MS Society | Together We Are Stronger

Wieden + Kennedy

VFX Studio
Luma Pictures

John X. Carey

Production Company 
Tool of North America

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has launched the “Together We Are Stronger” campaign, which uses Virtual Reality (VR) to let people living with multiple sclerosis experience their passions in a new way.

Luma teamed up with John X. Carey at Tool of North America, and Wieden + Kennedy to complete the VR component of the campaign that highlights a surfer and a dancer whom have been forced into being bystanders of the very sports they hold most dear since their diagnosis of MS. “Off My Wave” and “Exit Stage Never” comprise the 360-degree films viewable on YouTube 360 and FaceBook 360. ‘Surfing’ and ‘Dancing’ are traditional executions that include POV vignettes sourced from the 360 degree content.

It was up to the Luma team to bring director John X. Carey’s beautiful imagery to life within a fully immersive 360-degree environment. This allowed the viewer to feel as though they were actually performing these experiences and not simply witnessing from afar.

For “Off My Wave,” a six-camera configuration was mounted to the top of a helmet rig worn by professional surfer, Robert “Wingnut” Weaver. Every camera was housed in its own waterproof case, which meant that each camera was a little further apart than they would have been otherwise. This introduced more complex stitching issues but the Luma team devised a number of elegant solutions to overcome the challenges this presented. A rig was also mounted to the end of a pole held by Wingnut to capture the establishing shot of him entering the water.

“Exit Stage Never” offered us an opportunity to capture the scene using various techniques, including mounting the VR rigs on mobility scooters that were driven around the performance in place of our dancer. However, during post production it became clear that the head-mounted footage achieved the director’s creative vision much better than other capture methods. This meant that we had to solve two key issues: “simulator sickness” and the stitching of foreground objects, such as the performer’s arms and hands.

By locking the rotational movement of the environment down completely, we solved the sickness issue. All rotational movement in the scene was achieved by the viewer rotating their head to look around the scene.

For the stitching, we developed a workflow that would both take advantage of new VR specific software applications and our existing VFX production workflows. AutoPano Video Pro was used for the first round of stitching, synchronizing the timing of each camera, stitching the background, and blending the color and exposure changes over the length of each shot. Each camera’s output was then exported on its own in a form that could be used by our compositors, with all stabilization done in Nuke.

By expertly harnessing cutting-edge VR technology, Luma helped make it possible to give back what MS has taken away; allowing the emotional component of an experience or memory to be relived by the most deserving and courageous among us.

The campaign encourages individuals to connect and share their solutions and passions with one another by posting their own videos across social channels with
#WeAreStrongerThanMS. See these experiences at


Louisa Cartwright

Technical Coordinator
Andrew Kalicki

Faraz Abbasi


Digital Effects Supervisor
Justin Johnson

Garrett Wycoff

Santa Monica

1424 2nd Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 888-8738


Level 2, 256 Clarendon St
South Melbourne VIC 3205