I had the honor of once again joining Larry Jordan’s Digital Production Buzz to talk about VR, along with Michael Wohl, Michele Yamazaki, Matthew Celia, Chris Bobotis, and James DeRuvo. This time we discussed how immersive video is challenging the creatives and technicians who are interested in transitioning into VR. One of our exchanges highlighted a topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately, as I will be working on several live action experiences in the new year:
Larry Jordan: Do actors need to learn a different way of acting?
Andy Cochrane: Yes, in terms of live action VR, I think we’re witnessing as dangerous a technological transition as sound. I think there were a lot of silent film stars whose talent did not translate into the talkies when we got sound, and I think we’re at as large a crossroads, if not larger. Because a lot of theatrical and film training really starts to fall apart in this medium, I don’t believe we have any stars of VR yet. I don’t think we have any actors who have really figured out how to work in this medium fully. There’s certainly folks that are doing a good job, but it’s not theater, it’s not film, it’s not TV. The audience feels like they’re there and because of that the writing has to be very natural, very believable, very realistic and the performances need to match that. They need to feel real instead of feeling like they’re a movie star, or feeling like a drama, or a comedy. It has to actually feel like it’s really happening. That’s a skill that I don’t think there’s anybody that has really demonstrated they have that nailed yet.
I think we are a few decades out from truly incredible narrative experiences in VR, due to the technology needing to evolve but also due to our incredibly primitive grasp of how to create in and for this medium. The masters of VR creation have possibly not even been born yet, and I don’t know if we will all be alive by the time they are creating their masterpieces. I certainly hope so, and I plan on working as hard as possible to get through these early days so we can get there sooner by helping creatives or technicians who are interested in transitioning into VR!