You may envision talent, takes, teleprompters, studios and sets. While all of these tools are useful, you can actually produce a very effective video without any of these things. You probably already have. Open up any computer editing application, and you can assemble music, text, graphics, digital images, art, animations and transitions into complete video without ever touching a light, camera or microphone.
Clearly, making video is broader in scope than can be summarized by traditional acquisition actions. The range of technologies and sources of content that contribute to media creation are expanding faster and faster, and in the process, video production itself is being redefined. Thanks to the innovations behind Oculus Rift and similar virtual reality (VR) headsets, we may well see the introduction of virtual reality programing and virtual reality video production in our lifetimes.
The new age of Virtual Reality Media (VRM) will enable media creators to build virtual worlds and environments, and quite possibly virtual actors, that are so authentic looking that the viewer cannot tell the difference between animation simulation and live-action reality.
Presently, the idea of VR may bring to mind uses primarily for training or gaming. Yet the rapid advancement we have seen in 3D game engines is sure to impact the world of video. The new age of Virtual Reality Media (VRM) will enable media creators to build virtual worlds and environments, and quite possibly virtual actors, that are so authentic looking that the viewer cannot tell the difference between animation simulation and live-action reality. The modeling, textures and motion in today’s top 3D games are already almost there (not quite, but almost), and they are rapidly improving.
Rest assured, game developers are not the only ones thinking about this convergence of realistic 3D rendering, the immersiveness of virtual reality experience and visual storytelling. 3D graphics and render engines are without doubt leading us towards a new era in convergence, where entire movies will be lit with virtual lights and shot with virtual cameras, without any of the physical limitations or costs associated with locations, crews, talent or equipment.
Like all fledgling technologies, VRM will have its advantages and disadvantages. Virtual cameras and simulated lenses will need to evolve to create images that more closely resemble glass, depth, and field of view in a way that the human brain accepts without question. The implementation of branching plot lines that change the story based on viewer feedback will present new challenges in script development. The very structure of visual storytelling, which typically begins with a sequence of establishing shots that lead the viewer into the story, will need to be reimagined in an environment where the viewer may move within the scene.
Even so, I believe virtual reality media will have its day, allowing filmmakers to create immersive experiences where viewers can enter into and interact with simulated environments that will revolutionize visual storytelling.