Yet another first from Facebook. This time it's the first live action VR experience.
Instead of going for experimental or action-intensive, the film situates the viewer in the centre of Grand Central Station to watch ordinary daily occurrences.
In terms of storytelling, it’s quite interesting but borrows heavily from the conventions of standard film. Dialogue directs attention and simple conversations draw your eye towards the characters as they say goodbyes, argue or joke around. The music soundtrack also introduces mood and sentiment and the final ’shot' offers a nice bird's eye view of the station.
As a showpiece, it’s ambitious and polished. But while it has received a lot of attention, it might set too high a bar for creators who are still experimenting with the form.
In an ideal world, the museum is imagined as the gateway to the past, transporting the contemporary person to the ancient and modern past. Great museums not only house important artefacts but provide the educational context for our history. Not-so-great museums don’t and often feel like large hardware stores or overcrowded junk shops.
For Adrian Hon, most of these problems can be solved by VR and he outlines how the VR museum could eliminate the problems of crowded exhibitions. Or it could provide much better context for artefacts- like playing musical instruments instead of keeping them silently off limits. We've also seen examples of VR used to create richer experiences with simulations like The Dali Museum's Dreams of Dali.
There is, of course, something special about experiencing the ‘unique’ artefact itself but for many the limits of geography mean this can’t happen. The VR museum might just be the solution for this.
Google's mobile VR efforts so far have been great in making VR more accessible to consumers and developers alike. But today the mobile VR landscape looks a bit like a wild west compared to the neatly packaged offerings from Oculus and HTC.
To combat this Google announced Daydream, their Android-powered VR platform. In order to be a part of it, developers and manufacturers have to meet a list of minimum specifications and requirements. The end result should be a much higher quality mobile VR experience for consumers, something that the Cardboard was just never going to deliver.