Movies inside of virtual reality is growing to be one of the biggest parts of the VR industry. With YouTube dedicating an entire part of their website to 360° video, major movies getting a VR short film, and Disney short films making splashes, the future of movies inside of virtual reality is bright. This is going to be step up from a movie theater, and watching movies will never be the same, thanks to this new VR technology. This is the future of VR.
In this guide to virtual movies, we are going to cover a series of things. We have a list of what we are going to cover, but if you are interested in VR movies in any capacity, we suggest you take the entire guide in.
- A comprehensive list of the best movies for VR
- The best short films for VR (spoiler: most are from Disney)
- How the movies are made
- The way the short films are made
- How to create a VR film
- What movies are expected to make their debut soon
We are going to cover everything you need to know about the movies and films inside of VR. Movies and films inside of a headset have the potential to be much better than previous movies, much because of the immersive feel that is given. The fact that these shows are 360° means that each time you watch it, you are going to be noticing something new. Although you are going to be pushed to look at certain parts of the film, what you see is entirely up to you.
What Is The Difference Between VR Movies and VR Short Films?
In short, the difference is one is filmed in 360° and one is made in 3D space. That might seems the same, or confusing, but we have answers for you. A 360° film is something that is made 2D and has the ability to wrap around you. This means that although it is surrounding you, you are not going to be able to see depth as you regularly do inside of your headset. This is still very immersive and fun to watch, but is not nearly the same as the 3D films.
3D films are much more inclusive and immersive. You are going to be to able to interact with this type of film, and you are going to experience true depth inside of your headset. Not only is this better to experience all around, but you are going to be in there 360° as well. These films are primarily made inside of the headset, but sometimes built with computing software. We will get into that later when discussing how they are made.
The main difference between the two films are how they are made. If are looking for a quick way to tell the difference inside of the headset, see if you can see true depth. If you cant, chances are the movie was filmed for the purpose of 360° and not for full 3D immersion.
The Best Movies In VR
In this list we are going to be listing anything that the creators considered a “movie.” Some of these shows are going to be shorter than some of the “short films” but we are strictly categorizing this on what the developers and directors call it. Let’s dive into it!
We are going to start this list with the most impressive VR movie up to date. So good that Oculus has it in their official store. From Nothing uses the Vr designing process and spatial audio to make a movie that is hard to forget. The graphic design is something that won’t be trumped by anyone in the near future. This movie explores the endless scenes of what VR is and how you can manipulate it inside of the virtual worlds. This is a perfect intro to VR movies for anyone with a headset.
If you love horror films, this one is sure to leave you with goosebumps. Made in celebration of Stephen King’s famous movie, It: Float brings your to Pennywise’s home. Here you will be fed shocking details about the way he lives and what he does in his spare time. This isn’t for the kids, but it is for those who won’t be scared off easily. If you want a good introductory to horror films and VR movies, this is the one for you.
The kids should be able to enjoy a good VR film as much as any adult, right? Invasion is colorful Emmy award-winning film that is sure to tug at the heartstrings of adults and children alike. Two alien kids are placed on this earth with ambition and dreams, but when they make it big, they are greeted by two cuddly bunnies. If you want to introduce your children audience to the powers of immersive videos, this is the place to start.
Walking New York
This movie is more of a tourism attraction than anything else. Although there is a narrator and a slim storyline, the biggest attraction of this film is going to be the sight seeing you will be participating in. You will have the opportunity to fly over the city in a helicopter, walk the streets, and see the view from a taxi. Although there are google experiences just like this, you are going to want to watch the movie if you can. It’s the difference between a guided tour and a museum that you get lost in. Its definitely worth it.
This is is a short film that is just under 2 minutes. Although it is in 360° and not 3D, this is still a fun look into the Jungle Book world via VR headset. You will not be able to interact with with the world, although you will sure want to when the snake starts to get in your personal space. If it makes you uncomfortable, that is fine, the Jungle Book experience is very short and slim in storyline.
The Best VR Short Films
Marshall From Detroit
If you read this title and get excited, you already know what this is about. If you are confused, we have the answer. This story is going to allow you to see The Motor City through Eminem’s eyes. In this 21 minute film, you are going to experience everything in Detroit as Eminem did, and have a chance to be him. You will be in a car with Sway Calloway as he asks you about your time in the city, what his trials and triumphs were, and much more. If you have a slight interest in VR films or Eminem and his life, you need to check this out inside of the Oculus Store as soon as possible.
Traveling While Black
Amid the chaos in the world right now, it is very fitting that this VR film is thriving more than ever. Inspired from The Green Book, this movie explores the troubles and discrimination while African Americans are traveling. This film focuses on and is located in the time of America where segregation was at its peak. Throughout the 20 minute film you will notice the subtle modern hints at segregation and how little things have changed. Check this film out if you are curious or interested in the way this film educates.
Kids, this one is for you. The VR short film of this long and prosperous movie is nothing short of spectacular. You are transformed into the land of the dead and you are able to meet, greet, and interact with some of the movies most famous characters. You are able to dress up, play music, and speak with the characters after the show is done. If your audience is younger, this is the film for you.
