THE VIRTUAL REALITY REVOLUTION

Imagine that suddenly you open your eyes and you are in the middle of the desert of Sonora (Mexico) trying to cross the border while the sun comes up. That was the proposal, in VR format, that was presented by the Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu at the Cannes Film Festival.

‘Meat and Sand’ is a six-minute experience that gets the viewer to believe that he is actually in that scenario, flying in a helicopter while trying to cross the border.

The Virtual Reality has burst in the last years in all the screens and supports. But what seemed, a priori, only a technological advance, begins to consecrate itself and to grow as a new form of audiovisual narrative that brings new characteristics to the already traditional ones.

"Every technical revolution also entails a transformation in the way of seeing"

Virtual reality is a new way of using digital technology to create environments that give a feeling of being real to the viewer who no longer just watch things, now they live them.

This new universe is a challenge for all those dedicated to create audiovisual narratives. Rules change and influence new features that have to do with the viewer, time, content and narrative tools.

The position of the spectator, who stops being a mere observer to become the true protagonist of events. This generates an empathy that characterizes the RV since you do not see something but live it.

Time also changes. We immerse the viewer in the environment and he must recognize it and become familiar with it, which will lead to longer scenes.

In terms of content, we must create actions that seem as real as possible, and get the attention of the viewer to the plot we create, if there are too many narrative lines can be wasted important information in history.

REAL ACTIONS = STRONGEST LIVING FEELING

Finally the most significant of virtual reality is the disappearance of some traditional narrative tools. Usually tools such as close-ups, panes, zoom or just a certain type of frame are used to indicate a specific sensation and transmit it to the viewer.

In the case of VR, the use of these techniques can lead to negative consequences, since it can break the sensation of presence. We can not choose a certain  frame because the viewer has complete freedom to move through the created environment, it is not something previously decided.

Instead we have other ways to achieve these same effects; for example, the closeness that exists between us and the other characters is decisive, since it has the capacity to create sensations in the viewer so, when in Henry, the hedgehog looks us in the eye, we can experience the feeling that transmits his gaze.

Caring for camera movements, and the rhythm of action are key points in this new narrative. We should not move the camera abruptly because the viewer may become dizzy. All the narrative load falls on the characters, and on the viewer as a character who interacts with others and who decides that it is important and that not from their actions, even those things that do not have an echo in the future of history .

DIFFERENT DISTANCES = DIFFERENT EMOTIONS

Virtual reality is in a period of growth  between interaction and storytelling and it appears as a new way of making art, of which we still have much potential to discover. What is sure is that this new technology is a new way of seeing the world, and therefore changes the way of life of today’s societies.

At present there are already several studies that are dedicated to short films of VR, some like Oculus or Within already have recognition and some prestige, for some of his works, and we not only find examples of fiction but that the RV will serve for other areas such as education, for example in an anatomy class, students will be able to travel through the human body in VR and will not have to study it only theoretically, but will live it.

This new universe must mature and develop its own techniques and narrative tools.

In a close future this new technique  will become for the cinema, what was the cinema for the theater, breaking with the established rules and creating a new board of posibilites always focusing on making living and feeling new real experiences to the viewer.