This Week in Cinematic VR in Seattle

If you live in Seattle and are interested in cinematic VR, there are two opportunities this week to make your eyeballs pop out of your head.

Tonight, Northwest Film Forum is hosting a class, taught by Daryle Conners, on Storytelling in VR at 12th Avenue Arts Center. It looks like there are still tickets available, and you can register right here. I’m attending, and I plan on posting something about it on this here blog. Here’s what this class is all about, from the description posted on Facebook:

This talk will explore new ways of telling stories in a virtual reality environment. We will discuss VR game stories, VR Film stories, and VR/Immersive Documentaries, focusing on how this emerging tech puts a whole new spin on revealing narrative. VR has been called the “empathy tool”, and it takes the audience away from passive entertainment and puts them in greater control of the narrative than ever before. How does this impact the way that we design and tell stories and what new kinds of story experiences will we see in virtual reality? From classic screenplays to non-linear narratives and 1st person perspective, we’ll look at the trade-offs that come with interactive and immersive experiences, as well as their incredible power to engage.

And if you’re serious about making cinematic VR experiences, you can’t miss the Cinematic VR Challenge held this weekend from the 19th through the 21st. I’ve been talking to the organizers and it sounds like it’ll be a fantastic opportunity to get your hands on some gear and make some VR. I’m told that teams will have access to equipment including Ricoh Thetas and a couple GoPro rigs. Participants will form teams and exchange knowledge in a collaborative environment near Discovery Park.

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Ricoh Thetas

The great thing about intensive events like this is that everybody, in a sense, is a newbie in a medium that’s so new that its conventions have yet to be defined. So if you’re curious about making cinematic VR but are hesitant because you feel like you don’t know enough about it yet, set aside those reservations. Nobody really knows what they’re doing. But after a weekend of immersion, you’ll definitely know more than you did when you started. I plan on dropping by for part of the weekend and can’t wait to see what gets created there.

Speaking of cinematic VR, I blogged awhile ago about creating favorable tax conditions in Washington State for VR content production. If you’re still awake after reading that sentence, let me put it another way. Do you want more jobs for VR content production in the Pacific Northwest?  I’m talking with a number of people invested in VR content production in these parts, and will post more about this important but boring-sounding subject soon. Contact me if you have opinions or insights on this subject.