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Will We Watch Movies Like This in the Future? First Film Made for Oculus Rift Gets Interactive Trailer

02.19.14 @ 9:31PM Tags : , ,

Zero Point Trailer Oculus RiftTraditional 3D viewing may be losing its steam in the home because of a lack of content (and the glasses and all sorts of other reasons), but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be watching content on flat screens forever. Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset made for 3D gaming, can also be used for all sorts of other content, including movies. The first video made specifically for the Oculus Rift, is actually a documentary called Zero Point, which is actually about the Oculus Rift device. They have now released an interactive trailer for the film which you can watch online.

Here is a bit from The Verge about what you can see in the interactive trailer here (which is obviously not quite as exciting as watching on an actual Oculus Rift):

In the trailer, you’ll see footage of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and last year’s E3 gaming show, where the Rift was on display. While the Rift will let viewers turn around, look up and down, and see the movie from just about any angle, this interactive trailer is a lot more limited, with a black void surrounding a wide-angle photo. If you have an Oculus Rift developer kit, you’ll be able to see the full film later in 2014.

This isn’t the actual trailer, but it gives you an overview of what’s going on:

Check out an image from the trailer, which allows you to move around the viewing area:

Zero Point Trailer Oculus Rift

The company behind the doc, Condition One, is in the business of trying to make more immersive content, and the Oculus Rift platform is a natural fit. The Oculus Rift is still a little bulky in its current form, but eventually the technology will get smaller and cheaper (and even better quality). Content and support are key to the survival of any new platform, but as we search for new interactive ways to entertain audiences, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that if Oculus is successful, there will be other similar devices, and even more content to follow (or maybe media repurposed for the Oculus).

While current 3D doesn’t actually fill that much of your field of view, and requires some tricks to get the image, Oculus Rift is a bit different:

Unlike 3D on a television or in a movie, this is achieved by presenting unique and parallel images for each eye. This is the same way your eyes perceive images in the real world, creating a much more natural and comfortable experience.

The Oculus Rift provides an approximately 110° field of view, stretching the virtual world beyond your peripheral vision. Your view of the game is no longer boxed in on a screen and is only limited by what your eyes can see. The combination of the wide field of view with head-tracking and stereoscopic 3D creates an immersive virtual reality experience.

There are plenty of movie experiences that could benefit from this kind of immersion, including lots of non-fiction content and sports. With fiction films, we use cuts to create new shots in editing and direct the attention of the audience, but with something that lets you look around a space, the viewer can essentially create their own experience by choosing where they want to look at any time. The potential for this is really exciting, even though the tech and content may not be completely there yet. We’ll just have to see how this plays out over the next 5-10 years and beyond.

What do you think? If Oculus Rift technology gets even smaller, lighter, and cheaper, would you consider watching a whole movie this way?

Link: Zero Point Trailer — Condition One

[via The Verge & Mashable]

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  • God that’s awesome. Sign me up. I’m on board. So obviously the future of entertainment that I can’t believe it’s finally happening and I’m lucky enough to see it in my lifetime.

    • Harry Pray IV on 02.19.14 @ 10:54PM

      I agree. This will, however, challenge the traditional role of us DP’s. I say this because, if the viewer is composing the shot, why would you need to hire a guy to make sure the compositions fit the story? In a world where the audience composes your shot, the DP would probably be more valuable for his/her lighting skills.

      I have always been a proponent of cinema becoming virtual reality because the best way to make a viewer truly feel a scene is to make them feel like they are truly living it. However, we’re quickly changing our roles as DP’s.

      I’m starting to wonder if it’s inevitable that a movie set will just be a director and an actor on an empty stage and all elements are added in post.

      Technology almost always makes humans obsolete. In an art form that is intrinsically tied to commerce, the bottom line will eventually drive all extraneous jobs out. As a DP, I am saddened by this. But, I am coming to realize that it was folly in the first place to shoehorn a career into an artistic discipline.

      Art flourishes when controlled by the intent of a single mind. It’s only a matter of time before a single person has the tools to achieve an unfiltered version of the picture they see in their mind’s eye.

      • To this I would suggest that we have, at minimum, decades left of traditional DP requirements.

      • I wouldn’t like my films turned into video games though… The camera is a narrator, not an observer (in most cases, at least). When you narrate, you take a side, you tell your opinion, and the camera is a tool to achieve that.

        • You can still tell a story with a 360 camera though. It seems like it would be more challenging…but not impossible.

        • Harry Pray IV on 02.21.14 @ 11:09PM

          I was just referring to where the new formats will take us. I love the current 2D color widescreen system. But, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. The audience decides not the artists.

  • This would be a really fun and unique experience with the right content or story- its kind of like what a “choose your own adventure” book is in contrast to a traditional novel- will we watch movies like this in the future? Sure. Will they replace the kind of filmmaking we have been doing for the past century? I doubt it.
    However, give me one of these Rifts and a next gen FPS and I may never leave my house again.

  • I’m really excited to be able to try the Oculus for gaming, but I doubt it will catch on for movies. I once made the mistake of sitting in the front row of a large movie theater, and having to move my head from side to side during dialogue scenes became really tedious, really fast. I think the technology will be great for watching 3d movies, maybe animation as well, but I don’t see this becoming a common way to watch movies.

    However, if Gravity is ever released on this platform, sign me up!

  • It looks like another gimmick to sell expensive game console accessories.

    • (Searching for the definition of “gimmick” just to be 100% sure there isn’t an alternate meaning). Nope, it means what I thought it meant.

      Huh, that’s an interesting projection. If I were a betting man I would steer clear of all bets with the words “Virtual Reality” and “gimmick” in them, but hey, that’s just me. I don’t like throwing money away.

