Traditional 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.
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:
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?