Filmmakers on VR: Yays, nays, faves

Some of us (probably those who have been around long enough to remember Lawnmower Man) have been dreaming of virtual reality for a while. Finally, technology is at a point where we can experience it. But the industry is in its infancy, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. While many predict VR will be a game-changer for filmmaking and storytelling, there are still some skeptics. We asked our exclusive contributors what they think and what their favorite VR projects are.

Yays

When it comes to getting into VR themselves, the filmmakers who plan to explore it believe it’s most definitely “the future.” Michael Miller says, “I’ve been completely blown away by VR and have been pushing to expand my network to include folks from this industry. I don’t see how VR could possibly be a fad or novelty. In fact, I believe it will commonplace within five years.”

Renaud Stanton says all his clients are asking for it, and Al Caudullo has already sold some of his 2D VR shorts. With Google and Facebook providing more support and integration for virtual reality, and equipment getting easier to access and use, Zachary Pawlowski thinks “we can add it to our toolbox” now.

Nays

However, there are those not quite so keen to get into VR, at least anytime soon. The most common objection is cost of entry, especially for the average consumer. “It’s too expensive,” says Ryan Blaske. “And it’s not a big market yet.”

There is a sense this is still a waiting game — till the technology, market, and cost find their sweet spot. Konspiracy Studios says, “Feels too early, almost like a fad. Cool for experiments but not where I’d want to focus energy in making a business.”

Faves

Regardless people’s prognosis, there’s no denying that filmmakers are using virtual reality in some pretty cool ways, spanning a range of applications — including gaming, sports, documentary, art, public service, and current events. Here are our contributors’ picks for their standout VR projects:

Mykyta Shuliahin — Google, “HELP”

 

Donovan Ewing — Minecraft

 

Derek Dockendorf — Game of Thrones opening

 

Zachary Pawlowski — GoPro, “Land, Air and Sea”

 

Michael Miller — SMART News Agency, “The Battle for Northern Syria”

 

Konspiracy Studios — Brain Farm for Samsung Gear VR

 

Ryan Blaske — BBDO Russia for Family Matters, “Do Not Look the Other Way”

 

Jesse Andrew Clark — “MythBusters: Shark Shipwreck”

 

Al Caudullo votes for the “wonderful stuff” from Condition One.

 

Sam Slade — The New York Times VR docs

 

Jared Isham — Corridor Digital, “Where’s Waldo 360”

 

George Georgeadis, Dissolve’s product manager — Google’s Tilt Brush

 

How about you? What are your favorite VR projects?

 

Thanks to all our exclusive contributors who participated! In addition to the above, Ian Rowan, Oleksandr Nadoloshko, Adrian Gonzalez de la Pena, Austin Mayden, and Miha Avguštin shared their thoughts.