Today’s Google Doodle, celebrating the French filmmaker Georges Méliès, is a little different than the search engine’s standard homepage illustration or animation: It’s Google’s first virtual reality, 360-degree Doodle.
This means that while you can click to play the Doodle online and move your cursor to see the scene from different angles, you can also view it through Google’s VR headsets — Cardboard or Daydream — as well as the Google Spotlight Stories app. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who was a pioneer in the movie industry and has been called the First Wizard Of Cinema.
Méliès was born in Paris in 1861. Through managing his father’s shoe factory, he earned enough money to purchase the Robert-Houdin theater, where he entered the theatrical world, taking on the roles of illusionist, magician, writer, and actor. He channeled his visionary talents into moving pictures, creating some of the earliest special effects in film.
According to Méliès’s official website, he created the first double exposure and split-screen, where actors performed opposite themselves. He also developed editing and color effects — Méliès painted every frame of his films — that set the stage for major movies to come. His films are works of fantasy, but also reflect current events. He showed incredible foresight, depicting early imaginings of modern TV and the moon landing, Google's Doodle blog reports.
Today’s Doodle is a mini film that highlights some of Méliès’s most impressive filmmaking techniques, from duplicating the same person in one frame to making someone’s body “disappear” on screen.
Watch a short film about the making of today's standout Google Doodle below.