The Oculus Rift has carved out a sizable reputation for itself among gamers, but as we've seen before, virtual reality has many applications beyond playing video games. Now one production studio is preparing to release the first movie shot specifically to be watched through the VR headset. The upcoming film, called Zero Point, will focus on the history and development of virtual reality technology, while allowing viewers the freedom to look around each scene as the movie progresses.
Produced by Condition One, a start-up company devoted to innovative visual technology, Zero Point will be watchable in 3D and with a complete 360-degree viewpoint. The full movie will immerse players in a variety of locations, including a military training camp, the bustling E3 conference, a research lab at Stanford, and the workshops of different VR developers.
Lending some further credibility to the project is Condition One's founder and CEO, Danfung Dennis, who also directed the 360-degree film. Prior to forming the company, Dennis produced and directed a documentary called Hell and Back Again, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011.
The concept of a 360-degree film, complete with edits and a narrative structure, may be a bit hard to grasp for anyone who hasn't experienced the Rift first-hand, which is why Condition One recently released an interactive trailer. Using the company's interactive media player, which was originally developed as an app for iOS, viewers can play the trailer in a web browser and explore each image with a mouse.
Judging from the brief snippets the trailer revealed, some portions of the film will appear almost like a floating curved screen in front of the viewer, while others will surround them in all directions. This way, anyone watching the movie can make their own choice on where to look during a scene, and potentially have a different viewing experience each time they see it.
The full version of Zero Point is expected to be released later this year in multiple interactive formats, including a version just for anyone who owns a Rift developer kit. If you want to check out the interactive trailer for yourself, Condition One has posted it on Reelhouse.
This may be the first VR-friendly movie on the horizon, but with the Rift and other VR headsets like the Avegant Glyph gaining popularity, it's doubtful it will be the last.