The VR documentary 'Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness' has been receiving a lot of praise, being hailed as one of the first truly great pieces of VR storytelling. It's based on the audio diary of John Hull, who after losing his sight in 1983 began documenting his discovery of "a world beyond sight". The VR experience uses real-time 3D, binaural sound and John's actual audio logs to explore the world of blindness from a unique perspective.
“Cognition is beautiful,” Hull wrote, and 'Into Darkness' succeeds because it conveys the vivid interior life of a blind man as proof of full humanity.
You can watch 'Notes on Blindness' for free on Android, iOS and the Oculus Store.
'Red Dead Redemption' is often regarded as one of the best video games of the past decade. The immensely detailed world full of memorable characters, storylines and graphics all add up to one of the most lively and appreciated UX experiences for gamers. For game designers, VR is now the next step in narrative and experience development. Christian Cantamessa, the Lead Designer and Writer on 'Red Dead Redemption', believes the conversation for the potential of VR in storytelling is just starting. VR can challenge the flat mediums of TV and film that currently are the tradition of storytelling.
In using VR to revolutionise this tradition Cantamessa asks,
"How do we abandon the film making notion of a 'frame' and move to a notion of an open world that's beyond the frame?".
The answer? Designers must dynamically adapt the current storytelling format to incentivise the audience to look and crave a different engagement from the story being told. Rather than just looking at the same rectangular point of view.
Charlie Fink is one of those rare people in media who has seen and done it all, from production of Disney classics like The Lion King and Aladdin, to over 30 award-winning Broadway shows, festivals and documentaries. He's also been involved with VR since long before the Oculus Rift, and it remains his current obsession.
So what does he think about 360 video? In one word: "meh".
He likens it to the early days of cinema, where people would run out of the theater screaming at the lifelike portrayal of mundane objects like trains. What 360 video is waiting for is its D.W. Griffiths (the creator of cinematic language, for example editing). Someone who will take the industry by storm with a smash hit and define the storytelling language of 360 video for decades to come. In this article Charlie offers his own ideas on how to improve 360 video storytelling.
“The future of immersive storytelling is here; and it’s bloody”
Many live, immersive horror theater shows and alternate reality games have come and gone like circus shows coming and leaving town, but Bryan Bishop of The Verge feels that director Darren Lynn Bousman and writer Clint Sears’ LA-based interactive theater piece The Tension Experience has raised the game significantly by making the audience as much a part of the storytelling as possible and encouraging a narrative developed by audience improvisation.