      • Look up the definition of butthurt.

        • I think you just did it for me.

          • Always the same…whenever you disagree with someone else`s opinion you act like a little whiny girl…

            Regarding this technology – interesting as a trend, very much like regular S3D but also short lived. It creates the illusion that the viewer can choose where to look at, but I can`t see how anybody wants to chase the action. May work for a very limited range of Michael Bay-ish stuff.

          • Wait, did you call me a little girl? Is this 4th grade? Come on, you can do better than that.

            Sorry, but the day calling virtual reality “a gimmick” stops warranting some tongue in cheek sarcasm is the day that I will stop dishing it out. For now? Seems justified. I didn’t say anything mean…

          • Harry Pray IV on 02.21.14 @ 11:10PM

            Bang-a-rang, Luke.

      • Don’t let the 80s know that virtual reality wasn’t just a gimmick…

      • Luke, it’s hard to argue with someone who doesn’t have any imagination. Any creative thinker has to be excited about this technology.

    • Christian Anderson on 02.20.14 @ 2:58AM

      This is and wide-angle, immersive stereoscopic video display with head tracking in a time when the software can keep up with it. This is the “gimmick” a lot of people have been waiting a long time for. You don’t have to believe me, just sit back and watch what happens in the next decade.

  • Too involved for the general viewing. The next generation of displays will probably move into a holographic area. At the recently concluded ISE, a commercial system from Denmark showed a bursting bottle of champagne in a pretty clear detail. They’re charging €45,000 for it. however. Give it a decade and it will be at your local Best Buy.
    .
    [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3yleHN1Jck ]

  • An HD presentation video of the above –

  • Like the many variations of 3D over the years, this just kind of seems like a new variation on the virtual reality tech that pops up every once in a while. I think the only ways these technologies are really impressive are their applications in medical imaging, otherwise…meh, it’ll fade as always.

  • Teuvo Pakkanen on 02.20.14 @ 4:41AM

    Oculus Rift is ridiculously awesome. We have the developers kit and even with the really low-res it’s completely mesmerising with the correct software/game engines.

    You really get pulled into the world in an astonishing way.

    • I have a friend with a development kit and it is pretty fun to watch people put on the rift and try to figure out where they are. Right now it is as if you are pulled into a fully immersive world that just happens to be run at VHS resolution. We laugh at the idea that people in the late 1800′s jumped away from the movie screen when the Lumiere brothers showed a train coming towards the audience, but this is exactly what happens when people put on the oculus rift.

      Just like this. (Language and poor audio mix warning):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INDKNA7kXoo

      Remember that modern cinema originated from the gimmicky nickelodeon’s of the late 1800′s. Whether it is the rift or some future tech, someone will figure out a way to turn these VR devices into a legitimate art form.

  • This is definitely the future. It should have a lot of hype in film industry as it has the potential to change very dramatically how we watch films. I’m gonna start writing scripts with interactive media in mind now :) In the meantime, I’m making a horror film in the traditional style. Please check it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/481898714/hunger-a-horror-short-about-a-cannibal-family

  • While this is exciting, it will (if it catches on…) become a parallel form of storytelling and I don’t see this as a replacement to traditionnal moviemaking. I, for one, cannot wait to try this !

  • Humans have enjoyed being told a story since fire was discovered and there was nothing to do after the sun went down.

    Good movies are about good stories. And special effects. Or so we’re sold. In reality, a good story is better.

    If the virtual reality environment is adopted, it’s still going to be about the story, otherwise it’s just a gimmick.

    If we leave it up the audience to determine the story, we’ve lost half the fun of being told a story.

  • This would be an awesome way to watch things shot with a GoPro in 3D configuration. Instead of a fisheye distortion on a flat screen I imagine it would give you a nice distortion free wide angle 3D view of some awesome stuff. I can’t snowboard but this could make me feel like I was

  • they do have some bad chroma keying for such a high-tech business venture….

  • I don’t want to get caught up in the this is the future vs. this is a gimmick debate. I’m not smart enough to know what the future holds, in that regard.

    I just want to know how the heck you can “light” a scene when the viewer can look “everywhere”? (Sigh)……….we’re so screwed. Please, feel free to prove me wrong…..I’m totally ok with it.

    • Video games are often at the players digression and they can have excellent set and lighting design. In a virtual world lights are weightless and take up no space.

      So in a video game if you want to frame an important location, you can do it by physically by putting an important object at a bright spot at the end of a dark hall way. You may not have control of the viewers framing, but you do have control over the environment they can move through. Blade Runner, Terminator and hundreds of commercials have filmed in the 2nd street tunnel in LA because it has amazing light qualities. Virtual worlds let you create entire locations with stunning lighting if you wish.

      So instead of thinking about lighting a 2d image you are suddenly lighting architecture and sculpture in motion, which I think is very exciting. I think many lighting techniques will cross over and many new ones will gain prominence.

  • This is actually a really lousy example. I’m sure someone will come up with something better down the road.
    This is basically FMV games from the 90′s & Quick Time VR.

    This for a game yes. A movie experience no. A novelty likely.
    The problem with movies today already – is we’ve forgotten they were created to tell stories and instead we just blow shit on the screen every 5 minutes.

    On the upside something like watching old school theater in the rift might be pretty neat. Shakespeare theater in the round – I’m down with that. :-P

  • Hollis Bush on 04.12.14 @ 2:08PM

    This would go great with a DBox motion seat it would possibly feel like being in the IMAX and just drifting with the movie screen. Hopefully what I always wanted will happen theme parks for oculus rift, imagine having a DisneyWorld or 6 flags walkthroughs, rides, and shows all at your fingertips for a virtual reality machine.