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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 19, @04:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the immersive-aliens-would-be-a-nightmare-made-real dept.

VR is about to get a creative filmmaker's touch.

Ridley Scott's RSA Films production company is launching a new imprint "dedicated exclusively to the creative development and production of VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and mixed media." It's called RSA VR.

RSA VR's first project is a VR Experience for "Alien: Covenant," in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and Technicolour.

"We have been heavily involved in VR for the past few years, and having a dedicated stand-alone division underscores our commitment to immersive media in both the brand and entertainment space," RSA Films' president Jules Daly said.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @04:25PM (22 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @04:25PM (#496394)

    ... giving people an experience that they cannot have anywhere else.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @04:40PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @04:40PM (#496407)

      A VR headset is the same anywhere. It could emulate the experience of being in a theater if it had sufficient resolution. In fact, it would be really easy since it would need a high res panel but not necessarily high framerate. 24 fps is still industry standard. Most movie theaters seem to be projecting 4K but it is far away enough from your face that a 4K or less headset should be able to replicate the quality.

      There are the social aspects of going to the theater. These could be emulated by networking. You could still hear people being loud and obnoxious at the movie.

      Want smellovision? Make some popcorn on the stove. Want sticky seats? Wipe some lube on your bum.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @04:56PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @04:56PM (#496419)

        Sticky is not the result you want.

        • (Score: 2) by jcross on Wednesday April 19, @05:19PM

          by jcross (4009) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 19, @05:19PM (#496428)

          Most water-based lubes will get sticky once they dry out. Assuming the lube is applied on the outside of absorbent clothing of some kind, I think you'd get a sticky effect pretty quick. Something more sugary might be a better simulation of spilled coke though, which is always what I *hope* movie theater stickiness comes from.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Wednesday April 19, @07:47PM (17 children)

      by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday April 19, @07:47PM (#496507)

      That's what the Theater has always been about ... giving people an experience they cannot have anywhere else.

      Why do theaters need VR then?

      Theaters already give me an experience I cannot have at home with my 60 inch TV:

      * crying babies
      * people narrating the movie
      * people giving spoilers
      * people using cell phones
      * being unable to pause the movie to visit the restroom, or use the phone, even to look up some fact about the movie
      * being unable to back up to see if they really said what I think I just heard them say
      * overpriced popcorn and candy
      * overpriced tickets
      * a gazillion commercials before the movie starts
      * a zillion unskippable previews of other movies that I might want to watch at home

      So they already give me an experience I can't have at home. Why would they need VR?

      In fact I might add VR along with 3D as one of the drawbacks of a theater compared to staying at home.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @07:55PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @07:55PM (#496512)

        Try again.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday April 19, @08:44PM

          by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday April 19, @08:44PM (#496537)

          Okay, 2nd try: VR like 3D is not going to draw some people to theaters given (A) the costs and drawbacks of theaters, and (B) the convenience of watching a big screen at home. 3D does not add to the actual story telling experience. I am doubtful that VR does either.

          If I stay home, I can be vigilant of whether my lawn might be affected by young people's feet.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 19, @09:19PM (2 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 19, @09:19PM (#496560)

          Wrong, I can't get most of those at home.

          * crying babies
          I don't have any babies, and the adoption process is extremely difficult and expensive from what I hear.

          * people narrating the movie, giving spoilers, using cell phones
          I don't have any friends who would do this. They seem to think it's rude for some reason.

          * being unable to pause, back up, look up facts...
          I could simply not do these things, true, but in a theater I'm actively prevented from doing them so it doesn't rely on my discipline.

          * overprices candy, popcorn, tickets
          I could simply burn some extra cash, but that's not quite the same as having to fork over a lot of money for these things at the concession stand.

          * a gazillion commercials before the movie starts
          I don't have actual over-the-air TV, so I don't have an easy way of replicating this. And even if I did, usually commercial segments on live TV only last a few minutes before it goes back to regular programming. I don't know how to replicate 15-30 minutes of straight commercials without going to a lot of trouble.

          * a zillion unskippable previews
          Here again, I could simply avoid hitting the "next track" button, but that requires discipline on my part. In a theater, it's simply impossible for me to skip these things.

