Whether you’re talking about the HTV Vive virtual reality (VR) headset or the Microsoft HoloLens holograph computer, the way we engage in digital content has changed drastically over the past year. VR’s fully immersive experience is ideal for environmental storytelling. The technology is being adopted as an enterprise solution and of course, is poised to revolutionize the gaming industry. Seems like the possibilities are endless and VR’s real-world application is only limited by our imaginations.

Virtual Reality in Filmmaking

One would think the production of a virtual reality blockbuster would be 5-10 years off, but two movies have been recently released – one to rave reviews – using VR technology. For the first time ever, this year’s Oscar nominations include The Google Spotlight Story, Pearl – filmed specifically for the VR viewing audience, headset and all.

Oscar Nominated Animated Short

Nominated in the category for Best Animated Short, Pearl is a story about the bond between father and daughter as “seen through the passenger seat of the car they share,” according to a recent Futurism article. With a passion for music and a soundtrack that is the backdrop for their relationship, VR viewers get to experience the development of two loveable characters on a memorable road trip. Former Oscar winner for the Disney short Feast, Director Patrick Osborne will be part of Hollywood filmmaking history. The Oscar nomination is a clear indication of things to come in the VR industry that appears to have no artistic boundaries.

The Longest VR Film Ever Made

According to a recent Verge article, the Sundance Film Festival has a new film called Miyubi that now has the title of, “longest virtual reality film ever made.” Released by innovative VR firm Felix & Paul, the scripted comedy written by the cast of characters from Funny or Die, puts viewers in the body of a Japanese robot. The 40-minute film takes place in the 80’s and follows a rather dysfunctional family for one year as they try to integrate Miyubi into their lives. Addressing themes ranging from anti-Japanese sentiment and industrial automation, the film stars Jeff Goldblum as Miyubi’s eccentric creator.

Encouraged to wear the VR headset the entire time, audience members are introduced to a fully immersive hidden object game that unlocks a secret scene critical to the storyline. The 360-degree format gives audience members the option to explore 80’s themes woven into the scenes’ background. Whether it’s Battlestar Galactica references or He-Man posters, 80’s pop-culture keeps viewers engaged in the film’s virtual environment for the entire 40-minutes film duration.

See the Early Stages of VR

Miyubi is an example of VR filmmaking at its early stages. With Hollywood investing millions into groundbreaking Light Field equipment, such as the Lytro Cinema Camera, VR seems like the next logical step. In the meantime, enjoy VR in its infancy and go enjoy the newly released Miyubi and Pearl.