Yesterday Oculus announced Story Studio, an in-house production team dedicated to creating movies for the Oculus Rift.
Unlike traditional films, these VR experiences are designed to envelop and captivate the audience member. Imagine yourself in the middle of a Pixar film, with the action and characters moving around you in real-time, and you’ll get an idea of how these movies will work. We’ve already experienced something similar within Senza Peso, a mini-opera for the Oculus Rift that was released in 2014. It was a powerful and captivating experience that blew away everyone who tried it.
Oculus Story Studio is exploring the use of storytelling in VR to create new types of movies that could only happen within the Rift headset, and has put together a team of artists, creators and technicians from film and gaming to accomplish this feat. There are many questions that the studio hopes to answer; how do you tell a story in a 3D environment? What would it be like to actually find yourself within an animated film? Could the audience member actually interact with the characters and change the focus of the story? How do you change from one scene to another?
To answer these questions, Studio Studio is currently developing five animated films, and hopes to release all of them by the end of 2015. Here are the first four films that you should hopefully be able to experience when the eventual consumer version of the Oculus Rift is released:
- Lost: the first short VR movie from Story Studio. It’s focused on magic and wonder, and shows a robot hand coming to life while trying to its original body. It uses scale, timing and atmosphere to create an experience that’s spine tingling and magical.
- Kabloom: the second film that’s focused around comedy and empathy. It’s likely to focus around the friendship between an inflated balloon in the shape of a dog, and a spiky hedgehog called Henry.
- Bullfigher: focused on fear, intensity and presense. It places the viewer inside a packed bullfighting arena alongside the matador and a furious bull.
- Dear Angelica: Mixing 2D and virtual reality, the idea behind Angelica is to imagine what it would be like to be inside an illustration as it comes to life.
If the team can solve the myriad problems and questions involved with creating movies for virtual reality, then it’s likely we’ll see an entirely new medium of film emerge on the Oculus Rift. One that involves the audience member like never before, and creates even more powerful experiences than traditional cinema can offer. Needless to say, there are exciting times ahead this year!