The first VR film to be directed by an Indigenous person in North America


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/21/the-first-vr-film-to-be-direct.html


#2

Is VR the same as 3d?


#3

I haven’t looked into this one specifically but from what I gather, we’re calling it VR if it’s shot in 180 degree or 360 degree … 3d. Viewers can turn their heads to look at the part of the scene they want to focus on.


#4

Don’t we already have these kinds of experiences, i.e. 3d games? When some VR experience gets to a Bioshock moment in story telling, can someone let me know?


#5

Strikes me as a fairly random Venn diagram we’re talking about here…


#6

Kickstarter to fund six VR films in the next six months, five of which are written and directed by women. She says:

Kickstarter is a she?


#7

I know: why isn’t this just the first indigenous person? Are there already films by indigenous people in VR? There aren’t a ton of places outside of North America with indigenous peoples, legally (South America, Oceania, and then the Sami way up in Europe afaik, at least who’s acknowledged as indigenous; do the Japanese acknowledge the Ainu yet?)

Plus how are we defining VR Movie? Literally just a 360 degree view? That’s…not a good way to make a movie. Is it interactive? Is it still a movie then? If they do let you look around freely, then how will they make sure you don’t miss important things?

EDIT: The other thing I caught: I’m not really so sure about the whole ‘film not even made yet selected to be screened at prestigious festival.’ Hopefully it’s actually worth being there. More importantly: how the hell do you ‘screen’ a VR film?


#8

My understanding, with the caveat that I haven’t used any of them yet, is that headsets like the Oculus Rift can use stereoscopic content, creating the illusion of depth by presenting a different view to each eye shot respectively by two different cameras.

In truth, this is also how your own eyes create the illusion of depth. The actual images produced by light hitting your retinas are two-dimensional, but your brain takes the slight separation of seeing something directly in front of you from two slight offsets and interprets the slight differences (combined with experience with shadows) as depth. This is also why you have better depth perception up close, because the angle of difference between your fixed eye-separation and the object your viewing is greater for nearer objects. When you close one eye, you still have some depth perception, because your brain is still making guesses, but it’s slightly impaired because its doing so from less data. It’s also why movement helps depth perception, because your brain can track how the two-dimensional shapes projected by light onto your retina shift, enabling guesses about the three-dimensional shapes the light bounced off.

When you go to a 3D movie, the frames are alternated between images shot simultaneously on two slightly separated camera lenses (though the lenses might be in the same housing just as your eyes are in one head). The glasses you wear have a polarized coating, and the alternating frames of the movie are projected in polarized light so that even frames can only go through one lens and odd ones can only pass through the other, recreating for your eyes the camera lens separation. I assume these VR headsets exploit the same principle, which is over a hundred years old, to present a 3D image. I also assume they use the same kind of gyroscopic motion sensors smart phones use to track head movement, so you can look around. It stands to reason that the filmmakers use multiple stereoscopic cameras to shoot multiple angles that the software automatically or the editor manually combines into a 180° or 360° panorama, or they may work like a stereoscopic version of an IMAX camera which uses a special lens to capture light in a wide arc that the software then corrects the contraction of (actually a pretty simple calculation in optics, but requires expensive high quality lenses and an extremely high-resolution image sensor to maintain clarity).

As is usual, I find the science behind technology a lot more interesting than actually using the technology myself, which is usually either boring or obnoxious (as in the case of 3D movies, which I avoid). Still, kudos to this Kickstarter for trying new things; it’s the only way to find out what ultimately works where the rubber meets the road.


#9

Hate to burst your bubble, but Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun produced a VR work in 1992.

Inherent Rights, Vision Rights

http://www.leonardo.info/gallery/gallery291/yuxweluptun.html


#10

My take is that the key difference is the agency of the viewer; in classic cinema and 3D, the director frames every shot, including depth of field.

In VR, the viewer gets to pick how/what they focus on in a scene.

From my experiences with VR, it works great for set-piece experiences. Anything with a story, though, and there is no guarantee that you will be focusing on the right thing.

In one demo, I was surprised to find out that I was missing out on a bunch of stuff happening behind me.

In a later demo (now hip to the 360 degree thing), I totally missed the entrance of a main character because I was too busy looking behind me; I turned around and POW this thing was already in front of me.

I am not saying that it is doomed to fail; but audiences have no framework to interact with these experiences, and directors lack the visual language.

Fun times though!


#11

With a few notable exceptions, I haven’t been much into games since the '90s. Nonetheless, I think that’s the kind of storytelling that this tech is most suited to, where (as you indicate) the agency of the viewer is interactive. I do believe VR will eventually fulfill its promise of an interactive (not merely immersive) world. This may be a step. But back in the '90s there were stereoscopic headsets in the same price range as the Oculus Rift. head tracking is an important element, and I’ll be watching this tech with some interest, but there remains the chance that it’s another dead-end on the herky-jerky road to real VR.


#12

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