Virtual Reality Filmmaking
First there was radio, then there was film. We started with sound, then we had sight. The jump to film opened a whole new world of engaging the senses of a viewer. The arrival of VR is an equally big, if not bigger, shift in the viewer experience. Virtual reality filmmaking elevates the immersion by adding a powerful ingredient to sight and sound: presence.
Virtual reality filmmaking differs from conventional filmmaking not only in its material or viewing experience but also in the process of creation. The traditional rules and grammar of film don’t completely translate to VR. With viewers immersed in a 360° sphere at all times, the fundamentals of writing, shooting, cinematography, sound and edits have to be redefined.
Instead of passively watching a story, viewers take centre stage in a story as it unfolds around them. This is why the onus on the filmmaker isn’t just to craft scenes but to create and model explorable environments. The environments need to be dynamic and interaction-rich, giving the control to viewers to tailor their own experiences.
Writing a script then becomes a lot more like world building. In virtual reality filmmaking, crafting a world that connects throughout your narrative is more crucial than setting a series of events in time. To create content for VR and AR devices that is truly striking, we have to reconsider and adapt the nature of scripts and how they unfold stories. We have used the medium of virtual reality filmmaking to take viewers to the flood ravaged lands of ‘Submerged’ or watch scholarship-winning ballet dancers performing in ‘Yeh Ballet’ or traverse the vast Himalayan landscape with two school-girls in ‘Crossing the Sky’.