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Immersive Cinema And The Age of Voxelpunk

Sat, 06/07/2014 - 05:14 -- rprice

“The basic elements of editing a film and telling a story on film rely on the frame and cuts. Neither of these exist,” Oscar nominated filmmaker Danfung Dennis told me in another part of the GDC hall. He was there giving sneak peaks of his in-development VR film Zero Point. “As a photographer I’ve always put the story inside of four lines and focused the viewer into a frame. But here when you’re looking at this full 360° the audience can look anywhere.” Zero Point stitches together the feeds of a handful of RED cameras to create a panorama view. One scene is static, with edits coming in the form of slow dissolves from one camera position to the other. Another scene involves a tracking shot through the halls of another game conference, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The tech is early, and the “stitch lines” where the different cameras converge remain prominent. Yet with a little imagination it is possible to see what Zero Point could be. There is a chance here to transport viewers into breathtaking vistas, or drop them into chaotic scenes that unfold all around them. For my money, however, that’s not the most interesting possibility for immersive cinema.