          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday April 20, @02:41PM (1 child)

            by DannyB (5839) on Thursday April 20, @02:41PM (#496866)

            I think I was saying that I don't get those experiences, crying babies, etc at home. But I do get those experiences at the theater. VR, like 3D, like Crying Babies, are things at the theater that I don't have to suffer with at home.

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday April 20, @04:28PM

              by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 20, @04:28PM (#496919)

              Yeah, I understand that. These are wonderful experiences you're missing out on by not going to theaters!

              Don't you want to hear crying babies during a movie? Don't you want to hear young children making noise during R-rated movies that aren't appropriate for them? Don't you want to hear talking about the movie, or even talking *to* the movie? Don't you want to risk getting shot by angry movie-goers? You might not have these enriching experiences available to you in your cold, sterile home theater, so you should visit a real cinema so enjoy this rich culture.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 19, @09:02PM (6 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 19, @09:02PM (#496548)

        I have some more important and valuable features that you're missing out on by staying at home with your silly 60" TV instead of visiting a theater like you should:

        * not being able to make your own food (like dinner) or drinks, and only being limited to what the theater offers (at extremely high prices).
        * having seats with fixed armrests, and not having any kind of couch or sectional lounge, which means you're unable to snuggle with your girlfriend while you watch the movie
        * not being allowed to bring your pets, so you can't snuggle with your cat either
        * not having to drive many miles to see the movie, possible in inclement weather
        * not being able to easily turn on subtitles, in case you have trouble understanding the actors or if they have accents
        * not having toddlers and other under-10 children in R-rated movies inappropriate for them, and them talking or asking questions and making noise during the movie
        * not having ideal, centered seating, and being forced to sit way off to the side because of crowding, or worse, being forced to sit separately from your partner
        * sticky floors
        * the thrill of risking getting shot by an angry patron [cnn.com], or getting hit by a stray bullet from such an altercation

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday April 19, @09:59PM (1 child)

          by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday April 19, @09:59PM (#496578)

          Let's not forget stray bullets from MPAA agents.

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday April 20, @02:07AM

            by kaszz (4211) on Thursday April 20, @02:07AM (#496659) Journal

            Mr Anderson, we told you to not remember the movie. Your memory contains a illegal copy and we are the cure that will help you remove it so you can enjoy another ticket transaction. ;)

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @01:25AM (3 children)

          by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @01:25AM (#497165) Journal

          * not being able to make your own food (like dinner) or drinks, and only being limited to what the theater offers (at extremely high prices).

          That is something I wonder. Why can't they offer some decent food options that taste decent with a nutrition value and that isn't stacked with sugar and chemical garbage.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday April 21, @04:58PM (2 children)

            by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @04:58PM (#497491)

            Because that costs money and is hard to do. You have to have a kitchen, hire a competent chef and cooks, etc. A popcorn machine is mostly automatic and can easily be operated by idiot teenagers. Most theaters aren't going to get a decent return on this investment. Finally, where are people going to eat the food? There's not much space in a theater for food; there's no trays or anything, so only snacks and drinks are easy to handle without making a complete mess.

            They do have "dinner theaters" that do exactly what you say. But ticket prices are higher, and the seats are much more spread out (so you can't pack as many people in the room) and there's tables. But again, the prices are significantly higher, so that keeps out a lot of people.

            • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday April 21, @05:16PM (1 child)

              by kaszz (4211) on Friday April 21, @05:16PM (#497496) Journal

              They could just have some bread with decent topping or sushi. No kitchen, chef or cook. Even plain supermarkets have it. And one can eat it with hands if need to be.

              • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday April 21, @07:52PM

                by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @07:52PM (#497558)

                Spoiled sushi is a great way to get really, really sick.

                I wouldn't trust the teenagers working at a theater to not serve spoiled sushi.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday April 20, @12:50AM (2 children)

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 20, @12:50AM (#496622) Journal

        But movie theaters have overstuffed reclining chairs now. Match that at home, I think you can't.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday April 20, @06:53PM (1 child)

          by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 20, @06:53PM (#497001) Journal

          But movie theaters have overstuffed reclining chairs now. Match that at home, I think you can't.

