What is better than watching a film and becoming immersed in the narrative? Being transported right into the film so that you could have sworn that it really happened.
Films produced for VR permit the audience to view a 360 degree environment in every scene. Much like within gaming, it allows the user to fully explore the realm in which they have been transported to - perfect for avid film fans watching their favourite movie.
Production companies, such as Fox Searchlight Pictures and Skybound, utilize VR cameras to produce films and series that are interactive in VR.
A landmark in virtual reality was the 1992 movie Lawnmower Man, in which a gardener considered an idiot is transformed with the help of the technology into a raging genius. The movie, among other things, contained the world's first virtual reality sex scene which has now been built on by the booming Adult VR industry.
How are VR films made you may ask? A virtual reality sequence is shot using a cluster of cameras pointing in all directions, which captures video in 360 degrees. Standard VR has four to sixteen cameras in a rig. Footage from individual cameras is sewn together using special software - creating a life-size virtual replica of the film.
Audiences can watch a film in virtual reality by strapping on a VR headset– Oculus Rift, Samsung VR or Google Cardboard and more. The headset display, mounted in front of the eyes enables the viewer to look in a direction of their choice. A computer or a smartphone can be used to play the movie.
Films can be watched in VR without being exploratory - various films and TV shows are available for free on YouTube and other streaming services.
All of this means that the experience is a life-size 3D environment without the limitations associated with a TV or a movie-theatre screen.
The world’s very first virtual reality cinema opened its doors in the heart of Amsterdam early 2016.The VR Cinema is expanding internationally and has opened locations in China, Finland and Romania.
As well as favourite films being made into VR spectaculars - some amazing offerings have been made entirely using VR technology.
Here are our top picks of VR films for you to watch:
Knives is a surreal drama about a door-to-door knife salesman's encounter with Kelsey Frye, a housewife on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Kelsey reluctantly agrees to watch the Salesman's cutlery presentation tempted by the promise of a hacksaw that will give her access to her husband's secret lock box. The Salesman however has ulterior motives for being there, will Kelsey be able to find this out on time?
In a dark and sinister warehouse, a psychopath is hunting you down carrying his sharp deadly toys. But you’re not alone in this, a girl comes to your rescue...Will you manage to survive this demented place or will you become part of his murderous corpse collection?
A dystopian tale where in the near future, nature has turned wild and devastated Planet Earth. Human beings have become extinct, but insects, fungi and strange marine creatures have survived and are engaged in strange doings. Is this the stuff of science fiction or is it a prophetic vision? You will no longer look at animals and plants in the same way.
Get ready to explore Salvador Dali’s surreal mind in this breath-taking film. Now you can enter his paintings and experience his unique drawings and imaginative figures coming to life. This VR piece offers you a whole new perspective on Dali with visual surprises from different artworks and the chance to fly around his world.
Technology’s power keeps growing on us as we are getting more and more dependent on it. What happens when technology organizes and stores our memories for us, but starts to interferes with our consciousness? This VR experience gives us a glimpse of how technology can influence our reality beyond imagination.
Ashes to Ashes is a surreal tragicomedy in virtual reality, and it is utterly charming from start to finish. The eleven minute one-shot immerses the viewer in the story about a dysfunctional family burdened with the bizarre final wish of their deceased grandfather. Filmed from the perspective of the urn containing the ashes, viewers encounter the colorful family members, who each seem to live in a reality of their own creation. This award-winning of the Dutch VR Award is an absolute must-watch.
How many times has destiny revealed her plans to you? A young man meets his soulmate amongst the smoke and neon lights of a music nightclub. In a flash of a moment he sees a new kind of future for him. When love comes knocking on your door, will life ever be the same as before?
Imagine standing amongst 3 million wildebeest, 400,000 gazelle and 300,000 zebra as they continue their gruelling search for food and water across two countries. The Great Migration in Africa is the most epic animal exodus on earth. This film wants to take you there to experience the magic and the mayhem in virtual reality.
A daughter’s cathartic letter to her father unravels a painful story of love, loss and reunion. From the brothels of sex trafficking to the rural rhythms of the Southern Indian life, Ramadevi reminisces her painful struggles and comes to terms with her past and the relationship with her father.