The Future of Film in Virtual Reality: Directors Weigh In

Oct 19, 2016 10:30 AM EDT | By Iryne (iryne.writer@gmail.com)

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  • The Samsung Studio At SXSW 2016
  • The potential of Virtual Reality technology is not just limited to games as other fields are beginning to explore and experiment on how VR could be used to push possibilities in the existing mediums.
    (Photo: Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Samsung)

Almost everything that William Gibson wrote in his novel "Neuromancer" has slowly become a reality with the recent launch of Playstation's Virtual Reality headset. We are clearly approaching an era where what used to be a figment of our imagination and could only exist in books or in our sci-fi movies will soon become a regular thing in our everyday lives.

Though VR was first launched mainly as a tool in the gaming scene, a few filmmakers have begun to play around incorporating VR in their cinematic narratives. "Iron Man" director, Jon Favreau, has made a trailer story entitled "Gnomes and Goblins." A few more directors during the Austin Film Festival have shared details on their experiments with the virtual reality which they show to an enthusiastic audience.

Deepak Chetty, a director, cinematographer and VR enthusiast has already garnered awards for his 3D short films and has been commissioned by Washington Post of how VR can fit into the realistic stories. According to Chetty the immediate obvious difference between film and VR is the immersive perspective and the "non-framed" perspective. When watching movies in the theaters, it is framed in a rectangular screen, where the film-maker will have to decide what will be included in this limited frame which is entirely the opposite for VR, where space surrounds the viewer.

In the Sundance festival, Ashley Leiva wrote on Wareable her very own VR experience with the "Martian,"

"Gripping the Oculus Touch controls I was able to work my way through a couple of different scenes - I drove a Mars rover and had to pierce my glove to boost myself through space to safety."

Emily Best, CEO of Seed & Spark, a crowd funding site for independent film-makers, has thrown in a question that challenges those who might be enticed to join the movement of making movies in the format. The would-be storytellers should be able to answer why a certain concept deserves to be shown in 360 degrees as it would be pointless to be using the technology when simply showing it on cinema would suffice.

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