Virtual reality the next frontier for filmmakers

Virtual reality the next frontier for filmmakers

This year’s conclave of independent films in Park City, Utah, is devoting its New Frontier showcase to virtual reality film with 11 works, the largest such lineup in the festival’s three-decade history.
The content is viewed on a wraparound-style headset that projects a 360-degree panorama, giving viewers the feel of being in the action. The consumer version of pioneering Rift headsets from Facebook-owned Oculus VR, is still in development.
The New Frontier exhibit comes amid a growing interest in the technology in Hollywood as filmmakers and studios experiment with virtual reality.
“Cinema wasn’t our focus in the beginning, but now it’s becoming a bigger focus, so we need to immediately engage and support,” said Brendan Iribe, chief executive of Oculus.
The attraction of virtual reality for filmmakers lies in simulating a personal presence for viewers, who until now have interacted with content merely as voyeurs watching a story unfold on a screen.

The New Frontier exhibit comes amid a growing interest in the technology in Hollywood as filmmakers and studios experiment with virtual reality.
“Cinema wasn’t our focus in the beginning, but now it’s becoming a bigger focus, so we need to immediately engage and support,” said Brendan Iribe, chief executive of Oculus.
The attraction of virtual reality for filmmakers lies in simulating a personal presence for viewers, who until now have interacted with content merely as voyeurs watching a story unfold on a screen.
In “Herders,” a short movie from filmmaking duo Felix & Paul, the viewer is placed inside a yurt with a rural Mongolian family, while in “Strangers: A Moment with Patrick Wilson,” the viewer sits beside a musician working in his studio.
Non-fiction films are proving to be a strong fit for virtual reality, said Felix Lajeunesse, as filmmakers can immerse audiences in the action and make them connect to the story.

“Reality becomes utterly interesting in virtual reality. You don’t need to necessarily change it or re-stage it or transform it that much,” said Lajeunesse.

Filmmaker Chris Milk teamed up with Vice News to document the New York Millions March in December in virtual reality, where he used a 360-degree camera to film in the midst of crowds parading through Manhattan to protest police brutality.
“As the audience, you understand immediately what’s going on – you are the perspective of the camera,” Milk said.

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