November 21, 2018

New Robert Rodriguez Short 'The Limit' Demonstrates What Filmmakers Can Do with VR

Michelle Rodriguez and Norman Reedus star in 'The Limit'
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.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

Funny how they said he unique feature of this movie is cinema language when I see a trailer of action and fightin just like any FPS game out there. This is not cinema, it maybre more immersive but the magic of cinema also lies in its limitation of space.
If you want total immersion, get out and enjoy life.

November 21, 2018 at 12:50PM, Edited November 21, 12:50PM

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Here here!

Cinema is unique precisely because it involves montage/editing and a single vantage with which to arrange (naturally this is not to narrow or limit defining cinema too much).

VR is best when used for what it name says: virtual reality-a simulation. Cinema derives meaning from selection, with a camera that can wander how may cinema express the singular vantage that choice makes? Not to say innovation and new tech should be ignored or discouraged, but as you said "limitation of space" VR has more qualities akin to gaming rather than cinema (and both are delightful and profound mediums of expression)

Read Rudolph Arnhiem's Film as Art (Film als Kunst), he lays out everything that film and VR/3D would be back in 1932 and it still holds up today (predicted 3D and Smell-O-Rama would be nothing more than fads).

November 21, 2018 at 10:19PM

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Bryce Woods
Filmmaker
74

Many were convinced that movies with sound (and later colour) was a distracting addon that ruined a movie. Until it was established of course.

Your arguments could also be used to critizised "Enter the void", which is undoubtably a very cinematic movie. It would probably stay that way if you would add a dimension and gave the viewer the possibility to turn his head.

I would argue that the way you watch a VR movie will probably not work in a cinema, thus it will not establish before there are enough VR Sets in private homes. The different way of reception will probably be what saves classic cinema. You cant turn to your friend and exchange reassuring looks when the scene is frightening, funny, breathtaking or just cheesy.

This looks very much like the film "hardcore" btw.

November 22, 2018 at 8:00AM

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Daniel
just a filmmaker
132

Is this filmed with a 360º camera? In the BtS teaser I just see a normal one-lens camera...

November 22, 2018 at 6:43AM

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1<0
8

Meh. This looks and feels exactly like Hardcore Harry that came out a few months ago. Not impressed.

November 25, 2018 at 9:48AM

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Will Thomas
Director, Editor, Colorist
141