Recently I looked deep into the eyes of a beautiful girl which was just inches away from me and saw: nothing.
Don’t get me wrong – she looked almost as perfect and lifelike as her real counterpart who was scanned, digitized and brought into this virtual world.
But at the end she was still just computer generated and…. soulless.
I used to work in a world where the sparkle in the eye of a person could mean the difference between a day work for nothing and money thrown out of the window – or a sales hit.
Nowadays technology gives us everything we need to create the exact digital copy of a human being, up to the point where it seems possible to bring back Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart for a Casablanca sequel.
But even if it will be almost impossible to tell just from the picture which one is the original and which one is the CGI character: Will the CGI actor/actress be able to achieve this little bit extra of human soul in their eyes and tremble in their voice? The things that make a human unique?
If you ask me: No.
At least not for a foreseeable future.
Now Virtual Reality is not just games and roller coaster rides, even though a large percentage of consumers out there are still under this impression.
But to broaden the potential audience, VR needs to cover all bases and that also includes movie entertainment.
The good thing is: Right now we haven’t barely scratched the surface of new possibilities that VR offers to filmmakers.
The bad thing is: currently too much content is being labeled as “VR Movie” and at the end it’s just a 360° 2D video of the same old stuff.
Where are the VR movies that drag the viewer into the story and make him/her a part of it?
Where are the VR movies that offer different perspectives, different story lines and different experiences depending on the choice of the viewer?
And to get back to my original point: If I want to create a real VR movie that gives the viewer the impression of being part of the story, it cannot be computer generated. It has to have real people/actors. Because only with real actors you will achieve real emotions among your viewers.
As a filmmaker myself, I perfectly understand the hurdles of VR video production, especially in a format like VR 180° 3D.
But then it is my firm conviction that only this format offers the perfect combination of immersion and comfort for the viewer. Because only 3D really drags you into the story and only VR 180° makes it possible to relax and enjoy without being stressed about what might happen behind your back and rotating on your chair like a madman.
And yet – also due to the lack of proper cameras – it is basically only the adult industry that embraced this format. And if you think about it for a second, you probably will understand why it is so popular there.
That – and because there are real people and not CGI characters involved.
To conclude: VR filmmaking needs real people, it needs VR 180° 3D and it needs filmmakers that understand the additional possibilities that VR offers for new and exciting stories.
But then it will be awesome.