VR dominated the headlines in 2016 so we asked Henry Stuart, CEO of VR production studio VISUALISE what to expect next from the immersive tech.
What has happened/changed to allow VR to finally break out? And what should we be excited about in 2017?
In 2017 we can be excited by VR experiences that are led by really strong creative. People won’t be doing VR because they can, they will be doing it because the story demands it, the narrative is made for it and crucially because they understand it.
What applications of VR have you seen that surprised or inspired you?
The best I have seen is Notes on Blindness, the VR version of John Hull’s powerful description of losing his sight. This perfectly balanced piece shows how VR can be used so to immerse you in another’s world and really feel what they feel.
Another great VR experience was Mr Robot by Here Be Dragons and director Sam Esmail. This experience is beautifully polished, feels very much like part of the Amazon Prime series but crucially has a number of innovations in the film that I have never seen in VR and would not have expected to work so well. For example, one scene when the couple are high and in bed, the whole perspective of the room is upended, so you see the couple lying in bed but orientated like they are standing in front of you. Hard to describe but really adds to the feeling of being high or feeling like they do.
What role do you see VR playing in the life of citizens in the city of 2050?
Firstly I think it will be in entertainment – blockbuster experiences that transport you to the heart of stories, sports coverage that lets you float behind and around players. Secondly, shopping experiences that allow you to pick up and browse items, touching and feeling them, like they were really there. Or test drive cars before buying them. Thirdly people will be plugging into the ‘metaverse’ this alternative world that exists in VR where they can meet people play, work, hangout.
Finally there will be all of the practical uses of VR – work, health (operations, therapy, pain relief etc), conferencing.
What should brands looking to get involved with VR be thinking about now?
About the place they want to take their clients – the feeling, the magic, the moment they want them to experience. VR has moved so far, so fast, that the limits are really just with the imagination.
If you could do absolutely anything with anyone, anywhere what would your dream VR project be?
Something that covers the planet and its beauty/majesty, think Planet Earth in VR. Or capturing the 7 wonders of the modern world.
The idea of bringing people to the most spectacular events in the world; be that a Monarch Butterfly migration, amongst a shoal of Hammerhead Sharks or to The Day of the Dead in Michoacán would be so powerful in VR. To take that journey with someone, a fellow explorer who narrates or appears in the scenes naturally would add to the experience greatly.