Viewers can view different outcomes depending on where they’re looking in the 360° video.
MTV was back at San Diego Comic Con in full force this year, but this time they brought a few surprising goodies with them. One of the most notable being an incredibly interesting video experience that incorporated some very exciting VR technology. The network debuted a new interactive VR experience based off their show Teen Wolf that utilized ‘gaze-activated’ technology to help users decide the direction in which the video headed.
In the live-action experience, which features the cast of the show, viewers are presented with several scenarios in which the direction they’re looking, or where they are ‘gazing,’ has a direct effect on what happens in the scene. Actors from the show instruct viewers where it’s not safe to look, which is when you’ll stare at that exact direction because, you know, you’re a rebel.
The live-action 360-video experience was a joint effort between MTV, AT&T and the team of VR cinematic producers at Moth+Flame agency. The company has extensive experience in VR storytelling as well as gaze-activated technology having produced the Believe VR experience which utilized the new tech.
“Interactive storytelling is kind of the future of where everybody wants to go,” said Moth+Flame director Kevin Cornish. “With MTV, we wanted to tap into what the fans love about the show and do it in a way that implements this subconscious interactivity. It’s changing based on your behavior but you don’t know that it’s changing.”
What does this mean for storytelling in VR?
Now while this experience is a cool sample of some interesting technology, it’s just a slightly interactive promo meant to drum up excitement for the show Teen Wolf. However, it’s important to realize the potential that was displayed during these micro adventures. As VR technology has exploded over the last couple of years, so has its integration into nearly every facet of entertainment. But while video games and certain apps have found a relatively comfortable position within the new industry, studios are still working relentlessly to develop an answer to cinematic VR storytelling.
Gaze-activated technology is so exciting because it could serve as the answer to this conundrum. The main issue with current VR videos is getting the viewer to pay attention to the right place at the right time. Some developers have experimented with 3D positional audio or onscreen indicators, but the results so far have either been too subtle to notice, or too obstructive to enjoy. This gaze-activated technology could be the perfect middle ground, giving viewers the opportunity to experience new scenes with the added bonus of never missing the action. This could also be the perfect opportunity to potentially inspire a whole new generation of ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style stories. Journey Under The Sea VR anyone?!
Anyway, if this new technology tickles your fancy, you can try the Teen Wolf VR experience yourself over at the Oculus Store. Don’t have an Oculus Rift or Gear VR? All good, bro! You can check out the non-interactive version on YouTube.
Image Credit: VRScout / MTV