A father-and-son collaboration gets taken to the world of VR.
Director Robert Rodriguez has released The Limit, a virtual reality short that blends immersion and storytelling within an action/sci-fi setting. The film follows a high-tech agent who rebels against his mysterious creators and goes rogue to find out his identity. Super assassin M-13 (played by Michelle Rodriguez) fights at his side and together they must confront a dangerous cyborg (Norman Reedus).
The viewer experiences the main character's viewpoint as he shoots at enemies, flies out of a plane, and engages in a high-speed car chase.
A behind-the-scenes teaser shows how the point-of-view actor must work in tandem with the crew, reaching around the camera to interact with the principal characters. Rodriguez used a VR headset to aid his direction.
The film was written by Rodriguez and son Racer Max Rodriguez, and made in cooperation with production companies STX Surreal and Double R Productions, as well as VFX company DNEG.
"It's very different from a video game-type VR, because it's got the language of film."
The Limit can be purchased from its official site and is compatible with several platforms, including Oculus, VIVE, and Android, with additional platforms promised.
Film and virtual reality have become more intertwined over the last few years with recent tech advances making VR headsets more accessible and several big Hollywood players getting behind VR integration. Virtual reality has even become a fixture at major film events like the Sundance Film Festival, where the annual New Frontier experience allows fest attendees to experience immersive stories told in different ways, including virtual reality. VR has also been heavily featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, Venice, and regional fests like Atlanta and deadCenter. There is certainly a growing audience for the genre.
Although there's an ongoing debate about how much movies and VR will continue to grow and cooperate, Rodriguez's foray into VR filmmaking shows that studios like STX Surreal and known writers, directors, and actors are ready and willing to play in this space. It's up to creators to decide how to use the new technology, to figure out what ideas and experiences the VR audiences want to see.
It's an exciting field. Push the boundaries, and you might become a visionary of virtual reality storytelling.