See How Steven Spielberg Used Real VR Headsets To Make 'Ready Player One'

A majority of Steven Spielberg's latest blockbuster Ready Player One takes place in the virtual world of The OASIS. In 2045, people escape the crowded, seemingly mundane real world to explore and play in this virtual world where they can be anyone and do anything. The only way to enter this world is by way of virtual reality headsets, some more complex and sophisticated than others.

But VR headsets aren't just a sci-fi gadget of the future, and the real VR headsets on the market right now turned out to be extremely helpful in creating the world of The OASIS. A new Ready Player One featurette focuses on how director Steven Spielberg used the HTC VIVE headset to figure out how he would shoot sequences set in The OASIS.

Don't worry about the fact that this video comes from the HTC VIVE channel, because this is more than a commercial for the VR headset. It's a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of how a veteran filmmaker like Steven Spielberg is able to use new technology to create an immersive blockbuster experience. Even Spielberg himself seems wowed by his ability to scout shots within the virtual world that will be seen in the movie.

Using the headset and controls for the HTC VIVE, Spielberg had his own avatar that was equipped with a camera so that he could take screenshots from certain angles in the digital environments and figure out how they would shoot those sequences. In fact, he even had cast members Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Mark Rylance strap on the VR headsets in order to get a vibe for the virtual space they would be occupying when they were on a motion capture stage with nothing to interact with except each other.

If you have your own VR headset right now, you can check out some Ready Player One VR experiences that allow you to explore The OASIS yourself. It's nowhere near as immersive as what is on display in the movie, but maybe it's the first step towards having something like that in our future.

The film is set in 2045, with the real world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But people have found salvation in the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday died, he left his immense fortune, and total control of the OASIS, to the first person to win three keys, unlocking the door to a digital Easter egg he hid somewhere in his seemingly infinite creation. His challenge launched a game that gripped the entire world, but after five years the scoreboard remained tauntingly empty...until now.

An unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan)—under his avatar name, Parzival—finally conquers the first contest, instantly becoming a celebrity...and a target. Ruthless corporate mogul Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) proves he will stop at nothing to beat Wade and take over the OASIS, and suddenly the virtual stakes are all-too-real. Ultimately realizing he cannot win alone, Wade joins forces with his friends—now the High Five (Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki). Together, they are hurled into a reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.

Ready Player One is still in theaters everywhere right now.