Cosmo Scharf is a film student and co-founder of VRLA. He talks about some of the challenges of VR storytelling and the differences between a free-will VR environment vs. a traditional 2D film. Film has a series of tools to direct attention such as depth of field, camera direction, cues to look to left or right, contrasting colors or movement in the frame. Some of these translate over to VR, but you can’t use all of them since there’s no camera movement, focus or framing in VR.

cosmo-269x200He talks about the process of starting a meet up in Los Angeles called VRLA, and that a lot of people in the film industry are seeing VR as the future of storytelling and entertainment.

Cosmo also sees that VR experiences are a spectrum from ranging from completely interactive like a video game, semi-interactive cinematic experience, and the completely passive. There’s not a whole lot of people are looking into the completely passive experiences yet, but that’s what he’s interested in exploring as a film student.

He strongly believes it’s the future of storytelling, video games, computing as well as disseminating information in general, and he’s very excited to get more involved in the VR industry

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Founder of VR LA. Initially interested in VR after hearing about Valve’s involvement in VR. Reading /r/oculus and listening to podcasts and heard a podcast about starting a meet up.
  • 1:44 – Film industry’s involvement and how many were new to VR? Weeks after the Facebook acquisition, and so there were over 200 people who came out.
  • 2:34 – What type of feedback did you receive? A lot of people in the movie industry are seeing VR as the future of storytelling. Cosmo wants to provide emotionally-engaging experiences.
  • 3:22 – What type of story things are interesting to you. Not a lot of storytelling in VR happening yet. VR is early. Differences between film and VR. Filmmaking rules and practices to use 4 frames for 100 years. VR is a new medium. How do you effectively tell a story without relying upon the same filmmaking techniques.
  • 4:36 – What are some of the open problems in VR storytelling? How to direct someone’s attention. With filmmaking you can use depth of field, camera direction, cues to look to left or right, colors or movement in the frame. Some of the cues in real life are if others are looking in a direction and which direction sounds are coming from. Passive vs. Interactive VR: completely interactive like a video game, semi-interactive cinematic experience, and the completely passive. Not a whole lot of people are looking at the third way.
  • 6:22 – Familiar with Nonny de la Pena’s work. She attended VRLA #1. It’s interesting in terms of VR as a tool for building empathy. When you’re placed virtually in someone else’s shoes, you’ll feel what they’re going to feel. You can connect to people via a 2D screen, but you know that there’s a distance. With VR, you’re in it and completely immersed and engaged.
  • 7:31 – What about choose your own adventure vs. a linear film: VR experience similar to Mass Effect where you have different options to say to characters. Your response will change how the story unfolds. Would like to see a natural feedback between you and the AI characters
  • 8:22 – Where would like to see VR going? We’re still very early with VR, no consumer product is out yet and that will determine if VR is a real thing. Strongly believes it’s the future of storytelling, video games, computing & disseminating information in general. HMDs will be portable. Convergence of augmented reality with VR. Hard to determine how the industry will evolve within the next month, but most exciting industry to be a part of. All of the leaders of the consumer VR space are at SVVRCon.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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