VR Filmmaking…

Industry Creatives Testimonial Update – Chris Gill

Hey Film Peeps,

Isn’t technology amazing? The equipment we have in the edit-suite astounds me. When I started editing, it was between two VHS decks (and it was utterly awful).

When he was a kid, my Dad used to watch programmes like Star Trek, where the technology wasn’t just non-existent, it was “impossible”. Now, we’ve travelled in SPACE and we have mobile phones. The technology he thought was really crazy was the in-car live map in “Goldfinger” which of course now exists as a Sat Nav. “Impossible”, to “in every home”.

Technology also radically effects HOW we watch things. We went from acting on stage to film, to TV, to home media and the internet. We’ve now got 4k and streaming movies, it’s crazy how fast it all evolves. The latest experience for me this week was the PSVR (Playstation Virtual Reality).

For those who don’t know, there’s now several different home VR units available (most notably the Rift, Vive and PSVR). Some mobile phones can even be put into a headset to do a similar job. It’s an incredible concept, you put on some goggles and can see and interact with an entirely synthetic reality. Wooooo.

Many of you won’t know this, but as well as a film fanatic I’m also quite a serious gamer. I bought a PSVR primarily for games, but some of the experiences so far are somewhere between a game and a movie. I’ve used the PSVR for racing, snooker, shooting .etc but there’s also hybrid entertainment. I had a go at an underwater dive (part of the “Playstation VR Worlds” package) which has you plummet into the ocean in a metal cage. It’s an immersive mini-film; there’s a story, I have action all around me (literally) and elements within are responding to some of my actions. While it’s very early days for this technology, I was stunned by it.

I remember all of this as a fictional concept in the Red Dwarf episode “Better Than Life”. We’re so close to that now it’s scary! We can only be a short period of time away from some full length Hollywood VR films, I find that REALLY exciting…

What does fast moving tech mean for us, the independent filmmaking community? It means that we’re continually able to stretch what we can achieve, regardless of background or budget. I’m not suggesting we are going to be making VR movies in the next few months, but we can now get cinema-esque quality footage for obtainable prices.

This technology only gets better, cheaper and more widely available. This means that more and more Atomic Filmmakers can produce their own great looking films. Within the last fifteen years we’ve gone from SD video to home-user 4k cameras with pro-features.

The flip-side to this is that more and more people are producing films, and more and more good ones at that. This is nothing to be afraid of, you can only hope to succeed by being genuinely good at what you do, not by expecting everyone else to be lousy.

So, do you need to go out and always have the latest camera? Are you required to have a state of the art editing facility? No.

I’d argue that a far better use of time and effort is to focus on the core of any film; STORY. 99% of any film is story, the remaining 1% is just everything else that is required to deliver it. The difference between an average story and a great one is EVERYTHING in film. The difference in financial cost? None. Only time. This is one of the major areas we explore in my book: www.hollywoodhates.com

It’s only going to get harder to compete simply on tech. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to realise your film as best as you can. Just understand that most great films are so primarily because of their story.

That’s it for this week, I’m off to another reality for a while. Remember, sign up at: http://hollywoodhates.com/sign-up/ for all of my latest updates, offers and info.

Thanks for reading,
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P.S. If you don’t hear from me for a few weeks, send help. I might be stuck in a virtual ocean!

P.P.S. I am aware that I look a bit like Robocop’s less attractive brother in that photo…