MAKING SENSE OF VR
ABOVE AND RIGHT The film ‘Welcome to Aleppo’ took the viewer to the front line in Syria, a dangerous place to be, and the Go Pro rig regularly froze to make life harder.
wanted any coverage,” he says. “It was easy for me to find stories there because I knew the place so well, and I even went back to my old house only to find that it was under six feet of water. “Ultimately we produced three 360-degree films for The New York Times, including one that was shot froma boat going through the flooded section of the city and inside the flooded house of the people we were with. It was a very emotive production and viewers had the opportunity to experience the situation almost as though they were in the place with us.” material than ever, it’s largely being viewed on iPads, phones and desktop computers, and Dylan is concerned that this isn’t doing justice to themedium, and impact is being lost. “You just don’t get the same kind of connection if you don’t view the footage through a headset,” he says. “That situation is changing, however, and more andmore headsets are appearing “Itmade themfeel as though they were in the middle of the story” Viewing the film Although there is nowmore VR and 360°
time to look around, and a three-minute filmmight only have six to eight clips. So, what of the future for VR as an immersive storytellingmedium? Dylan is aware that it needs to be used sparingly and on the right subject. Both he and Christian believe that VR content needs to have a reason behind it, and it will only be used if the story is difficult to get access to, in a place wheremost people won’t be able to travel to. Used toomuch there’s a chance VR will become a gimmick, losing its power. “It’s just a different way of telling a story,” says Dylan, “and VR has the potential to add to your project in a way that no other medium can.”
from the likes of Google, Apple, Samsung and Oculus, making this accessorymore mainstream. We showed one of our VR films at the Sundance FilmFestival and we had a booth where up to 30 people could view it simultaneously using Samsung Gear headsets, and it made them feel as though they were really in themiddle of the story.” For Dylan, the essence of a VR production is documentary, since he feels it comes with a level of objectivity that can be lacking in amore conventional documentary film. “With traditional methods of storytelling, journalists may manipulate the atmosphere,” he says. “But with VR that’s muchmore difficult to do. It forces you to be authentic.” It’s also put together in a different way to a traditional film. You can’t have fast cuts since every shot needs to give the viewer
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SUMMER 2018 PRO MOVIEMAKER
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