We scoured the internet to find the most appropriate record holder to open Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition 2019’s virtual reality chapter, but Nathie (real name Nathaniel de Jong) was head and shoulders above the competition.
You only need to take one look at his YouTube channel to see how far his love for all things VR goes, which made it an easy decision and, of course, award him with the record for the Most subscribers for a dedicated VR videogames channel on YouTube!
You can see how well the shoot went in the video below, but to tell you the story of the shoot we spoke with the man who organised the shoot: Guinness World Records’ Head of Pictures, Michael Whitty.
Now where’s my flux capacitor?
Nathie was thrilled we would consider recognising his work, but he was even more excited about the idea of becoming the star of a high concept photo shoot! It was his initial idea to marry it to the VR-based Spielberg movie Ready Player One. This then developed into us visually re-working two of the 80s most iconic movies – both heavily referenced in Ready Player One – Back to the Future and Tron.
Amazingly, Nathie and his manager/brother not only said they could get access to a DeLorean car, but they could actually get access to one complete with clock, flux capacitor and time circuits!
The car belonged to a guy they knew in Belgium, who was a huge Back to the Future fan. It looked perfect, was in fabulous condition and was a real thrill to sit in. I just wish we could have seen it hit 88 mph!
Our aim was to try and lovingly recreate the famous poster from the original Back to the Future movie, where Michael J Fox is lifting his sunglasses (below). It’s a perfect fit, as we could replace his glasses with VR goggles to make VR a very central item in the shot.
We were shooting on location in a huge derelict warehouse just outside Amsterdam (that coincidentally had recently hosted the Dutch premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Getting the lighting perfect to match the famous Back to the Future poster was very difficult in such a huge space.
Using smoke machines and artificial lighting often leads to a window of only around five minutes where the smoke texture looks perfect. The exact moment that we felt we got to that perfect point happened to be when I was standing in for Nathie as he was getting changed – whoops. My favourite out-take of the year though. The smoke was perfect.
Thankfully the smoke lingered so, thanks to photographer Paul Michael Hughes, we were able to do the famous image – and Nathie – full justice.
When it’s Tron, it’s Tron
We then moved on to a Tron-style shoot, with Nathie managing to squeeze into the tight-fitting Tron suit (that I’d purchased earlier). The warehouse had lots of very handy – and ominous looking ¬– concrete pillars for him to sneak around.
Our fabulous photographer used blue transparent sheets on his lighting equipment to recreate the famous Tron beams of blue light. The disc being held aloft by Nathie for the Tron shoot is in fact the top of a paper roll cardboard tube that was just kicking around on the floor that we thought would work perfectly.
End of the line
I think the photos we were able to capture speak for themselves. Each year we show off the whole year’s photography produced across all of the Guinness World Records books to the entire London office and get them to vote as to what was their favourite shot. This involves reviewing more than 50 photo shoots.
The shot of Nathie came top by some way. High praise indeed and it’s the first time a Gamer’s Edition shoot has come top of the pile!