The Many Storytelling Challenges Filmmakers Face in Virtual Reality
When making movies, filmmakers plan the direction in which their stories are related to their audience. As much as possible, they like to be in control of every little detail. And when it comes to the art of telling their stories, they like to infuse it with as much accuracy as possible. They give their 100% effort in making sure that everything is correct as that is how they connect with their audience and get maximum engagement.
The aim is always to clearly and plainly tell the main characters’ journey in a way that the audience will see all the shots in the correct order and sequence and in the right timing. For instance, they decide on when they are going to cut a specific reaction shot so as to clearly convey the emotions in that scene to the audience or to make them feel sympathetic to the characters’ plight. In the case of a comedy film, the timing of the shots should be exact so as to better establish the jokes. In an action series, filmmakers also decide on how the shots are assembled so as to better establish and infuse tension into the scene. Virtual reality (VR) discourages the use of nearly all the traditional gimmicks in the filmmaking business.
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Recently, the writer at Aardman delivered his first 360-degree production entitled “Special Delivery” to Google Spotlight Stories. He is also preparing to give the second story as soon as possible to the BBC. They gained several important things from the movie. One of those was that the inspiration for “Special Delivery” came from legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where the audience is treated much like a permanent camera, wherein he is an observer set in a fixed spot.
One of the things they discovered was that even though it was possible for them to manage and handle the camera at specific times, it would end up being a confusing experience for the viewers who would suddenly feel disoriented because of the constant switch between giving and taking control. There was a tendency where they would feel like they didn’t know where they are at that point in time or if they could progress further. In the end, they decided to leave all the control with the viewers, except for the opening title section.
Because they could no longer cut to reaction shots, they had to make do with taking full advantage of the shooting environment. They arranged the set to have a segment where the characters themselves would approach the camera or choreographed the action so as to have them move closer to the camera if they wanted to make a certain point, just like how it is in the theater.
They boasted a selection of new toys, set off points being one of them. These allow action to be set off only when the viewers are looking at the screen and to freeze the action when they’re not. This way, the story is made to linger for the sake of the audience. It makes it seem like there regularly switching plates of action, and the sound is similar to this concept.
Applications of VR
There are a lot of useful applications for virtual reality, so you might wonder why one would choose to opt for an animated path. The answer to this intriguing question is that with video, it is difficult for a person to directly relate with the specific reactions and movements of the characters. For example, with a real-time engine that features animated characters, the characters can interact directly with you once you look at them. Your eyes connect, and then you somehow feel like you are part of the story. This takes the engagement to a deeper level. The writer applied this idea on the said BBC project, which will be launched at the Sheffield Documentary Festival in two weeks’ time.