          I've got that beat easily! Couple weeks ago the girlfriend and I decided to drag my bedroom mattress in front of the projector. I've got a futon in there already, so we pulled the mattress from that to use as a massive pillow. Food, drinks, had a smoke, laid down, and watched ...something...hell if I remember what though! ;)

          But yeah, why would I go to a theater when I can lay in bed and watch the thing on a 100" screen that's two feet above my toes? At that distance it might as well be a friggin' IMAX...

          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday April 21, @12:21AM

            by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 21, @12:21AM (#497135) Journal

            Because at home you miss out on reserving your seat, showing up to the showing 30 minutes late, and kicking out the dweebs who assumed you weren't coming and moved into your prime location. Obviously.

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday April 20, @10:40AM (1 child)

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 20, @10:40AM (#496787) Journal

        You seem to confuse theaters with cinemas.

        Theaters are where real people are acting live in front of you.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday April 20, @02:43PM

          by DannyB (5839) on Thursday April 20, @02:43PM (#496867)

          I would say the signs on the movie theaters are confused then. Even when I google local listings, the sites definitely have the word theater multiple times on the page.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by kaszz on Thursday April 20, @03:28AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Thursday April 20, @03:28AM (#496674) Journal

      Surely the experience is different. However given new circumstances it's beginning to tip in favor of the home because..

        * Cry baby free
        * Narrator free
        * Spoiler free
        * No cell phone addicts
        * Can pause and visit the restroom in a orderly fashion
        * Able to go back and see what was said or happened
        * Good and healthy food + candy, and that at a good price
        * Priced at whatever it takes to get the movie bits
        * Spam free movie start
        * Free of distraction spam for movies that only feeds urges not balance
        * Seating that are comfortable
        * Furniture without Andromeda stains
        * Able to snuggle with love/sex partner
        * Have pets with you
        * No weather
        * Control over subtitles
        * No toddler and children talking, asking or noises
        * Choose your own seating
        * Clean floors
        * Getting killed [cnn.com] while texting *before* the movie.
        * Just getting shot [wikipedia.org] because mentally ill persons can get in using the unlocked doors
        * Able to use the movie screen for whatever your computer can download
        * Dealing with rude behavior next to you without being able to boot them

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by theluggage on Wednesday April 19, @04:37PM (3 children)

    by theluggage (1797) on Wednesday April 19, @04:37PM (#496403)

    "Hey, the best bit was where the replicant saved Deckard's life then gave this really deep monologue about what he'd seen and how it would all just disappear... and then just like, died and let this pigeon fly away..."

    "What? When did that happen? I went back to check on Pris to... well, er... she might not have been dead... damn!"

    • (Score: 2) by Zinho on Wednesday April 19, @07:00PM (2 children)

      by Zinho (759) on Wednesday April 19, @07:00PM (#496489)

      You might be joking, but I think you made a really insightful comment there. Film directors have a lot of emotion invested in ensuring that they fully control the viewing experience. Allowing the viewer to change perspective or even (gasp!) alter the framing of the scene takes a lot of control away from the film director and removes a whole bunch of cinematic tools from the director's kit.

      Incidentally, I think this is part of the reason that film critics are so vocal about insisting that video games aren't art - giving up control of the camera to the viewer is so foreign to them that they don't recognize it for what it is. Conversely, game authors who rely on cinematic cutscenes to tell the story are doing their craft a disservice, leaning on film-industry conventions rather than using the strengths of the interactive format to tell the story within the game itself.

      I'm curious to see where Ridley Scott takes this. From the article it seems the target isn't movie theaters, but rather home use (I know I wouldn't want to be wandering around in public with a VR rig on my face, reacting to virtual aliens...). If it's well received as immersive cinema that would bode well for acceptance as "art" of other forms of computer-based interactive fiction.

      --
      "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @07:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @07:38PM (#496505)

        Just go to New York and join one of the shows. Sure, you can follow some predefined path, but often you find yourself on your own little adventure—and that makes it your adventure—you'll want to go back and try another aspect of the story, and lets face it: More than art, return customers are what get directors out of bed in the morning (or give them a bed to sleep in, at all).

