Mini-Documentaries of Oculus Have Successfully Developed Virtual Reality Beyond Games
We all know for a fact that virtual reality has that power to leave its audience in awe, but putting the right things in place, it can as well stroke their passion. One good example is the made-for-virtual-reality documentary Notes on Blindness: Into the Darkness, which takes the audience on a tour around the mind of the late writer-theologian John Hull right after he lost his vision. Notes on Blindness is just one of the many Oculus mini-documentaries the company launched recently to prove that virtual reality is more than just a thing for gaming.
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Notes on Blindness and Other Oculus Mini-Documentaries
Featuring Hull’s voice and mixing it with computer-generated renderings, Notes on Blindness is one of the Oculus mini-documentaries and games that the Facebook-owned technology company is showcasing to highlight the importance of virtual reality and its potential to be the biggest and probably the most effective way to tell a story.
Max Cohen, vice president of mobile for Oculus VR, said, “Think about kids learning five, ten, fifteen years from now. They’re not going to be using textbooks when they can experience firsthand what these people went through.”
Oculus shared that in the past month, more than a million people utilized Gear VR to watch videos, play games, and other similar experiences. To further engage the VR market, Oculus released these documentaries, starting with three episodes of the 360-degree series Nomads—all for free. The series, which was created by Felix & Paul Studios, introduced the audience to the lives of the typical yak herders in Mongolia; the Maasai warriors of Kenya; and the Bajau, who live in perilous houses hovered on stilts in the Bornean Sea.
The Oculus mini-documentaries were released to journalists, and these shorts let the viewers stand in the point of view of every subject, something that standard photos, movies, or TV could not possibly do. Notes on Blindness, in particular, placed the storytelling prospective of VR in its most excellent beam possible. The documentary was launched during the Sundance Film Festival.
As mentioned, Notes on Blindness centers around John Hull, a British novelist and theologian who suffered from cataracts as a teenager and went through a series of retinal disconnection before he completely went blind in 1983. As his vision deteriorated, Hull documented himself, sharing more about the significant events that have happened in his life.
Watching the video, you will hear audio diaries, and as you listen to them, you get to view scenes restructured using computer-generated animation. Virtual reality experience will have you sitting on a virtual park bench as Hull describes the scene, giving every detail, from the biggest to the most trivial ones like the sound the playing kids around make, the crackle of a newspaper to his left, and the sound of the breeze blowing through trees behind him.
These descriptions, however, are only presented as blurry forms, and the park turns out to be thousands of spots of light. You then become intensely conscious of the sounds, helping you identify with Hull as he celebrates his other senses and at the same time feeling nostalgic to the loss of one. As the video nears its end, the spots of light fade away into the atmosphere, turning the park and Hull’s world into a place of dark canvas.
The Notes on Blindness VR series will be out in advance of a normal feature film by writers-directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney this summer.