Filmmakers blur lines with virtual reality at Sundance

Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:03am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Piya Sinha-Roy

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Whether putting moviegoers inside the yurt of a Mongolian tribe, in the studio with a musician or in the path of an oncoming train, filmmakers are blurring the lines of reality for viewers at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

This year's conclave of independent films in Park City, Utah, is devoting its New Frontier showcase to virtual reality film with 11 works, the largest such lineup in the festival's three-decade history.

The content is viewed on a wraparound-style headset that projects a 360-degree panorama, giving viewers the feel of being in the action.

But virtual reality films are still a long way from becoming mainstream as the headsets to display them have yet to reach the mass market.

Samsung started offering its Galaxy Gear VR headset last month, which uses its Galaxy Note 4 smartphone to present virtual reality experiences. Google Inc offers the Cardboard VR device to use with smartphones.

The consumer version of pioneering Rift headsets from Facebook Inc-owned Oculus VR, is still in development.

The New Frontier exhibit comes amid a growing interest in the technology in Hollywood as filmmakers and studios experiment with virtual reality. [ID:nL2N0RN0B2]

"Cinema wasn't our focus in the beginning, but now it's becoming a bigger focus, so we need to immediately engage and support," said Brendan Iribe, chief executive of Oculus.   Continued...