Cinefex: “The Dreamsmiths Unleashed” – VR

Publication Name: Cinefex
Bio: Cinefex is a visual effects publication, and its first issue was released in 1980. Its content is currently geared towards professionals and enthusiasts.
Name of Article: Virtual Reality – “The Dreamsmiths Unleashed”
Date of Article Publication: February 2017
Describe Article: “The Dreamsmiths Unleashed” tackles a lot of the issues that come up now with film and the game industry moving into VR. Specifically, the article talks about 360 degree video technology and the challenges they pose, from stitching to attention grabbing.
Opinion of Article:
I thought the article did a good job getting variety in there, mentioning everything from drama to sports to animation. I think particularly interesting to me was the idea of 3D workflow – for example, Dear Angelica, the animated film, was built in VR using Quill. As it stands, editing something in virtual space (for a 360 video specifically, using a game engine like Unity or Unreal is not that problematic) requires a huge leap for the editors and developers: they have to squash a 360 degree field of view into a 2-dimensional plane, adjust to the distortion effect, and then try to edit. The article asks “What does creativity look like in a 3 dimensional world?” (86). I don’t know. There are also some hard-hitting questions that I also don’t know the answer to, like “should the inhabitants of the imagined world acknowledge the existence of the viewer?” (91). That’s hard, because in VR there is literally no fourth wall. The article also mentions the idea of a script that was not written for VR, which confused me. I hadn’t even thought of the idea that a script would be different from one used for traditional film, but it makes sense that there would need to be a different format for a different medium, but surely that standard can’t already exist, can it? Anyway–one of the last notes made in the article talks about the software in the hands of those in Silicon Valley, but the stories in the hands of those in Los Angeles, and how both sides look enviously to the other because the other has what they don’t. I want to see the software companies that have a creative division–I think Google has the right idea by creating things in house. We’ll see where the future leads though, already this field is so young. It’s just entering its awkward adolescent phase and we’ll see where it ends up!

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