AUSTIN, TEXAS -- In a setting that combined some of world’s best barbecue with some of world’s bleeding edge virtual reality technologies, Giant Spoon and Wired magazine played host to a discussion of the role new experiential technologies are playing in telling stories for fun and for brands.
“We wanted to find out if we could take the same language of cinema and see how far we could go before we broke it,” said Ian Hunter, creative director of New Deal Studios, on a panel with the special effects studio’s co-founders Matthew Gratzner and Shannon Gans.
Hunter, who won an Oscar for the effects he created for Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” said the state of virtual reality experiences is at an inflection point between its new rules for “no cuts” and all “first-person” action and classic cinematic storytelling relying on “cuts,” “changes in location” and different “points of view for the watcher.”
As early stage as the storytelling capabilities are, his partner Gratzner said virtual reality experiences create a new kind of social sharing even though the it is often experienced on a solitary basis. He illustrated that point with a personal anecdote: a recent family gathering that he brought an Oculus Rift system to enable his relatives to experience it.
“I figured a couple of people would watch it,” he said, adding that each relative -- from a five-year-old to a “96-year-old grand aunt” watched it. As a result, he said two hour family gather turned into a “4.5 hour event, because every person had to share what they saw.”Gratzner described it as a new kind of “water cooler” effect, because people like to share the VR experiences they have with other people.