Monday, February 22, 2016

Virtual Reality

How Virtual Reality Could Change Moviegoing
Virtual reality technology has burst onto the scene this year.  Although the technology has been focused primarily on video gaming, innovators have now expanded to movies.  At Sundance 2016 (movie festival in Utah), 8i, a startup that creates virtual reality content, debuted “The Climb”.  The film brought virtual reality to the spotlight of the film festival.  "Your logical side is saying, 'I'm in a headset. I'm in this room.' But your emotional side is saying, 'I'm on a cliff. I could die here. I don't want to jump,'" said 8i co-founder and CEO Linc Gasking. 
            The price of this new technology has dropped dramatically over the past few years.  Four years go, a pair of the virtual reality headsets was $40,000.  Today, these headsets can be purchased for $600.  Because of this price tag, filmmakers are finally able to experiment more freely with VR technology.  Recently, movie tickets sales have tanked in North America due to the rise in online movie services such as Netflix.  Filmmakers hope that the opportunity to utilize VR will increase interest in attending movies in theaters, rather than watching on Netflix. 
            Video games and movies are not the only facets in which virtual reality is being used.  Recently, NFL teams have begun to study game tape using this new technology.  The NFL has strict rules on practice hours due to player safety, and virtual reality has become a popular choice for players when they are off the field.  This technology provides an opportunity for players to study film as if they were in a live game.  "I put it on, and it took me literally two plays," Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said. "And I was like, 'This is so cool.'"  So far, six teams – the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots – have used the virtual reality technology.  "These fine details that are the things that separate you in a game," Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "Because it's just inches that help you have success out there."
           I contend that virtual reality could prove to be vital in filmmakers quest to attract movie goers.  I believe the virtual reality would attract thousands of eager viewers to theaters.  However, one problem with virtual reality is cost.  Although the price of this technology has decreased drastically over the past few years, creating virtual reality movies on a large scale could become extremely costly.  Even though virtual reality could be pricey, there is no doubt that the new technology sparks interest in the eyes of all movie watchers.


  1. I would certainly agree that new VR headsets such as the long-awaited Oculus Rift are an exciting innovation. With movie ticket sales falling like they are, I'm sure the entire industry is searching for their next breakthrough to attract Netflix streamers and Hulu watchers alike. However, I don't believe the everyday moviegoer is quite ready to be sold on virtual reality. It's hard to convince the average person to sit through a two-hour movie with a large block strapped to their face. I believe this hype is comparable to when 3d glasses were first introduced. Upon their release, people assumed it was going to make movie watching more enjoyable. However, this was not the case. It wasn't long after when only notoriously low budget films were offering a 3d glasses option. Although, fast-forwarding years later when 3d glasses got a redesign and was offered in IMAX, it did seem to attract people to blockbusters such as Avatar. However, 3d glasses are proof that it's unnecessary to create a "revolutionary experience" for the average comedy or action movie. While every few years there might be an exception, it's difficult to imagine all movies suddenly transitioning over. I'm not counting out VR headsets for good, however I believe it won't be till years down the road, when the technology is developed even further, that we'll see them go mainstream.

  2. I think that this innovation could absolutely be the future of entertainment. In today's world, movies and games have come extremely far in terms of special effects and graphics. This being said, there aren't many options as far as feeling as though the viewer is implanted into the game or movie. The closest thing there is to this idea is a 3D IMAX movie or a first person game. Although these two make you feel more apart of the experience, one cannot actually say he or she feels like they are really in this virtual world. As this innovation grows more and more, games and movies can become more of an experience opposed to just a way to spend free time. Despite the high costs to actually get this ball rolling, if it experiences large success, the revenue brought in by this innovation could be monumental. I am excited to see how far this innovation can come, but I believe its potential is through the roof. If this technology reaches expectations, it could truly change the entire world of entertainment.

  3. Virtual Reality is one of the most exciting technologies for the coming years. I am very eager for an official consumer release as it holds so much potential for new creative ideas. The only issue I find with this new form of movie going is that it isn’t exactly practical. VR sets aren’t cheap and currently the oculus rift is set at about $600 plus the additional cost of $1000 or more for a supported PC. The oculus uses processing power straight from the computer unlike the Sony VR which uses a separate processing unit that sits outside the main computer. With that being said I also think that it wouldn’t be the best way to view a film because its not really of the highest display quality. It also takes away from a social viewing experience, imagine sitting in a room with a bunch of people wearing goggles, thats VR. If something funny were to occur you couldn’t look at your friends reaction to the film or maybe notice that someone is looking at you or trying to get your attention.

    To build VR into our lives we'll need to be aware of what we will be losing in the process. Sure we gain a whole lot dimensionally but we lose our traditional dimension. Also if they expect people to wear those things for two hours they better make them more comfortable to wear. Currently its said that none of them are very comfortable as the main unit that sit over the eyes is quite heavy. Advertisers would also have to figure out how to prevent people from removing the VR when the advertisements are playing at the start of the film. This actually might be the best feature of a VR movie theater. Humor aside, I do feel that this idea is interesting but I would like to see how it can be made more practical.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.