Virtual reality is shaping up to be the next frontier in filmmaking. IMAX is lead the transition with 3D movies and is currently building premium VR viewing locations for film lovers to enjoy around the U.S.
Hollywood pros like Douglas Trumbull are developing new products and methods for crafting VR movies that promise to create a next-gen experience completely unlike anything in conventional theaters now.
Apply Virtual Reality to movies just might do what breaking the fourth wall does to theater: upend the relationship between the director and audience.
In the past, filmmakers took the viewer on a painstakingly planned journey predetermined from one perspective.
Now, Mìmerging the narrative nature of film with the sensory capabilities of VR experience would allow the audience to explore scenes from a world of angles and perspectives. Instead of watching characters interact in far-away settings, movie-goers will stand right next to them and observe their surroundings as if they were physically there – like an ultra behind-the-scenes.
VR Movies Made by Magi
Trumbull is busy creating the ultimate VR movie experience via a product known as Magi.
Magi blends virtual reality (VR) with augmented reality (AR) to create an immersive experience he hopes will draw people to movie theaters like in the early days of film.
“Trumbull compares the Magi experience to the SciFi franchise Star Trek‘s Holodeck that completely immerses users in a highly realistic virtual world.”
The key for Trumbull is creating the right level of visual detail and, as a director and Visual Effects Designer on SciFi classics like Blade Runner, he definitely has the experience to do just that. But, what is Magi, exactly?
But, what is Magi, exactly?
Magi is a product and a process at the same time.
On one hand, it combines the ability to record images in 3D and 4k HD with the capability to display them at 120 frames per second – five times the usual speed.
On the other, Magi is also the theater itself. Its features a pod design viewers inhabit as they experience the film.
Trumbull compares the Magi experience to the SciFi franchise Star Trek‘s Holodeck that completely immerses users in a highly realistic virtual world.
Early testers of the experience say the AR experience is far more impressive than the 3D and IMAX options.
Trumbull hopes to see a response in American movie-goer market similar to the positive reception the project received in China where VR and AR are considered mainstream.
It’s evident that VR demand in the U.S. has been increasing over the past two years. Before we see a response to VR movie products in the U.S. on par the Chinese cinema crowd, the market must first see more quality VR product offerings (games and immersive experiences) as well as more practical integration of the technology (training simulations and education).