About a year ago, the New York Film Academy extended its offering to include courses for virtual reality. When I was in New York myself, I finally had the chance to discover more about it. This is an interview with Caitlin Burns and Jonathan Whittaker of the New York Film Academy dealing with storytelling in VR – as well as the many other things they can teach us about VR.
Some people just tend to look a little awestruck. As if, in each and every second, they realize anew the insanity and wonder of the world around them. Daniel Bury is exactly that kind of person. And when you get to know him, the first thing you want to do is tell him all about yourself – he’s a great listener. Those might be two of the reasons why he has found himself travelling the world since 2016 – while making the most astonishing encounters, which he captured in his 360-degree documentary series Chasing The World. This approach awarded him his second appearance at the Cannes NEXT this year.
Some time ago, I reported on the big attractions of 2018’s Tribeca Film Festival and wrote about my favorite films. However, there was much more to see! I found myself in Syria, I interrogated travelers as a US customs official, I saw Africa and stood in Japan. I experienced what it feels like to be discriminated against and revealed very personal things about me. To round things off, I made music as a fat little bunny. Part 2 of my Tribeca highlights of VR.
Does it not sound like a battle cry? TriBeeeCaaa! Tribeca, here I come! Those familiar with me will know that, when it comes to film festivals, I am not squeamish in the slightest. Sleep deprivation, long waiting lines, no time for food or drink– count me in! The Tribeca Film Festival marked my first overseas event, and it came with the ambitious goal of sampling every single experience found in the virtual reality exhibit. How did I do? See for yourself.
Many fans of VR associate 360-degree film most strongly with one thing: watching instead of participating. Satisfying a role this may be – the more time I spent in the goggles, the greater the wish becomes to be part of the story. I start catching myself exhibiting little ticks: nodding, tiptoeing around, laughing, speaking, gesticulating into an empty room; only to realize: “Oh right, that doesn’t work here.” Quite frustrating, actually; and I was not the only one to feel this, as they are amongst us: interactive films in 360 degrees, of which I have compiled some particularly striking examples in this article (including my favorite of 2017!).
Interaction in virtual reality films: wouldn’t that be a VR game? Why even is interaction an issue? I gave the topic some thought and browsed through some of my clever books. Beware, things get a bit theoretical here. So, let’s go: where does VR film end and the VR game begin?