How Alex Honnold’s ‘The Soloist VR’ Was Made

The logistics required to pull off any adventure filmmaking endeavor are immense. But true adventurers love a good challenge, and there is hardly a more adventurous crew than Alex Honnold, Renan Ozturk, and Jonathan Griffith.

Recently, the expert trio collected a few other key team members and banded together to produce a next-level virtual reality documentary. The Soloist VR follows Honnold on a risky but picturesque free solo climbing tour of the U.S. and Europe. It premiered on Oculus and Meta VR platforms on March 3.

Along with it, the filmmakers released a “making-of” style documentary series on Red Bull TV. The challenges they face, problems they solve, and spectacular positions they capture combine to make it a worthy component.

honnold, griffith, renan ozturk

Alex Honnold, Jonathan Griffith, and Renan Ozturk. Photo: Renan Ozturk/Red Bull

Making a VR climbing film

The three-episode special, succinctly titled Making The Soloist VR, takes an instructive, conversational, and warm perspective on the filmmaking process. The result gives viewers a chance to appreciate the knowledge, technology, problem-solving, and sheer will that such a cutting-edge production requires.

Ozturk and Griffith are the project’s cinematic visionaries. Griffith takes primary credit for The Soloist VR, while Ozturk led Making. However, both men are also highly skilled climbers and rope technicians. The combination of that skill set is hard to come by. To pull off The Soloist VR, they’d need it all.

Severely technical 3D video equipment, novel staging, and a variety of wild locations from the European Alps to the western American desert come together in the process. Egged on by Honnold, Ozturk and Griffith figure out how to make incredibly awkward, bulky 3D cameras dance around their quickly moving subject.

alex honnold making the soloist vr

Some of the 3D recording equipment used to film ‘The Soloist VR’. Photo: Renan Ozturk/Red Bull

 

Despite their initial doubts, the frames they produced are near-perfect, and nothing short of visually arresting.

All three episodes of Making of the Soloist VR are available at no cost on Red Bull TV.

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.


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max muster
1 month ago

you should really fix the issue where when you read an article, the ‘like’ button on the bottom appears to be already clicked, when it was never clicked.