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Can Our Audience Direct?

A view on Oculus and the future of interactive filmmaking

I find it amazing how my discussions about the future of cinema have gone from the use of 3D to now, the use of 360 virtual reality filmmaking. I have even been participating on some Oculus experiments and the use of 360 in sports.


And although I personally do not feel that 3D has reached its full potential of what it could be for visual storytelling, we have already embarked on the next step with various forms of virtual reality viewing such as the Oculus Rift, a 360 viewing device that immerses the viewer in a virtual world where they can choose where to go, look, and interact. But this raises the discussion I’ve often had with filmmakers and non-filmmakers alike: “Are we ready to give over directorial control to the audience?” I believe the answer is a definitive NO. Therefore, storytelling through virtual reality viewing devices is still in its infancy as to how to create content for it. It is still necessary to keep the storytelling control in the hands of the professionals. We can’t expect viewers, who for the past 100+ years have been guided through their stories, to all of a sudden be expected to tell a good story themselves with their own personal choices. Like 3D, where it was once believed that you couldn’t edit quickly or use long lenses, which has since been disproved, virtual reality is starting to form it’s own set of rules that I believe will be found to be false and surprise our viewers as to what actually can be done. I’m writing this newsletter mostly as a jumping off point to start a discussion of the future of 360 viewing. Because I do believe, maybe not 20 years from now, maybe not even 100, but our way of presenting stories is going to change drastically. And I’m excited to discuss and even be a part of this future.

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