The Extra Dimension of Movies
(Virtual Reality in the film industry)
Image Credit: The Virtual Reality CINEMA
Virtual Reality is slowly emerging as the disruptor of the film industry. Though it has been around for decades, but now is the time for virtual reality to take the center stage.
Movies have transitioned from silent to full of spectacular sound and from black-and-white to color, and now towards a 360 degree immersive environment that gives a feel of the extra dimension.
So, what is fascinating about VR films? In a classic cinema the viewer is merely an observer. But in VR films they get a 360 degree immersive experience where the viewer wears a VR headset and is amidst the film environment. He or she can enjoy the film in any direction of his or her choice using a smart phone or a computer. Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC vive, Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard are some of the well known VR headset models.
Virtual reality in cinema will make way to fascinating new vistas, especially in the Indian film industry. Many VR film makers believe that Virtual reality is indeed reality. It is life in 360 degrees.
The Kollywood film “Maya” portrays the actors watching a horror film in a theater and they are entirely taken into the film. They see themselves as a part of the film sitting in the theater. VR films provide such a kind of out of the world experience to its viewers.
S S Rajamouli’s “The sword of Baahubali”, an eight minute VR teaser of the film “Baahubali” left the viewers in awe.The concepts of virtual reality could be seen in Hollywood movies like TRON & TRON legacy, Matrix Series and the list goes on.
A milestone in virtual reality was the 1995 movie “Virtuosity”. It’s a good versus evil in the cyberspace.
At the Cannes Film Festival 2016, “Madagascar” co-director Eric Darnell presented a 6-minute VR film at Cannes titled “Invasion!”. He said VR is not as an extension of cinema, but as “its own thing, a brand-new language.
“Penrose Studios produced the animated VR short “Allumette,” which was also shown at Cannes.
The music legend A R Rahman turned filmmaker, was one of the first innovators in the VR cinema. His soon-to-be-released film “Le Musk” will be the world’s first VR, multi-sensory film. Viewers can experience it seated in a motion controlled egg-shaped pod that moves and also delivers smell based on the narrated storyline.
Brace yourselves to experience what it takes to be the Spiderman. “Spider-Man: Homecoming VR Experience” is a 360-degree, immersive adventure where the player shoots ultra-strong webs from their wrists to swing along skyscrapers.
Netflix’s VR app is perhaps the first of its kind across several platforms including Oculus, Samsung Gear, and Google’s Daydream. Some of the must watch VR movies are “Comet”, “Jaws”, “Trainspotting”, “Ninja 2”, “Zootopia”.
However some moviemakers like James Cameroon have voiced their concern that, VR might cease to portray the intended story, in favor of offering a 360 environment with various potential narrative threads that viewers could choose to explore.
The happiness of watching Thalaivar on the big screen is of course different from what a VR experience can provide. VR cannot entirely replace its predecessor. While both will co-exist in elegance.
So, go Grab a VR headset and experience the impossible!!!
– Aashika. K
Final Year IT, SSN College of Engineering, Chennai.
Intern @ Madras MindWorks Pvt Ltd.