Oculus and film: why virtual reality is the new silver screen

Oculus Rift

The cinematic experience has always been one of never-ending evolution. From the days of silent films and the nostalgia of drive-in theaters, to our modern home theaters and explosive 3D superhero extravaganzas, we have always been uniquely drawn to the silver screen.

Now, the expansive world of VR entertainment, pioneered by Oculus, is changing the way we look at films forever. Oculus is utilizing VR to create a film experience unlike any other: one that completely immerses the viewer in the interactive films with its revolutionary technology.

As an unabashed film lover, I always accept new mediums with strong reserve. For me, the classic 2D experience has never been topped, and I vehemently refuse to pay to see a 3D movie.

Oculus Story Studio

However, the thought of being totally engulfed in a story and feeling like I'm with the characters themselves is far too enticing to ignore.

So let's take a look back at what Oculus has managed to accomplish in its revolutionary take on filmmaking, find out how Oculus is pushing the movie-making envelope and take a peek into what the future holds for VR films.

Oculus Story Studio is born

Although it's no secret that Facebook-owned Oculus has an interest in more than just gaming, the company had nothing to show for it until January 2015 when it unveiled its newest creative team, Oculus Story Studio.

At the forefront of a new storytelling experience, Oculus assembled the Story Studio team to prove that VR filmmaking isn't just possible, but deeply engaging.

Oculus Rift

"We knew how to get started with games, but we didn't know how to get started with film, with Hollywood, with cinema," chief executive Brendan Iribe said in January. He went on to say that he wanted the Story Studio team to prove that this revolutionary cinematic experience could actually be "compelling and rich."

Helming the fledgling creative team are Pixar animation veterans Max Planck and Saschka Unseld. With over 16 years of experience at the Disney-owned animation company between the two, they are aiming to bring that signature feel-good nature to Story Studio.

Oculus Rift

"I want you to come out of virtual reality and have a smile," Planck said at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. "Or [experience] something very touching emotionally, just like Pixar films do."

Planck, who typed up Story Studio's announcement blog post, said he left Pixar after 10 years in search of the next evolution in storytelling. He was eventually drawn to join the Story Studio team and helped create its content.

Story Studio is looking to break new ground. In a blog post, Director of Photography Jeff Brown said," storytelling has a new vehicle and we couldn't be more excited about the possibilities," and that the goals for Story Studio remain "to build truly immersive cinematic experiences that were never before possible."