People are getting pretty excited about the possibilities of virtual reality becoming the next big thing with movies. Some postulate that VR movies might soon replace 3-D movies. That is an interesting concept, but if you think about the very nature of a movie versus a VR experience, the two situations have fundamental differences, and therefore, one cannot serve as a replacement for the other.
VR enables the user to immerse fully into a 3-D world that responds to the user’s movement and interaction. That is a marvelous trick and the technology will certainly only grow and refine as these hi-tech toys tend to do. However, as David Pogue (anchor columnist for Yahoo Tech and host of several NOVA miniseries) explains, movies are fundamentally different from a VR experience (“In the Movies” Scientific American, May 2016, p. 27):
“Movie directors don’t just direct the actors; they also direct your attention, using camera angle, lighting, selective focus, even sound to create a desired effect. A movie is a story that everyone experiences the same way because we all witness the same events.
But in a spherical movie, how will we know where to look? How can the director be sure we’ll see the unmasking of the villain off to the right if we’ve been inspecting the wreckage of the car behind us?”
Let’s let 3-D movies do what 3-D movies can do and let’s let VR do what VR can do. Each entertainment avenue will find is own path based on the human/technical interface capabilities and restrictions. This is another case of the square peg in a round hole.