement was,” confessed Gamelin, “but when I put the goggles on, it only took me a few seconds to understand, I just got it.
— Cedric Gamelin, WWF17 acceptance speech

WWF17 Grand Prize

In fact, since he was released from prison a few months ago, he says he continues to walk around asking people, "Do I act normally?", because getting back to socializing again with people was THAT difficult,” noted Gamelin.