In the beginning of May I was attending the FMX conference in Stuttgart Germany. A conference about Visual Storytelling, Visual Effects, Animation, Immersive Media and games. This year the main topic was the rise of VR / AR and MR. Some very interesting talks about this new media in which visual storytelling needs to be re-defined. Here are my thought out of Stuttgart.
We came a long way from a train arriving at a station (1896) to superheroes flying through the sky. They have one thing in common though, they both play inside a rectangle we call ‘the screen’. From the beginning of filmmaking a language was developed: a visual narrative that helps us understand the story. That tells us when to be moved or be filled with excitement. The edit is there to tell the story and supports that visual story. We know the tools, the audience loves it.
But with the ’15 – ’16 claimed to be the rise of Virtual Reality the imminent question comes along: how do you tell a visual story when the user is in control? In traditional storytelling the control is important: where the audience focus is upon, what the content of the frame is, what the environment looks like, etc. etc. With VR you have to let go of that control to some extend because the audience will be a participant (a bystander of player). The 360′ freedom to look and walk around makes it harder to direct the attention of the audience. The emotional response you get from a close-up suddenly is not working anymore. The identification with the character inside a story is much harder. Visual storytelling with VR goes beyond the rectangle of the screen.
So here I am: I want to experiment and try it by myself. How to tell a visual story in VR? Currently I am learning the Unreal4 game engine to build new worlds and will experiment with it – will post an update soon!