Virtual Reality (VR) has been a showstopper in the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and it has prompted Oculus to show the prominence of storytelling in VR. Oculus, the company behind the Rift VR hardware, has kick started the Oculus Story Studio which will harbor a set of people to explore the market potential of VR Cinema, The Verge reports. Virtual Reality cinema is basically a roleplay type of scenario wherein your action will unveil the story line. Also Read - Facebook brings Oculus Quest 2 VR headset with 90Hz refresh rate for $299
The movie called “Lost” is essentially a real time computer generated VR experience meant for the Crescent Bay Prototype will be used to showcase the VR movie. The film is directed by ex-Pixar animator, Saschka Unseld of the Blue Umbrella fame. Also Read - Facebook's Oculus to develop smaller, lighter successor to Quest VR headset
What’s exciting is that the duration of storytelling is not fixed and it in fact depends on the actions taken by the users. This story play is somewhat similar to the modern games which are employing a similar approach for campaign modes. Also Read - Facebook acquires Beat Games, maker of popular VR game Beat Saber
Oculus showcased the movie to Hollywood and had the filmmakers mightily impressed by the technology. When the folks at Oculus were asked how and why they diverted their efforts to VR movies rather than the games Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said that “We knew how to get started with games, but we didn’t know how to get started with film, with Hollywood, with cinema.” Oculus was keen to get a headstart in the VR media arena and intends to produce a VR film ingenuously.
When asked about the primary function of the Story Studio, Iribe asked “How do you create content? What’s the tools, the pipeline? Is it even possible to make a cinema experience that is compelling and rich? One of the goals of the Story Studio team was to prove that.”
Unseld, the director of the Lost concept art revealed that the driving force and the main motivational factor for this product was getting involved with what he believes to be a turning point in media and entertainment.
“We all heard these stories of how it was like to be there at the birth of computer animation, or see films on how it was to be there at the birth of cinema,” he says. “And when I tried out VR the first time, and everyone here, they realized this is that moment. This is the moment of a birth of a completely new medium…That made me just instantly jump on it.”
If you are wondering how big the Oculus Story team is currently than you will be surprised to know that it just has 10 people onboard. Iribe and Unseld have handpicked the folks at the Story Team and they are convinced that they should not forcefully accelerate the project and instead wait for the concept to evolve creatively. Oculus is already equipped with a games publishing arm that will help the filmmakers distribute the VR projects once the community gets going.
Iribe reminded that the concept is still at its infancy and it would be not right to push the concept too hard and instead wait for it to evolve by itself with the due course of time. VR cinema might be potent enough to become the next big thing in media and films after augmented reality but it would take lots of dedicated efforts from Oculus to make it happen the right way. On the contrary, it would be indeed interesting to see how well the consumers will grapple with the new technology.