Virtual Reality: The New Filmmaking Frontier
The film industry is characterised by its reliance on technology and innovation. While storytelling principles may stay the same, the technology filmmakers now have at their disposal to tell such stories is more impressive than ever before. Filmmakers, set designers, cinematographers and screenwriters must all be highly creative and adaptable. They must respond to last minute changes and restrictions that may include budgets, locations, timeframes and more. However, technology has now progressed to such a level that filmmakers must adapt to that too, keeping up with the latest changes to ensure their films are still competitive at the box office and satisfying to audiences. Virtual reality is the latest addition to the film technology sphere. We discuss some of its uses and potential drawbacks below.
Virtual Reality for audiences
It is not yet clear whether virtual reality will be used in cinemas as a way to watch films instead of the big screen, for example. It has currently been reported that virtual reality for audiences is more likely to take the form of immersive behind the scenes tours, extra scenes, or an opportunity to experience aspects of the film’s “world” before the film’s release.
Virtual Reality for film professionals
Virtual reality may also be used as part of the pre-production and design process during films. It is thought that it could save expenses by building a set virtually, for example, to see if it has visual impact before having to use money and resources to build it in reality. It may also be used as a tool in other parts of the design process and even as a tool to secure backing from sponsors and financiers. They will be able to see and experience some of the environment of the film before it has been fully filmed.
Does better technology mean better films?
There is a continuing debate whether advances in film technology mean more breathtaking, high quality films, or simply lazier filmmaking that lacks any real substance. The truth is probably somewhere in between. The filmmaking process has undoubtedly been made more streamlined by technological developments, and advances in CGI and other technology has made it possible to create visually stunning fantasy universes, amazing stunts, and more. Many would argue, however, that this, in itself, is not what makes a good film and that any visual effects must be backed up by an excellent script, good direction, and overall artistic merit.
The development of virtual reality has interesting implications for filmmaking as a whole. Whether simply as a design aid or as a whole new way to experience cinema, it could have multiple uses at the pre-production, production and viewing stages.