Not to scare anyone, but we may be living in the future. Of course, we haven’t yet cracked the code on time travel, but considering the sudden rise of Virtual Reality technology these past years, we may be only a few generations away from plugging into the Matrix.
The world of VR/360° filmmaking is an uncharted landscape: in this age of experimentation, no one can predict how this new technology will affect our digital media. VR/360° has the potential to succeed in the gaming industry, but it seems that traditional videographers have also thrown their hats in the ring, sparking a rising trend of 360° films.
You may have seen some of these videos trending on social media: as movie trailers, travel commercials, or experimental short films. Since the technology is so new, many of the VR/360° videos out there are pretty terrible. But there are some break-out gems that deserve recognition.
1. Surrounded by Dominoes
Yes, it’s a simple concept, but by God is it satisfying to watch those dominoes fall. Also the audio mixing is so well-done: the sound of the dominoes themselves is very soothing, and if you close your eyes, you can almost hear the audio circling around you.
2. The Pull
Filmmaker Quba Michalski invites you to “Enter a world where the rules that bind us are suddenly disobeyed.” Through a series of experiments, “The Pull” showcases a surreal, zero-gravity experience that is absolutely fascinating to watch. The only downside is that your laptop screen won’t do it justice—find a rich friend willing to let you borrow their VR googles because”The Pull” demands the highest quality viewing experience.
3. Dubai, Here You Are
The tourist industry has fully embraced the rising VR/360° craze. It seems that there’s a 360°-travel video for every country, but Dubai’s stands high above the rest. First of all, this city belongs in the Tron movies. From the vibrant urban landscape, to the awesome stretches of desert, “Dubai, Here You Are” jumps swiftly through a series of incredible destinations, leaving viewers wanting more. Since the video’s release last June, its view-count has skyrocketed, earning it the number one spot on VR Today Magazine’s Top Ten Most Viewed 360 Videos of 2016 list.
4. The Fight for Falluja
Surprisingly, 360°-filmmaking is starting to emerge in the realm of video-journalism. The New York Times especially is producing some incredible projects that take viewers all over the world. With Pulitzer-winning journalist Ben Solomon at the helm, The Fight For Falluja makes history as the first VR experience to be filmed in an active war-zone: a stark, candid depiction of life in a country torn apart by ISIS.
5. Valen’s Reef
Filmmakers of Conversation International are using VR technology to transport viewers to exotic, remote locations, and to inspire them to contribute to preserving the natural beauty of our planet. Dive into the stunning Bird’s Head Seascape of Indonesia: a small but vibrant habitat that hosts more species of fish than the Great Barrier Reef. With indigenous fisherman Ronald Mambrasar, and his son, Valen, as your guides, learn about how this beautiful seascape – and its exotic wildlife – was almost lost forever due to poaching and unregulated overfishing.
Pac-Man in 360°
If you thought regular Pac-Man was stressful, wait until this video plops you right inside the maze itself. With all the twists and turns, it’d be easy to confuse yourself with the 360°-controls, but the video does a great job of orienting you towards the “front” POV, so you’re never lost. It’s fun and nostalgic, but the slow pacing takes away the stress-factor that defines Pac-Man.
Visit the Philippines Again 360°
With these crystal waters, how can anyone resist coming to the tropical paradise we call home? With the 360° camera, every view is a postcard in the making – but maybe we’re biased.