The past 12 months have been a tipping point for what could be called VR 2.0. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in April 2014 and sparked a revolution that has spawned both new hardware and boundary-pushing content in just a few months. Every major festival, building with SXSW and Tribeca in 2014 and exploding at Sundance this past January, have started to feature VR works.
On the hardware side, Samsung’s Gear VR is now the first consumer product to market, followed by the HTC Vive and Sony’s Morpheus. You have to believe Oculus is going to be in the consumer VR mix, as well as a pool of crowdfunded headsets. Google Cardboard has been downloaded more than a million times on the Android store and venerable optics maker Carl Zeiss has jumped in with his Zeiss One headset. These headsets are the new film screens for VR content to be experienced.
This new medium has attracted artists such as director Chris Milk who launched VRSE, Félix&Paul, Vincent Morisset, Karim Ben Khelifa and countless others. The implication for creators to challenge and reinvent the rules of visual storytelling make VR much more than the shiny new toy. Being able to project your audience into the heart of the scene you and your actors are bringing to life is extremely powerful.
Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival, opening tonight, will feature a number of innovative VR experiences. We will be reporting from Tribeca, meeting some of the filmmakers behind them, learning about their creative processes, and finding out where they are headed next. Stay tuned.