Oculus VR executives have for a long time now spoken about the potential for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to impact non-gaming industries such as film. But now the Facebook-owned company is going further, this week announcing the formation of an internal unit that will make VR movies.
Oculus Story Studio is the name of the company's newest division. And while it may only just be getting off the ground, its leaders have high hopes. Oculus Story Studio guest director, Rom Stromberg (Maleficent) says about VR in general in the video above: "This is going to change everything."
A collection of artists, creators, and technicians, Oculus Story Studio is a fledgling group formed under the grand ambition to push story-telling forward. The group sees VR as the next era of filmmaking. First there was moving pictures, then sound, color, CGI, and 3D. Next is VR, according to the company.
VR movies, at their best, will allow viewers to connect and interact with characters in a way not possible with traditional movies. There are a number of hurdles to overcome, its developers freely admit, such as lighting, music, and actor performance, but the company is aiming high.
"Our goal is to make art and to show people that virtual reality is an art form," producer Edward Saatchi says.
Oculus Story Studio plans to release five movies this year and each aims to help the studio explore and learn something different about VR. The movies, and their creative ambitions are: Lost (magic and wonder), Kabloom (humor), Bullfighter (sense of presence), and Dear Angelica (what would it feel like to be inside an illustration?). Some of these movies were shown during the Sundance Film Festival this week in Utah.
Oculus VR co-founder Nate Mitchell adds that, with the recent advancements made to VR over the past few years, the technology is growing beyond just gaming.
"When we started Oculus, we really thought that the major focus for VR was going to be games," he said. "Now that the Rift is sort of maturing as a technology, and really virtual reality as a whole, the potential is really there to take people to these virtual worlds."
Oculus Story Studio creative director Saschka Unseld (Toy Story 3) added: "I think there are going to be stories that touch you in a very different way than normal films do. And that's the ultimate goal of a lot of stories--is to enhance people's lives."
For more on Oculus Story Studio, be sure to read GameSpot sister site CNET's full coverage.
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