There’s this fad that exists in movies that makes them more immersive. 3D supposedly, according to studio shirts across Hollywood, “puts you IN the movie!”. So far, I’ve only seen a single film that came close to putting me IN the movie. But as brilliant as Gravity’s stereoscope is, it’s still a far cry from what movie studios want you to believe it is, and pretty much only there to inflate ticket prices rather that artistic immersion.
Zero Point could be different though. It’s a film shot in 360 degree 3D, so the film will envelop you in its world, with 3D beamed into your eyes to make everything appear solidly in front of you. There is, of course, only one device this is possible on: the Oculus Rift.
Zero Point is coming to Rifts courtesy of studio Condition One, and is a documentary looking at leaps in virtual reality. The film will investigate combat training simulators, research labs, indie game developers and hackers, all revolving around the different uses of VR. Naturally, a film about VR wouldn’t be half as effective if not displayed in virtual reality itself.
“Our extensive development experience on mobile devices has allowed us to rapidly build a 3D 360 video engine. Our software is capable of projecting high-resolution video at high frame rates into a full virtual sphere, with stereoscopic images and full head tracking,” explains the Condition One blog. “This creates a powerful sense of being inside the video – giving the viewer an unparalleled sense of scale and depth as they look around. It’s like sitting in a 3D IMAX theater, except the screen surrounds you on all sides. We hope to help pioneer a new era of virtual reality through advanced graphics engineering and content innovation.”
It’s easy to imagine what the final film will look and feel like: rather than observing the labs of the Ministry of Defence’s simulation project, you’ll be in it, able to look around in the manner of Gordon poking through Kleiner’s labs in Half Life 2’s not-quite-cutscenes. Rather than adhering to a director’s vision, you can be in the film and look at what you feel is the most important element of the shot. A nightmare for directors with a distinct artistic eye, but for documentaries it sounds pretty brilliant to me.