      • (Score: 2) by theluggage on Wednesday April 19, @09:41PM

        by theluggage (1797) on Wednesday April 19, @09:41PM (#496569)

        You might be joking, but I think you made a really insightful comment there.

        Since when have those two things been incompatible?

        It's not exactly a new idea - back in the 1990s and the first VR craze, Ben Elton (in This Other Eden I think) wrote something along the lines of "The ancient Greeks could have had interactive entertainment if they'd wanted to - all they had to do was hop up on stage and join in- but they were clever bastards and realised that it would fuck up the story"... Even before that, I give you the cringeworthy interactive video scene in Fahrenheit 451.

        The question tech enthusiasts never ask is "what stopped this idea catching on when it was last trending 10/20/30 years ago?" - the assumption is always that (basically) more pixels will fix it. However, look at cinema - the early movies were horribly primitive, flickery, black and white, silent, filmed with a fixed camera etc. but they became popular anyway. Ditto early computer games. I suspect that if VR had something magical to offer, we'd all have bought bulky headsets in the 90s (free packet of anti-nausea pills with every pair) and put up with the blocky graphics...

        Still, if Ridley Scott knows how to do one thing, its how to put beautiful pictures on the screen... Maybe just wandering around Blade Runner's cityscape or exploring Acidalia Planitia would be entertaining enough. Not sure I want to experience Alien in virtual reality, though... but there you have a movie that generated its scares by not letting you get a close look at the monster...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @08:04PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, @08:04PM (#496516)

    Wants to use VR to hide this fact and upsell to the impressionable. Makes perfect sense to me.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday April 19, @08:47PM

      by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday April 19, @08:47PM (#496539)

      Hey, it worked with special effects movies that have no discernible plot.

  • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Wednesday April 19, @08:07PM (2 children)

    by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday April 19, @08:07PM (#496519) Journal

    Now Hollywood can put out the same crap over again in VR ? 3D failed miserably, not because the tech did not work but because the brain dead idiots that make movies lack creativity and are so fsck'n greedy they won't spend a dime on making new material but just reboot/reinvision the same old shit again and again in whatever new format arrives. The real market for VR I feel is going to be sports. When I can watch the play/replay from whatever angle or view point on the field or in the stands I will be a happy camper.

    --
    For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
    • (Score: 2) by blackhawk on Wednesday April 19, @08:41PM (1 child)

      by blackhawk (5275) on Wednesday April 19, @08:41PM (#496535)

      You won't be getting this VR dream with live sports. That's only possible with games, where every element of the scene is rendered and can be re-rendered from a different view point.

      Live sports will have to be filmed using new VR cameras, then stiched together into a spherical projection, then streamed to your house. Those 360 degree stereo videos take up an immense amount of bandwidth, so it's unlikely that anyone not un fibre optic cable will be able to enjoy more than one or two of them at a time.

      Your viewing angle will be from one of a couple of fixed positions, none of which will be on the field, because then the contestants would run into the cameras. You'll be viewing from the sidelines, as usual, or maybe a skybox. I'd expect you could get some decent view positions, but don't expect it to be truly immersive. You'll be able to rotate and tilt your head and move a little forward and back, but only limited amounts.

      The headsets will really need to be 4k or better before this becomes a value proposition, because current gen hardware just looks too fuzzy / ill defined, and has visible screen door effects.

      That said, I do think sports will be one of the main forms of media that push VR forward. That, and attending concerts "live", and hopefully having room scale VR concerts with you smack centre in the stage, and the musicians all around you. Small, intimate style shows, like the MTV Unplugged series.

      • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Thursday April 20, @12:30AM

        by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Thursday April 20, @12:30AM (#496617) Journal

        They can plant 20 or so cameras in every PRO sports venue, in addition to those brought to bear with whatever network comes to town to broad cast the game. I could have a device that receives my cable/internet 'TV' broadcast with 16 GB of storage and I have fiber to my house. I realize you are correct because it would cost the leagues and the broadcasters money but the tech is there do a broadcast like that now without the VR or 4K. I think we'll see concerts like you say sooner than any other form but expecting the networks or any corporation to spend money prior to guaranteeing the return profit is too much to expect.

        --
        For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
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