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New ‘Zombie’ app for horror film lovers launched on Staten Island

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When people think of “virtual reality,” they usually think of big headsets and expensive computers. But one production team on Staten Island is looking to change all that with their new app, “Zombie SurviVR.”
Using cutting edge technology, Steven LaMorte and Fuzz on the Lens Productions created a virtual reality experience that anyone with a mobile device can watch.
Zombie SurviVR is a Zombie experience for lovers of action, horror, and Zombies. In it, viewers witness firsthand as the Zombie apocalypse unfolds.

Trapped in a military infirmary with Zombies attacking on all sides, you’re dropped in middle of the action as an infected patient. Will you and the other patients survive? “Watch as the excitement explodes around you in 360deg Virtual Reality!”

While Zombie SurviVR can be used alone with iPhones and Android phones, the app is also compatible with Google Cardboard and other VR viewers, allowing you to feel totally immersed in this scary experience.

Steven and his team are  no strangers to filmmaking. His company, Sleight of Hand Productions specializes in creating the impossible. They have produced projects from feature films to television pilots, virtual reality experiences, music videos, new media, and everything in between.

Working with some of the world’s biggest brands to develop innovative content, Sleight of Hand specializes in taking productions from the smallest idea through to their final delivery, supervising every facet of production from preparation all the way through post production and sale.

LaMorte, the director and producer of Zombie SurviVR, has been making films since he was 8 years old.

Growing up on Staten Island, Steven grew as an artist at the WFBN tv studio at Monsignor Farrell high School.

While attending Farrell, Steven met Steven Della Salla and Michael Leavy, and they’ve collaborated every since.

Della Salla and Leavy have since formed a production company,  now of Fuzz on the Lens productions, best known for creating the Staten Island Clown Viral sensation.

The team collaborated with LaMorte last year on production of a feature film set at Christmas and shot on Staten Island, “One Stop Away,” which will be released soon.

Steven returned to Staten Island in late September, and with the help of a dedicated cast and crew, created a zombie experience right in their own back yard — literally.

Building a tent set in Annadale, the production team had to contend with the finicky weather.

“We had to use five people just to build the set outside, but then when we realized it might rain, we had to build two more tents to protect the cast from the elements. It’s a good thing that we did, because it did rain and zombie makeup does not work well under water!” Steven says.

He adds: “You can actually see his body in the film, as he is supposed to be the body for the audience when you look down, creating a sense that you are really in the room strapped to a hospital bed. I had the honor, or drew the short straw. However you want to pull it and got to play the patient who represents the audience. That was a really cool experience because being there felt much more real than being in a traditional film. It also allowed me to see the power of virtual reality because watching on my phone is amazingly similar to what I actually experienced laying in the bed on set.”

Steven explains, normally it’s not the case in film making, but everyone can see the same thing he saw — just much more comfortably, without being tied up, squeezed under a bunch of cameras and drenched in cold blood.”

But the weather was not their only concern.

Virtual Reality technology is still in it’s infancy, and creating an immersive experience using the technology available was no easy task.

Luke Potter, founder of Kinetica 360, actually designed the system used to capture  the experience.

“Most virtual reality experiences are simply shot with small low quality cameras. Steven wanted the experience to be as cinematic as possible, so we developed a system that allowed us to capture some really incredible imagery. We even went as far as building a special video village on set just so Steven could watch the actors in virtual reality as we were filming – it was very exciting to see the whole system come together,” says Luke, Virtual Reality Cinematographer, Kinetica 360.

Steven continues: “The best part of creating this experience for me has been people’s reactions. Even when we were on set — watching people put on the glasses or watch our film on their iPhone has been surreal. Not everyone has experienced VR before, so their reactions to being surrounded by Zombies has been a real treat.”

He points out, now, with smartphones, anyone can download their app and experience the world they’ve created,

“It’s like a high tech haunted house, except we bring the haunted house to you. I’ve had projects. I’ve directed available all over the world, but to have our film available in over 130 countries simultaneously is pretty mind blowing. I think we were just on the app charts in Chile… We’ve gone global!,” Steven, its director/producer, gushes.

The app is available for download in over 130 countries on the Apple App Store and Google Play store.

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