In the animation Back to the Moon, the first virtual reality/360° interactive Doodle, Google celebrates French film director and illusionist Georges Méliès. The piece is a collaboration with Google Spotlight Stories, Google Arts & Culture, and Cinémathèque Française. Watch it above in 360° or visit here for VR. Plus, some background on Méliès and his pioneering work:

Méliès’ contribution to the seventh art was revolutionary. In a time when cinematography was nascent and almost exclusively documentary-style, Méliès single handedly opened the doors of the dream, the magic, and the fiction. He accomplished this fundamental act by uniting the universes of Robert-Houdin with the chronophotography and cinematography of Marey and the Lumière brothers. The entire body of Méliès’ work shines with dynamic fantasy, boundless imagination, and an irresistible jubilation. The worlds he created were explosive and a unique mixture of phantasmagoria, devilry, trompe-l’oeil, illusions, flames, fumes, and vapors…

The magic of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg today could not have been possible without Méliès’ development of techniques across theatrical machinery, pyrotechnics, optical effects, horizontal and vertical dropouts, camera stops, crossfades, overprints, conjuring, editing effects, and color effects on film.

Watch clips from Méliès’ classic films next: Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902) and L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (1901).

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