Mid-March rolled around with some tragic news: Google announced it would be closing its in-house VR studio Spotlight Stories – a studio that has produced a number of charming short films in virtual reality and 360 degrees over the years. To mark this occasion, I re-watched all of the Spotlight Stories and created a list of my favorites for you; exclusively for this first issue of the new VR Geschichten newsletter.
After having visited the Tribeca Film Festival already, I will also be travelling to the International Film Festival in Venice this year. Yay! As the oldest of its kind worldwide, the Venice Film Festival is just as venerable as it sounds; and even though virtual reality only joined the festivities last year, it is regarded as one of the best VR-centric exhibits. I took a closer look at this year’s Venice VR program to compile a brief and unashamedly personal foretaste.
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!).