Steven Spielberg Joins Hollywood Virtual Reality Company

Steven Spielberg has joined Virtual Reality (VR) startup The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) as an adviser, UploadVR reports. The Los Angeles based startup, with a super team of Hollywood talent, is in the process of raising about $23 million to leverage the many VR headsets that will begin to appear in early 2016, and bring VR cinema to consumers.

To imagine VR cinema, think of a modern video-game played with a VR headset like the Oculus Rift. The main features – 3D immersion, interactivity and multiple storylines triggered by the player’s action – are still there in VR cinema. The difference is that you don’t slay monsters to level-up your character, but just enjoy the story told by the filmmakers.

What Sets VR Cinema Apart is the Feeling of Being Present

The VR CompanyImagine, then, being in Gone With The Wind instead of watching it on a screen. You can move around with Rhett and Scarlett, pick things up or jump to alternative storylines – for example, one where Scarlett and Rhett have sex and you can watch them up close.

Oculus Story Studio, an Oculus VR in-house production team dedicated to producing virtual reality movies, presented its first VR short movie at Sundance. “Our first short film ‘Lost’ was a chance for us to dive in and work out the challenges of telling a story in VR, everything from using traditional film techniques to scene staging and the many ways to grab the viewer’s attention,” states the Oculus Story Studio website. “What sets VR apart is the feeling of being present. This creates an entirely new set of opportunities and creative constraints.”

In Avatar, James Cameron pioneered the use of VR technology to create content for the flat screen, but the new wave of VR cinema will leap out of the flat screen and surround the viewers with 360 degrees full immersion, so that the viewers will be able to walk on the surface of alien planets like Pandora.

“The potential of virtual reality is truly limitless,” says Robert Stromberg, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of VRC, who won Academy Awards for the production design on Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, and directed Disney’s Maleficent. “The technology keeps shocking me. We launched The VR Company to bring together the world’s greatest storytellers and artists to create amazing experiences for VR.”

I see several incredible concert halls being built, so we’re writing new symphonies.

VRC wants to create the world’s best VR experiences by combining the best in technology, art and storytelling. Spielberg is slated to direct a film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s cult VR novel Ready Player One. Speaking with sources close to Spielberg, UploadVR learned that he is incredibly excited about the future that VR holds for film.

Images from The Virtual Reality Company and Shutterstock.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.