A few weeks ago, @djabatt gave me a ticket to take part on Vincent Laforet’s Directing Motion Tour. It turned out to be a great way to spend my Sunday, revisiting the basics of cinematic language, production logistics, directorial practice, and over all fooling around with a ton of equipment and DSLR goodies provided by the workshop sponsors, that included Canon, Atomos, Freefly MõVI, a few rental houses and some others.
The workshop structure reminded me a lot of a class I took as a film student in VFS, where a few groundbreaking scenes from classic films were deconstructed shot by shot and then reshot by the workshop participants. Pretty fun, like that version of Psycho shot by Gus Van Sant.
This exercise made me compare with my recent incursions developing video based virtual reality at Wemolab, and the crazy fact that the nascent medium of virtual reality is at a place today where traditional cinema was around 1895, where an equivalent language is yet to be developed based on the strengths of this new medium.
Virtual reality is more immersive than cinema because it happens all around you, so there is no screen and no frame to separate you from the content. In combination with sound, it becomes your surrounding environment, almost completely replacing your original reality —the actual promise of virtual reality is presence, meaning that you should actually believe with all your senses that you were somewhere else. This disruptive effect can not be achieved by frame based media like the picture, the page or the screen. They are nothing more than containers of symbols and images that gently occupy the place given to them in our naturally occurring reality. VR is something else. It suggests a different destination. It forces you to be there instead of being here, and for this reason, hints at potential new ways in which a story can be told, more like dreams, or vivid memories. What is the language that virtual reality authors can use to express a direct their vision?
Perhaps for now it’s better to forget about all that and concentrate on all these shiny camera rigs, HD monitors, and HDMI streams of 4K prores video at 60 glorious fps. And I really want a MõVI.