Will Cinematic Virtual Reality Disrupt Film Industry?
Immersive filming seems to be the hot trend across the entertainment industry, but filmmakers will have to adopt new ways of storytelling to make virtual reality cinematic content. Imagine being few feet away from your favorite rock star while they perform on stage.
Despite which price tag you paid for the event, you can be closer to the action than anyone because you are actually on the stage.
Virtual reality headsets like the Oculus goggle and Google Cardboard provide 360° panorama photos and video enabling viewer to hear and see the concert with an immersive experience.
Although most people would agree that cinematic VR for film is still in the early stage of development, many do see VR as a potential niche opportunity for filmmakers. Startups such as Jaunt and MindVR are already exploring how enable audiences in the virtual world with story telling.
Jaunt’s horror short “Black Mass” is one of the coolest VR demo to date, but still viewer would feel like they’ve been tied to a pole. You can look around freely but you still can’t move around. I’ve shown at least a dozen people the same demo, and they do not all focus their attention on the same objects in the film.
The high level question to explore is how much freedom should the audience be granted, this is why virtual reality filmmakers are exploring ways to get the audience to pay attention to what they’re supposed to.
Virtual reality films will be featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival at the New Frontier section. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival will showcasing 3 live action virtual reality experiences by Felix and Paul Studios, a virtual reality company that provides the technology and innovation to produce VR cinematic experiences.
The studio was recently commissioned by Oculus and Samsung to produce virtual reality content for the Gear VR. Felix and Paul are currently collaborating with industry leaders across the entertainment industry, as well as virtual reality companies develop narrative and non-narrative VR experiences.
So will cinematic VR stand a chance to win over traditional film? No one knows now, we shall wait and see!
“We’re never going to be totally immersive as long as we’re looking at a square, whether it’s a movie screen or whether it’s a computer screen. We’ve got to get rid of that and put the player inside the experience, where no matter where you look you’re surrounded by a three-dimensional experience. That’s the future.”-Steven Spielberg
VR Music Videos May Be A Future For Music Videos
MindVR is a cinematic VR content creation company from the Bay Area. They are producing content for VR HMDs such as the Oculus goggle, taking cinematic VR to a new level. Their recently produced a VR music video for old school blues Legend, Fillmore Slim.
In a VR music video, audiences are able to look in any direction as they wish. Prior to being approached by MindVR, Slim had never heard of VR music videos. Thus, Slim became the first blue singer to utilize this technology. A VR music video enables the eighty-year-old Slim to reach a younger and broader audience. Fillmore Slim says “I want the younger crowd to follow me. That’s keeping me alive.”
The VR cinematic videos are free on MindVR’s website, viewable using the Oculus goggles and Google Cardboard.
Jaunt’s recency concert documentary of Sir Paul McCartney singing “Live and Let die” on stage at the Candlestick Park, as well as Grammy Award winner, Jack White of The White Stripes, also released an VR music video, Third D, app that enables audiences an immersive experience to view his recent gigs. You can watch a demo of it on the Google Card Board.
In my opinion, it certainly feels really cool to see everything up close. But still there’s a lack of presence as the absence of sound vibration takes away the vibe of a live concert. Perhaps VR glasses may one day become ubiquitous at concert events, so fans can be onstage with their favorite stars regardless which price tag they paid for the event.