The Next Frontier of Cinema
Lovely Mess Production's team of filmmakers, artists, and dreamers don't just make film, they study it. With a great new medium comes great responsibility. Responsibility to research, learn, and experiment to better understand what makes VR cinema unique, powerful, and outstanding. Like photography to the moving image and the silent film to the talkie, new rules and horizons emerge and it's high time we explore it all.
Story over content
VR cinema has found a niche in the thriller and documentary genre, naturally fitting to the ideals of the medium itself. The musical found it's home in talking pictures in it's time, however the rest of the genres eventually did too, mining the silver screen for all it's worth.
Virtual Reality allows the viewer to lean-in and feel the story. This makes for a natural home for documentary and immersion into worlds and people outside their own culture. With thriller, the audience is kept on the edge of their seats and thrown head-first into the fear and suspense that 360 provides.
However, there seems to be a deeply severe lack of original and compelling fictional content coming out of VR these days. With all the new high resolution cameras and sound, you would think story would follow. What we've seen more than anything are great 2D stories being told in VR cinema as a filler. These stories could easily be shown on a flat screen in a theater with little to no difference in the consumption experience. What makes a VR story a VR story, is it's uniqueness to the medium and the audience reaction it achieves within the medium.
That's why at LMP we're striving to write for VR from the very beginning. From our research to the development floor, we're crafting stories that shine and exemplify all that virtual reality has to offer. Virtual reality will be the next chapter in our film history text books.
The character of VR
We've come across the notion that the camera means much more to the story and to the experience than ever before in this new medium. It's not simply a lens for which the audience sees through anymore, but it's essential a character, it's you.
This allows us to lean-in and be inherently present in the moments that writers and filmmakers create, like never before. And as such, the audience should be acknowledged through the film development process. Some films have taken this literally in making the camera a character while some have used it as the silent eye, the now omniscient power placed in the hands of the audience, allowing them to look anywhere in a scene. Crafting a frame and crafting a character is something that's still being explored for this medium and the rules still being written, and broken.
Just like every symbol or metaphor a color or shot has for a cinema, the character and camera have deeper meanign as well in VR. Placing your audience is a very deliberate and expressive thing. While it's easy to place the VR camera in the center of the room to allow an audience to take it all in, we're beginning to see the industry experiment with frames and walls. Characters and audiences are literally being backed into a corner. While it's important to use all 360 degrees for story in VR, it's equally important to keep the audience looking ahead and moving forward, giving them a purpose while letting them experience a story.
Connecting to the characters may be the biggest key to VR we've seen. While TV and serial media currently have a hold on character connection for the visual mediums, VR can take a nod from it's predecessor and begin to connect an audience to characters and story like never before. At LMP we're looking to create characters who's name you remember and a story you deeply care to see through to the end. We want it to feel like you're story and you're responsibility when you're truly connected to these characters.