To continue with Disney’s trend of making fantastic shows, we go to Cycles. Although this short film is only available at festivals as of now, it should be ready for home viewing at the end of the month. This film goes through an entire generation and is sure to leave you a little shaken with your emotions. Keep your eyes pealed for this on the Oculus and Steam stores. Disney is very inclusive of all platforms, so this will be available for all VR users.
How The VR Movies Are Made
As we mentioned at the start of this guide, VR movies and films are made completely differently. We know that VR films are the future of mobile VR, smartphone VR, and regular headset VR, but 360° video has its place too. With the YouTube VR app you are able to access a wide array of filmmakers work. Inside of the app, you can go to the VR page and see everything that has been registered there. All of the videos there are made nearly the same way. Here is how filmmakers are giving you your movie experience.
Using a 360° camera is imperative. If you aren’t using this setup for your movie, you likely have multiple cameras going at once on the same mount. If you are going something live, the 360° camera is going to be the engine of what you’re making. Once you have the video off of your camera, the rest of the steps for these filmmakers are pretty simple. Once you edit and have it ready for your liking, and maybe adding some extra sound effects and CGI, you are ready to upload to your preferred source.
When using the YouTube app, you are going to notice that unless made by a VR company, the videos inside of the app aren’t 3D immersive. Just a fun 360° view of the typical video you watch. The steps to creating a 360° video aren’t nearly as thorough as the 3D VR process. With that being said, full range videos and movies are fun to watch while inside of your headset. Watching these types of movies on a desktop or screen aren’t nearly the same. The field of view is diminished and you aren’t nearly as immersed. This is a fun way to be movie watching, but is still far from the best way to watch a movie.
How The Short Films Are Made
The technology that is used to create these immersive 3D reality VR films is much different than the 360° video making. Your favorite movies aren’t going to come from this, but creative cinema is easily produced when using VR as your platform to create. By using the degrees of freedom that are given to you, the headset is a perfect way to create. There are plenty of different ways to create a film in a real 3D space, and we are going to cover those below.
Adobe After Effects
The name can be a bit misleading, but Adobe After Effects is a place where you can create and make full 3D scenes. After Effect is a very powerful app and it is often overlooked by the common designer. The classic 3D renderer is where you are going to go to find all fo your options to make your virtual scene. Inside of this section of this app, you are also going to be able to change 2d scenes to 3D scenes. With this capability, you can change a cartoon to a virtual space and are. Although it would take a lot of work, you could also change your 360° animated video to a 3D version.
Adobe has worked hard to create something that is logical for digital designers to do, but it is somewhat exclusive. Aside from the $120 price point, you are going to have to be pretty advanced to use this software on your own. You can learn through tutorials and demonstrations, but that still doesn’t mean you will be able harness the full powers of this 3D movie-making app.
If you are looking for a full version of a paid app to harness the powers of 3D film making, this is a good place to start. Although you need to be invested in what you’re doing, this is going to be one of the best ways for you to learn the true powers of virtual reality movies and film making. If you’re looking to purchase Adobe Lightroom, you can expect a new launch of the application every year, and it requires no VR hardware for this version of VR production.
Quill from Oculus
Before we get into the how of Quill, let’s start with the why. Quill is one of the VR applications you can get on your Oculus headset (optimized for the Oculus Rift and Rift S), and we should be wanting this app on any VR device for filmmaking. Because Quill is made by Oculus and not a third-party developer, everything that is done inside of the video app is optimized for the headset itself. You are not going to find any functions that are not native to the headset. Everything will feel natural and just like home while using this app. You will not need to be an expert, as the tutorials in this app are thorough and precise.
More on the why side, Oculus makes the easiest headsets to you. Out of all of the VR systems out there, our staff at VRGear believe the ease of the Oculus headsets are second to none. You mix the ease of the headset in with the ease of having the parent company the developers of this filmmaking app, you have yourself a painless process. Every Oculus device can download this free software, and all of your work will move from headset to headset as long as you are signed in with the same Oculus or Facebook account. If you are still unsure on why you need to use Quill from Oculus, check out our developer notes from their latest update. Now, let’s dive into the way you are going to use this 3D designing software.
Quill is your one-stop software program for making, editing, and designing 3D pictures, scenes, and films. If there is anything you want to do for a 3D film, the latest 2.0 includes everything you will need. Before the latest update (available in Early Access), you were only able to design and create your films. Your VR systems would then have to export (or import) your work and use another software to finish (or start) your process. This was tedious and took some time, especially when working with the Quest. The processor isn’t nearly the same as a PC, therefor export and import times were drastically diminished.
Now if you download the Early Access version of this app, which is also free and publicly available, you are not going to leave the app once to finish your project entirely. Strap your headset on and go to work. It is that simple. You are going to be able to interact with your 3D project in a plethora of ways, and all of them are going to feel natural as ever.
If you’re looking for some of the key features of your new Quill app, we will go over those below. This is going to cover most of the how.
How To Make Films Inside of Your Headset
As we mentioned, the best way to create VR cinema inside of your headset is with the Quill app from Oculus. The recent 2.0 update gives you everything you need for making a film all in one place.
