Monday, May 16, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 418: Help!

I was catching the boat to Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and I always love sailing through the Gulf Islands. There are eagles and seals, whales quite often and just the natural beauty of the place to make the trip worth every minute.

But as I was crossing the deck, I noticed a young woman sitting at a sunny window -- wearing a Virtual Reality headset, her senses locked into a computer feeding her something other than the time and place in which she resided.

I couldn't help wondering if the VR experience is really that good or her boredom with Life was really that bad.

Now, movies have always been designed to "transport us" as they say. To take us "out of ourselves" and the humdrum existences we're apparently saddled with, to times, places and experiences that inform us and enrich our perspectives.

But despite all the suspension of disbelief you bring to a movie, you're kinda always aware it's just a movie. VR intends to make you believe you're actually there.

And while I can see the point with news or documentaries, I'm not sure how story tellers focus the audience on the ideas, emotions and conflicts they're using to tell their stories. Will they be wrapt by the tale you're spinning or constantly looking over their shoulders to check out what might be going on behind them?

And how do you as a story teller determine what is going on behind them so the experience remains real but it doesn't distract from what you're trying to say?

It's clearly going to take time for all of us to learn this new story telling tool. But the story telling has already begun.

This week, director Justin Lin, best known for most of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, released what may be the first attempt at VR fiction for Google spotlight.

Now I can provide you with a link to the film, entitled "Help" which comes with a directional control in the upper Left corner so you can get the gist of the VR experience.

But you can also use a YouTube App on a compatible Android device here. Or its iOS version here in order to get the complete experience.

If you want to build your own VR headset, you can find instructions for a cardboard version here

I don't know whether VR movies will be our movie going future or the next failed fad.

Decide for yourself and...

Enjoy Your Sunday.

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