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A Realistic Environment, Haptics, Sound and Heat Create a Visceral Rainforest VR Experience

Directors Milica Zec and Winslow Porter transport users to experience the life of a rainforest tree with their new VR piece Tree, now showing at Sundance’s New Frontier program.

“One challenge we faced was how to communicate with our audience without using traditional dialogue – and to keep that message and execution organic while in a CGI landscape,” the directors tell Filmmaker Magazine. “Essentially, to ‘show,’ via real-time experience and interactivity, rather than ‘tell.’ In order to immerse users fully, we placed our virtual forest inside the Unreal video game engine, fostering an interactive and realistic Amazon environment. Then, we created a spatial soundscape and developed wearable haptics that help users physically feel the real-time growth of a tree. Heating elements complete the installation by allowing users to feel the warmth of the rainforest sun, just as a real tree would.”

Read the full story here.