Ever imagined how it feels to view the action from the protagonist’s point of view? Well, imagine no more. Virtual Reality now allows you to be part of the action. Skybound Entertainment last year shot an 11-part series called ‘Gone.’ The series whose first episode was released in December 2015 is about a mother’s quest to find her lost daughter. The series was produced exclusively for Samsung’s Gear VR headset.
Gone was shot using a custom-made camera capable of capturing a 360 point of view. This made it necessary to hide both the crew and the equipment when the camera was rolling. The scenes were shot in one take. The captured material was then quickly stitched together within an hour to allow the team to preview it with Samsung Gear VR headsets. The series blends both linear story telling with more interactive VR capabilities. The viewer has the options of looking around and exploring the360 POV and zooming into the hotspots to unlock the story details. Gone uses hotspots in a clever manner. Hotspots are only available for a limited amount of time after which they then disappear. The video in the videos is unlocked by focusing on a hotspot. All this progress has to happen at the same speed as the plotline. This means that viewers can change their vintage point but cannot manipulate time.
The filming of ‘Gone’ required both flexibility and technical innovation. Samsung Skybound actually had to partner with Wevr on various VR production aspects. A team of developers was developing a code for the app used to create the hotspots while the show was being shot. According to Rachel Skidmore, the Executive producer, the number of hotspots had to be kept on the low to avoid making the show a multiple choice adventure. He adds that every hotspot had to be really thought out. Three additional episodes of the show were released by Samsung towards the end of January this year.
‘Defrost’ is a Sci-Fi VR drama also expected to start distribution of its first season this year. The drama is about a woman who wakes up after sub-zero temperature suspension. She wakes up to find herself surrounded by a much older family, sophisticated technology and a nagging suspicion that something is amiss. The story has been written by Randal Kleiser who had earlier put the story away because, at the time, it proved difficult to tell the story from the protagonist’s point of view. Kaiser’s contact with Oculus Rift two years later made him go back to his script because he felt VR is all he needed to tell the story as he had always wanted it told. The team behind the frost is composed of Furious M, IM 320 and 3ality. The team decided to go for mobile VR in a bid to ensure a broad distribution since at the moment VR headsets are still scarce. The show will be available to Samsung Gear VR and Cardboard VR viewers for both Android and iOS.
More VR shows are in the pipeline. Oculus Rift has promised to launch its headset March this year. Sony and HTC are also expected to follow suit any time within the years. Consumer electronics have forecasted that this year alone, 1.2 million VR headsets will be sold. It is hoped that this broad spread use of VR headset will inspire the production of more shows this year. In the meanwhile let us sit back and hope your favorite show shoots the upcoming seasons in VR.