Virtual Reality Is Already Knocking On the Door
Virtual reality has been building momentum over the last few weeks and it is no longer a thing of the distant future. It is finally here, knocking at our doorsteps. One of the major areas where we have seen virtual reality impact is in the area of news.
TED Talk About Virtual Reality
There was a recent TED talk by Nonny De La Pena which was titled “The Future of News? Virtual Reality,” and it details her efforts to breathe new life, new depth and new dimension into a news story using technology, specifically virtual reality technology. In this talk, she used examples of a man that had a diabetic seizure while waiting for help in a food line in Los Angeles and another one of a Syrian bombing in a market square.
David Pisarra had the pleasure of witnessing some of the great work she is working on and they discussed his documentary about domestic violence before she went on to put him in a scenario about domestic violence, a real 911 call and a murder suicide which were the plot of the story.
David said; “I began by putting on a set of goggles that is about half the size of a welder’s helmet, then a pair of headphones. At first I see nothing but black with white grid lines, and then the program starts and I find myself in an animated trailer park with a 360 degree view. There is introductory text that pops up to describe the basic scenario and then the audio starts, “911 operator…”
The scene comprised of a man with his gun threatening to shoot his lover, her mother and her sister. The terrified caller is on the phone with the 911 operators and she is demanding answers to why they haven’t sent the police yet and why they haven’t arrived yet. Eventually, the police do arrive and the scene moves outside and the events continue to unfold there.
“The effect it had on me was tremendous. Being transported to a crime scene was exceedingly emotive. The reality of being “there” while knowing I was “here” was curious, but it allowed me to experience the situation that with all my years of doing domestic violence work, I’ve never had access to,” said David.
This is just one of many ways in which virtual reality is utilized in reporting a story or telling news. There is an outstanding level of potential to this technology for teaching and training, pleasure and relaxation and it opens up the world of watching TV on a couch to a whole new horizon of actually experiencing and participating in new and engaging ways. The possibilities are almost limitless and it is difficult not to be excited about all the opportunity that this technology brings to the table. And as for media, it is not just the next variation of media but a whole new way of experiencing and engaging in media, news and education.