Randal Kleiser Releases Virtual Reality Series 'Defrost'

Defrost still 3 - H 2016
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Director Randal Kleiser's experimental 12-episode virtual reality series Defrost was released today for download or streaming on select VR headsets, including Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, Mi VR and Pico VR.

It's a self-financed project made with stereoscopic 3D and 3D spatial sound. Tech-savvy writer-director Kleiser (Grease) debuted the pilot in 2015 and then produced a complete series. Episodes were previewed at events such as Sundance, Cannes and Comic-Con. Kleiser produced the series with Tanna Frederick.

The episodes, about five minutes each, are told through the eyes of Joan Garrison, a woman who wakes up in 2045 after being cryogenically frozen for 30 years and is reunited with her family. The cast includes Harry Hamlin, Carl Weathers, Veronica Cartwright, Christopher Atkins, Bruce Davidson and Frederick.

"It's a first-person experience," explained Kleiser when the pilot debuted in 2015. He filmed the pilot with a dummy of Joan's body placed in a wheelchair, with a 360-degree VR camera in the position of her head, allowing the viewer to follow the story as Joan. Kleiser himself appears as the hospital employee pushing the wheelchair, which effectively allowed him to serve as camera operator while directing.