Drama in VR
VR drama is still in the experimental stage for the most part, but it’s starting to gain real traction in short format series. The real power of VR is it puts you directly into the scene. Wearing a headset and headphones leads the viewer to believe they are really there. In that situation it’s impossible not to be affected by what is happening around you and feel real empathy for characters.
In a VR drama, the viewer is engaged and responsible for keeping up with the action. As a director we block out and choreograph the scenes in such a way that the audience will intuitively follow the main action, similar to a live stage play. The ultimate goal of any project is to create a VR experience where you’re completely engaged and emotionally invested within the story.
Spatial audio cues play a large role in capturing and diverting attention to particular areas. For example, you may hear a sound behind you that prompts you to turn around. This is one way the director can control the viewer experience.
But what if the viewer is looking in the wrong place when the scene changes?
Advancements in technology are happening daily. For example, certain platforms are supporting forced perspective whereby at certain points in the story, you re-orient the viewer to a particular part of a scene. Facebook now supports this and new aggregators are coming on board soon. This will help tremendously as some of the storytelling power will be given back to the director.
And VR lends itself to multiple viewing where the user can have a different experience each time.
Go in deep…
Immersion in a virtual reality experience is the perception that you, the participant, are physically there…wherever “there” may be. For us as virtual reality storytellers, the goal is to create such a high degree of immersion that users aren’t just caught up thinking, “This is a cool experience…” because they’re too busy participating in what’s happening around them. At peak immersion, audiences experience a real sense of presence – that feeling of actively participating rather than passively watching.
The ultimate potential of storytelling in VR is that we’ll be able to live out the stories that we could only previous read, listen to or watch. In virtual reality, you don’t have to imagine what it feels like — you feel it for yourself. When you are a given person (or “with” them), rather than just watching them, you experience a greater degree of empathy. And that my friends is the power of VR.
Do you think this is the future of digital storytelling?