GMC Is Raising Awareness for Injured Veterans With a Thrilling VR Skydiving Video

Helping to build them smart homes

GMC created an exhilarating 360-degree video that gives viewers a taste of what it's like to go skydiving. It's a captivating and inspiring piece of film that features two severely injured veterans enjoying the thrill of jumping out of a plane.

The effort is part of GMC's new campaign, #EnlistMe, from Leo Burnett in Detroit that is meant to help boost awareness and raise money for Building for America's Bravest, an organization that builds custom smart homes for injured veterans. 

Currently there are over 200 injured veterans on a waitlist for custom smart homes which cost around half a million dollars. "The reason [for that high cost] is that they've got to be custom made, they're really bespoke homes for each veteran's needs because they're all different," said Rich Latek, marketing director for GMC.

With this campaign "our goal really was to find a unique way to get people's attention, raise awareness and ultimately raise funds," said Latek. "The skydive was one way to do that and with the 360-degree video technology you're able to do the skydive with the veterans."

The brand was inspired by one of the veterans featured in the film, Marine Corporal Todd Love, who told GMC that despite his injuries he's a scuba diver and a skydiver and that, "When you're skydiving gravity treats us all the same."

"This is a gentleman who is missing both his legs and his arm so we got interested in that hobby," said Latek. "We were thinking, how can we take our partnership, go skydiving and really highlight the passion of these veterans?" 

The virtual reality effort is introduced by actor Josh Duhamel, who serves as a spokesman for the brand's #EnlistMe campaign and has already garnered over 4 million views on Facebook.

The carmaker worked with Reel FX to create the 360-degree video. According to Elliot Dillman, director for Reel FX, the production house used Red Epic Dragons for its traditional shooting components and six camera clusters of GoPros for the 360-degree components. To get the full video coverage, they jumped out of the plane four different times and edited that footage together, Dillman explained.

The other veteran featured in the film, Army staff Sgt. Stephen Valyou said he was impressed with the resulting video. "I'm going to be the recipient of a smart home in the near future and awareness is what keeps [this program] going," said Valyoul.

He added: "Just because I've been on the list and about to receive a smart home it doesn't mean what I can do to help others is over. If this can help get some homes built for some other severely injured veterans, count me in. I can't go and serve with the military anymore because of my injury but if this is what I can do to help my brothers that are coming back injured then I'm all in favor of that." 

Credits
Client: GMC
Agency: Leo Burnett Detroit
Production/Post Production: Reel FX
Director: Elliot Dillman
Head of Production: Jim Riche
General Manager, Commercial: David Bates
General Manager, VR & Interactive: Steve Nix
Editor (Live-Action pieces):  Greg Sunmark
Editor (360 Content): Quan Tran
Executive Producer, Live Action: Steve Johnson
Executive Producer, Virtual Reality: Taylor Williams
Producer: Marcie Teague
Production Manager: Rachel Bradley
Director of Photography: Samuel Brownfield
Aerial Director of Photography: Craig O'Brien
VFX Artists: Laychin Lee, Dan Margules
Stitching Supervisor: Lyn Caudle
Lead Stitching Artist: Matt Stocks
Stitching Artists: Shannon Walsh, Kelsey Craig, Doug Hogan, Jessica Hogan
Stitching Technical Directors: Ryan Hartsell, Dylan Rogers
Audio Engineer: Frank Pittenger
Editorial Assistant: Steven Happel
Production Coordinator: Julia Gibson