For the "visual landscapes" in VR.5, there are two key components -- computers and colors. In a sense, the computer is another character in the series. To produce the visual effects, special screen savers have been designed that allow movement through or with the images on the monitor. Almost like a CD-ROM program, different icons can be used to feature different screens. These screen elements are composited in a digital-editing bay, transferred to 24 frames-per-second film and then played back live on the show's stage as the camera rolls. With this process, the real-life action is synchronized with the action on the computer screen.
The other key component in creating VR.5's one-of-a-kind visual landscape is color. After a scene is shot -- using 35mm color film -- the frame rate is changed and the film is then converted to black and white. This film is sent to CST Entertainment, which builds "art stills," one frame for every single cut shot. With this, every angle of the shot can be given a different component: a blue sky can be turned yellow, green bushes can become turquoise, a brown table can be colored red. This gives VR.5 a look unlike any other show. To complete one show, this process takes four weeks.
For the "sound landscapes," composer John Frizzell (orchestrator of "Wild Palms") creates VR.5's ear-opening score; opera is the key element. The music created represents the subconscious, which is as unpredictable, paradoxical and passionate as virtual reality itself. The theme, which came to Frizzell in a dream, combined with the lush voice of recording artist Dee Carstensen, musically epitomizes Sydney's persona. Contrasting Dee is opera singer Eileen Frizzell, whose striking mezzo sound resonates with power during the scenes. The shape and direction of the score has been profoundly influenced by music supervisor Abby Treloggen, whose precise and eclectic taste has added an array of music to the soundtracks ranging from Sarah McLachlan to Puccini.