Filmmaking and virtual reality. How different and how similar?

Below are a few short reasonings in regards to my next project which is a 360 degree film tale.

Film can use the instruments of VR to tell stories. But where does one start and the other end? Is this process leading to something that will relate to film the same way smartphones relate to landlines?

We can start with the fact the both propose an immersive experience through the use VR glasses. If we leave special effects and interaction aside, what remains as unique characteristic is the feeling of being somewhere else. Even the complete darkness before a game or during a film is a digital “dark room”.

mind map 1

So we have our common ground, namely immersive space.

Another common element is interaction.

It is there by default, because the sensor of the Oculus Rift is detecting the orientation of the head and respectively the body of the viewer. This makes it possible to look around and choose what to “exclude” from the entire picture. The spectator frames the story the way his/her will or instinct desire.

This is a significantly different from traditional storytelling in cinema. We are transported to a different place, immersed in the fabric of the film. The director is still leading, but in a way that leaves us a full horizon for exploration. Space acquires distinct importance as a narrative element.

I would say, we can safely conclude that there is interaction already when simply watching a movie with VR glasses.

There is though, a big turning. How much of an interaction does one want to use? From keyboards to smells and haptic devices, everything is possible. Since we are talking about film and storytelling there are two things to mention in that regard:

1. It is extremely easy to loose the sense of being immersed in a film story, if some kind of controller is used. Because of the nature of present time VR glasses and sets, this interaction immediately brings us out of the film and transforms the experience into some sort of a video game.

2. When interaction means that the viewer is altering the storyline, the experience is different. One thing is if I am free to look around, another, if I can actually change the film destiny. Even if we only use eye tracking to make choices in the film, it makes us conscious of ourselves and subsequently may draw us away from the story.

To summarise: Immersive feeling and basic interaction are the largest areas of overlapping between Film and VR.

Anything that steps out of that border seems to form new categories and aggregates.


prewriting for essay film

Dear Long John Silver,

I learned about the unsuccessful boarding attack on the royal navy transatlantic that you and the captain had organized several months ago and am very displeased to hear that you have lost your right eye in that unfortunate enterprise. It has become obvious to me that in fact many people nowadays share a similar condition and that this reconnects to the main problematics I have been inquiring on in the recent years.
As referenced by you in our previous conversations and the letters you have send me, there is in fact a serious shift occurring nowadays that you would not be able to grasp easily or at least not without the help of a contemporary technique like the one I have in mind.
I would like to start with that recent occurrence you told me about in which you woke up in the middle of the night
from a strange sound and opened your eye trying to ‘see’ something. As you describe it you had in that moment the strange experience of not attributing any verbal or mental interpretation to the visual stimuli but in the same time being aware of it. Also, you say, that feeling of preconscious perceiving of reality lasted quite long, maybe several seconds until your brain stepped out of the hypnosis of your own dream. Continue reading

Very Nice!

Short brilliant film by Canadian Filmmaker Arthur Lipsett

Wikipedia: “… The result is a 7 minute long film Very Nice, Very Nice which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Live Action Subjects in 1962. Despite not winning the Oscar, this film brought Lipsett considerable praise from critics and directors. Stanley Kubrick was one of Lipsett’s fans, and asked him to create a trailer for his upcoming movie Dr. Strangelove. Lipsett declined Kubrick’s offer. Kubrick went on to direct the trailer himself; however, Lipsett’s influence on Kubrick is clearly visible in the released trailer.

Lipsett’s meticulous editing and combination of audio and visual montage was both groundbreaking and influential. His film 21-87 was a profound influence on director George Lucas, who used thematic approaches from 21–87 in THX 1138, his Star Wars films and also American Graffiti. Lucas has said that his use of the term the “The Force” in Star Wars was “an echo of that phrase in 21-87″.[2] Lucas never met Lipsett, but tributes to 21–87 appear in several places in Star Wars. For example, the holding cell of Princess Leia in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope on the Death Star is cell No. 2187.[3]…”

Very Nice Very Nice

The Kingdom Never

One hour commission from our workshop with Lino Hellings.
Short video based on the beautiful poem by Dafina Gerogieva – Ronia:

The Kingdom Never

There was a kingdom by the name of Never.
In it lived a king called Not Here,
with his wife It Doesn’t Matter.
They had a boy with the beautiful name Nothing.
And he was Never there.
There was Nothing ever there.
And Nothing Ever Matters Anything.

The Kingdom Never