First things first when you start the app, you are going to want to start drawing and designing your first scene. This can be done with a pen or pencil while in a 3D space. If designing with the quest, having a big play area is going to change your experience. Instead of having to move with your controllers, you will be able to simply walk around and design. This is going to take some time, but it will be the skeleton and framework of your film. You need to take your time with this and make sure it is exactly how you want it to be.
After this is done, you can do anything you please to do. If you’re looking for a more retro, unfinished look, you can start creating animations for your objects right then. Even if you want to add color and a full environment, adding animations will give you a good framework, at least for the first scene. One this is done, you are going to get to more fun parts of your film.
Painting inside of VR is one of the best experiences you can have. If you haven’t yet, all VR users need to check out the immersive Google Tilt Brush app. Quill is a slightly more basic version of that when it comes to painting your objects in VR. Quill will allow you to paint and design your objects however you please. This app doesn’t get 5 stars for no reason. Choose from a number of different finishes, strokes, colors, and even textures while designing your characters, objects, and environments inside of your VR film.
One of the best new features from the update is the ability to start reactions with movement and stops. This trigger feature was something that you could feel was missing inside of the software, and it was addressed in a major way. Now you can trigger animations with others, and it is pretty simple to do. Before this was available, to have multiple animations going and stopping at the same time, you would need to create multiple layers of animations all in the same scene. This can be tedious and a bit confusing at times. Although this doesn’t take the layer feature away, this is a nice alternative if you are working on something bit more simple.
If you want a chicken to cross the road when the ice cream truck stops at the traffic light, you are going to use the new trigger animation. It will be simple and easy to use, and most importantly, something fun to see when your audience is going to watch videos you created. The visual experience that you and and your viewers are going to get from this new simple feature are unparalleled. Watching a movie will not compare to the VR films you can create, especially when using Oculus’ Quill.
Audio For Your VR Film
Creating VR spaces is tricky enough, and then you throw spatial audio in there, and it can become overwhelming and messy very quickly. If you are using Quill or Adobe Lightroom, you are going to save yourself a lot of stress. We’ll first start with Quill and their new new ability to help you create with spatial audio while making your VR film.
If you’re still running with the first version of this app, we will start with you. Pointing sounds at certain areas of your film is not a capability, but positional placing of sounds is. For instance, if you are wanting birds to be chirping from a tree, you can travel to the top of the tree and place the birds where you want them to be making they chirps. Although this will leave the are in a stereo noise, you can still experience positional sounds with the first version.
This adds a level of immersion while viewing in the headset, especially if your headsets speakers are good. Of course you want your VR film to be as real as possible, and making positional audio is going to be an important priority. If you’re wanting to take your films audio to the next level, you need to download the 2.0 version of Quill. Here you are going to be able to point your sounds in certain areas.
Spatial audio is very important while in VR and with the films it takes an even larger role than ever. Now with 2.0 you are available to add direction sound emitters while taking the shape of pyramids and cones. If you are creating a complex scene with complex audio, this is going to work perfect. Imagine walking down the street in New York and you hear the voices of the individuals as you walk by, and the cars zooming down the street. Just because you are walking by someone does not mean their voice is coming at you in stereo. Its a directional noise. So facing a human in your film one way and attaching the the pyramid shape to the sound file will make for a scene that is touching all of your senes.
Another instance in where this is helpful is if something is flying or driving quickly. You will want the sound pointed at them rather than throughout your entire scene. You can also alter and animate audio files while inside of the app. This will get the audiences attention and remind them that spatial audio is a part of their every day experience, regardless of a headset or not. Quill is the premier application to make 3D VR films.
VR Films To Be Excited About
Every year that goes by, virtual reality gets a little more popular and inclusive to all audiences. The movie industry and the producing teams know that. That is exactly why in the lists above you see a handful of spin-off films from popular movies. Audiences want VR content that goes hand-in-hand with the content their consuming on a daily basis. As we list some of the films that we expect to come out, don’t be shocked when a lot of them have to do with movies that are about to release, or that have been released within the last little bit.
Lion King (2019)
If you haven’t heard, VR was a key part in making the newest version of Lion King. We know that making a realistic environment was essential to the movie, but the movie wasn’t the only product to be produced. We know that a VR short film will come out of this very quickly, and will be available on all platforms. There is a 360° view of the set that has bee released, but what film doesn’t have that now? Lion King VR will be one of the best VR films ever released.
Toy Story recently capped the series off, but they won’t be done making money with their emotional story. You can expect a VR 3D film to be released with Pixar an Toy Story very shortly. There is a 360° video of a roller coaster in Andy’s room, but that is just a lame excuse to get motion sickness. That is only available on the console version of PSVR. You can expect Pixar to be much more inclusive than that when they finally release an interactive VR film.
Dumbo is still in theaters, so it has yet to get any VR treatment, but that won’t last long. There has been a handful of rumors that are swirling around not only a VR Dumbo experience, but an interactive circus VR film. This would engage both adults and children alike, as there is something for everyone to do at all kinds of circus, especially one with Dumbo.