The unthinkable website webrifle.org was created by a group of enthusiasts to learn if Internet users can kill people online. A social experiment had a goal to understand if people are responsible enough to own guns without any gun control. They simply gave out guns to everyone. After a fast registration process a visitor was given a number in a line and after a queuing could control a robotized rifle with his mouse or arrow keys and shoot by pressing a space button. Activists closed a small city square for a day and brought actors to make it as real as possible. When a person was at the gunpoint an operator enabled a trigger button. If someone pressed it the operator told the person at the gun point to fall. After a few rehearsals they could fall very convincingly.
From the technical side authors of the experiment used a motorized camera head which could be controlled from the site with a special script. Also, to make it even more believable they used blood SFX that was attached to the actor’s bodies using a contrast tracking API. It didn’t work perfectly, but, when you don’t know it’s all staged, you just see blood and don't pay attention to details.
Most of shooter were gun owners. There was also a live chat where experimenters could see people’s reaction. Shooters were shocked since they were thinking they had killed someone for real. Thank God it was staged. Most of them wrote that now they would think twice before taking a gun in their hands. Out of 254 shooters almost every 27 took the shot. The project turned into a campaign against gun violence.
Executive creative director: Anton Zimin
Creative group head: Andrey Yarynich
Art director: German Kapitonov
Copywriter: Nikita Bochharov, Alexandra Zaitseva
Junior copywriter: Anton Fedoseev