Oculus just sent a ripple through the heart of the VR community, again! They are now experimenting with cinematic VR experiences in a newly revealed internal ‘Story Studio’ group. The first glimpse of the studio’s work, Lost, a CG VR short film, was shown at this week’s Sundance Film Festival.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe says that while the company is “absolutely still all about games,” Story Studio, based in SF away from the core Oculus group, came about as a necessary touchstone for interfacing with cinema creatives. So about a year ago the company started looking for people to form a small internal team to explore real-time CG cinema in virtual reality.
Lost is roughly a four-minute short, which takes places in a moonlit forest, is intelligently designed so as to ease viewers into the virtual realm and guide them through the experience without the navigation mechanisms ever showing. And it's accomplished using a combination of Oculus VR's head-tracking tech, audio cues and discreet visual guides -- in this case, the firefly that initially greets you in Lost.
Planck's team also experimented with the inclusion of "teleports" in Lost, these were moments where the viewer would be suddenly transported from one semi-fixed location to another. But the effect was ultimately too disorienting and required a "lull in the story" to allow the viewer to readjust; another element that would kill pacing. The removal of teleports from Lost means much of the action, or story, unfolds at a set distance in front of the viewer
By exhibiting the short at Sundance, Story Studio hopes to attract the interest of other creatives and filmmakers. It's a release plan Planck says will be repeated with the five other shorts slated for this year.
'Henry' or 'Codename: Kabloom,' Story Studio's upcoming comedic short and Dear Angelica,'Story Studio's surrealistic virtual reality short.
I'm excited to see what the shorts are like in VR and Planck aims to address a technical challenge and further innovate the medium, much like Pixar does. That means Story Studio's future shorts could include successfully implemented gaze triggers, teleports or even "passage of time in virtual reality."
Ultimately, Planck says,
Read the full Engadget interview here: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/27/oculus-story-studio-is-the-pixar-of-virtual-reality/