I don’t expect this record will last much beyond the month of April, but for it’s apparently true for now: Two New Yorkers have set the record for prolonged non-stop viewing of virtual reality video: 50 hours.
According to Variety, Alejandro “AJ" Fragoso, 26 and Alex Christison, 37, accomplished the feat by watching VR video from Saturday at 8:45 a.m. until Monday at 10:45 a.m. — with an allowable five-minute break per hour.
Variety called them “two massively sleep-deprived and disoriented New Yorkers.” Their stunt was sponsored by CyberLink, which has a VR-playback features its Power DVD17 software. Variety says they used Oculus Rift headsets connected to VR-capable laptops.
Fragoso is becoming the go-to guy for binge-record-setting stunts. A year ago, he set the Guinness Book record for binge-watching, at 94 hours, a mark that still stands.
An ER doctor checked out these two guys before and after the VR marathon, to ensure they were healthy enough to try it and still healthy enough after the viewing. Nausea and vertigo are common problems for some VR users, and the possibility of seizures has been mentioned before.
They’re OK. Neither one vomited.
Variety noted that on its Facebook page, Occulus warns of “seizures; loss of awareness; eye strain; eye or muscle twitching; involuntary movements; altered, blurred, or double vision or other visual abnormalities; dizziness; disorientation; impaired balance; impaired hand-eye coordination; excessive sweating; increased salivation; nausea; lightheadedness, drowsiness; fatigue; or any symptoms similar to motion sickness.”
Occulus also says some of the symptoms can become apparent later on.
After his marathon watchathon last year, Fragoso stated: “I learned that binge watching TV for abnormally long durations can be quite physically taxing.”
I am a lightweight in the presence of titans of the binge business. I shouldn’t tell a story that once again underscores my very ancient mainstream media roots. But way back, when TV was not on 24 hours a day, I watched from sign-on to sign-off--about 20 hours. It really doesn’t sound so impossibly horrible.
And that might be the truth if you could pick out everything you would see.
That wasn’t the case. But even these guys, who had the gift of choice, apparently had some problems.
Per the trade mag, Fragoso and Christison “watched back-to-back VR movies and360-degree shorts such as ‘Rogue One: Recon – A Star Wars 360 Experience,’ ‘Kong VR: Destination Skull Island,’ and short film ‘Invasion!’ from Baobab Studios. Other VR content, much of which was streamed from YouTube, included the New York Times’ ‘Great Performers”’VR series with Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle and Natalie Portman; ‘The Walking Dead: Surrounded 360 Experience’; ‘Arrival VR’; and Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ VR short. The lineup also included movies ‘Superbad,’ ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,’ ‘Blazing Saddles,’ ‘The Iron Giant’ and ‘Hot Fuzz.’ “
Christison said the worst thing he saw was “Mortal Kombat” VR short. Fragoso said his most detested was “Baby’s Day Out,” the very last thing he saw. “The last shot I saw was of the baby’s butt,” he reported.