Traveller's Teacup

helping connect the world's stories

Soundscaping is the new Montage (in Virtual Reality storytelling)


Virtual Reality is all the rage in documentary at the moment and edgey producers are scrambling to work out how to tell stories in this new 360degree immersive medium. In a talk at IDFA Doclab last year, Thomas Wallner gave a clear overview of the technical and artistic challenges we face immersively and how we are rapidly developing a new language to tell our stories…

Thomas begins by giving us a 101 on cinematic language…

VR producers are blazing immersive trails here beyond Einsenstein. Check out the example. In a medium  where the audience is increasingly immersed and interactiving within a virtual landscape, what is the aesthetic language that needs to be developed?

In recent post on MIT’s Open DocLab, some strong clues are emerging how we might do this…

“While experiencing the piece in a virtual reality headset, 360 audio follows the position of the head, always matching the direction of the sound with the position of the sound source in relation to the viewer. The most urgent shortcoming of the technology is the lack of positional tracking. Currently all live-action virtual reality pieces are experienced statically; it is possible to rotate 360 degrees around a single point but if you move forward, you would not move into the film. Following positional tracking are the usual suspects of technology: higher frame rate, higher resolution and higher update rate.”
“Felix & Paul Studios’ contemplative pieces aim to erase the sense of visual manipulation — the main building block of cinema known as “the cut” — and leave the audience with long takes of life, similar to the actualités of the early Lumiere brothers short films. However, successful virtual reality works employ a new editing tool: manipulation of the viewer’s gaze through positional audio.”
[This one is for all those lovely soundies. You know who you are!!]

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