There’s a lot we have to learn about the possibilities and capabilities of virtual reality storytelling. There are new perspectives, new challenges and many new technologies. (See our VR Production Tools Buyer’s Guide on page 32 for some insight.)
If you’re already involved in video production, and you clearly are, I think you’ll be able to grasp the technical aspects of this new medium with relative ease. Once you do, you can start exploring the creative potential of virtual reality—for entertainment, but also for collaboration, training, education and social good.
It’s the promise of expanding awareness that I find the most exciting. You only have to see members of the United Nations with their headsets, watching projects created by the organization’s in-house VR filmmaker Gabo Arora (see www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/UNVR), to understand how impactful VR can (and should) be. The delegates are visiting Nepal in the aftermath of a historic earthquake, a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, Liberia in the midst of an Ebola epidemic … all from a demo room.
Under the Canopy
Conservation International recently released Under the Canopy, a VR film that allows viewers to explore the landscape of the Amazon rainforest, guided by the indigenous people who inhabit it and are essential to its protection. (You can read more about the project, watch “making of” videos and view the VR experience at www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/canopy.)
“Under the Canopy gives those who may never visit the Amazon rainforest an opportunity to see its wildlife up close, and understand what is at risk,” explains Dr. M. Sanjayan, Conservation International’s executive vice president and senior scientist.
Says the film’s director, Patrick Meegan, “In approaching this project, we wanted to not only illustrate the importance of conserving the rainforest in relation to climate change, but to create a thrilling experience for audiences far and wide.”