Friday, October 24, 2014

Love movies? Ready to be a part of the action? Get ready because virtual reality movies are coming!

"At some point, virtual reality is going to eliminate the need to go to a physical place and see a big screen. It can be even richer than the IMAX experience in a theater, because it can be 360 and all around you." -Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe

Did you think virtual reality was just for video games? So did Oculus at first. The company, which was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for $2 billion, counts a number of people with video gaming backgrounds among its earliest employees. Most of them believed that's where the main applications of the technology would lie.

But independent filmmakers have already produced a number of Oculus-ready short movies, which generally clock in at under 15 minutes. The challenge, directors say, is having to rethink storytelling for an interactive medium in which you can't control where the viewer looks.

Ikrima Elhassan's studio has shot a handful of virtual reality projects. He says "It's exciting because the rules haven't been written -- it feels very much like the days of early cinema".

The entire production process has to be rethought. Among the challenges: How do you direct a viewer's attention? How do you do cuts that aren't too jarring? How do you move people through a virtual environment without making them sick?

The jury is still out on whether traditional Hollywood production companies are going to be the ones to come in and produce the truly magical, original virtual reality content the right way. Oculus has met with a number of major studios to demonstrate the technology.

Some big studios are experimenting with the technology, including Fox Searchlight, which is reportedly working on virtual reality experiences tied to "Night at the Museum" and the upcoming Reese Witherspoon film "Wild."

Who knows what will come of it. But one thing is for sure - it should be interesting to see what happens in the years to come.

Source: CNN Money

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