January 29, 2016
Sundance 2016

10 Tips on Immersive 360° Filmmaking from Oculus, Lucasfilm, & More at Sundance

Immersive filmmaking is in its infancy. That means that if you want to get involved, you're likely going to be starting from square one. But it also means that you'll be pioneering something new.

Personally, I think that is a pretty exciting prospect! Virtual reality, augmented reality, and immersive everything is playing a big role in the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In a panel titled The Future of Screens: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and the Potential for Stories, leaders behind Lucasfilm Story Group, Marshmallow Laser Feast, Daqri, Playstation VR, and Oculus sat down to talk about the present and the future. Here are 10 takeaways from the panel:

Think about what story would work in VR.

Diana Williams (Lucasfilm Story Group):

Not every story is told on every platform. Every story speaks to a different universe. There's a good story for AR, VR, and traditional screen -- and every one serves a different purpose.

Bring your traditional tools into VR, but be prepared to rework them or throw them out.

Diana Williams (Lucasfilm Story Group):

You’re going to be able to bring traditional tools into VR. You can bring them in, but know that some you can will have to throw away. Which is not to say that you have to throw them away. At first, it was accepted that you couldn't move or do cuts or fades. Well, someone tried, and you can.

Credit: Across the Line at New Frontier

If you don’t know what you’re doing, start with 2D material.

Richard Marks (chief of virtual reality, Playstation VR):

Things like positional are the hardest for stitching. Start in 2D if you don't know what you are doing.

Pass the low hanging fruit gun and sword shoot em ups.

Robin McNicholas (creative director, Marshmallow Laser Feast):

One thing that concerns me is how easy it is to have a gun or sword in a vr experience. Men love going to spears and weapons. There a glut of shoot em ups. Grand Theft Auto is Britain’s biggest export but it is questionable in its ethics. Are we just perpetually feeding people these experience? I'd love to see people not go for low hanging fruit and look for other alternatives.

Know that what you make now will not stand the test of time.

Jason Rubin (head of studios, Oculus):

We’re still in 8mm movement. Films like Nomads: Maasai here at Sundance could be useful later for ethnographic purposes. But most films will looks humorous in 5 years.

If you want to get started, go entry level.

Robin McNicholas (creative director, Marshmallow Laser Feast):

Entry level cameras that can provide a spherical environment is all you really need to get started. They're good. It's the stitching that's a real #@Y&!

Don't get stuck on the stitching.

Robin McNicholas (creative director, Marshmallow Laser Feast):

I feel it's like film stock that could be sent off to get processed. Why should we get stuck on stitching? Roll up your sleeves to get wobbly stitches out, or let the giants do your algorithms for you. Your time is better spent working on your idea.

Gaia Dempsey (co-founder and CMO, Daqri):

Our mission is to create a medium everyone can participate in. The 4D Studio democratizes the creation of AR experience. Before, you had to have a computer background, now we're finding ways to make it drag and drop.

Credit: Google Cardboard at New Frontier

Don't underestimate the role of sound.

Diana Williams (Lucasfilm Story Group):

Sound is able to drag your eye around. Sound design is what you need to not miss part of the story.

From Robin McNicholas (creative director, Marshmallow Laser Feast):

You'll be surprised when that little sprinkling of haptic feedback is what it takes to get a viewer on board.

No one is an expert right now, and anyone can be a pioneer.

Diana Williams (Lucasfilm Story Group):

It’s a new medium, so that means that there's no one who can't do it.

Be wiling to make mistakes

Diana Williams (Lucasfilm Story Group):

Fail, iterate. Fail, iterate. We're testing and changing the language.

Robin McNicholas (creative director, Marshmallow Laser Feast):

The language for 360 experiential content is still being made.


For more, see our complete coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

 

Sundance 2016 Blackmagic Design

No Film School's video and editorial coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival is sponsored by Blackmagic Design.      

Your Comment

4 Comments

As a heads up, you have a couple of typos in the quotes

January 29, 2016 at 12:00PM

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Gareth Ng
Cinematographer
362

Sound design is was you need to not miss part of the story, and Love ot see people not go for low hanigngfruit and look for other alternatives

January 29, 2016 at 3:01PM, Edited January 29, 3:01PM

6
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Gareth Ng
Cinematographer
362

I've been thinking about shooting a VR short for the past couple of weeks, still need to figure out the technicalities.

February 4, 2016 at 5:33PM

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avatar
Alan Shamsedin
Director, Cinematographer, Editor
6

I can see this getting gimmicky really quickly. 3D still hasn't gotten to the point where it's worth paying the extra money.

February 5, 2016 at 2:18AM, Edited February 5, 2:18AM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
351