360° virtual reality movies are going to change Hollywood forever

Have you heard of the Oculus Rift? No? Then you have really missed something. Let me introduce it to you. Basically it’s a screen strapped to your head. But the most important part is that the image on this screen changes based on where you are looking at. This happens through sensors in the display that recognize your head movement. That means you can actually look around in a 3D scene.

While Virtual Reality is nothing new and has been around for ages the Oculus Rift has made a big step forward in this area. The problem in recent years was that hardware couldn’t keep up with inventors’ imaginations. It could never deliver an experience that wouldn’t result in people having to wear 20 kg on their head or instantly (excuse me) have to vomit after wearing the device for more 10 seconds.

This is because if the image on the screen doesn’t match your head movement almost 100% accurately there will be a difference between what your eyes see and what you body feels. Your brain will think you were poisoned and tries to get rid of whatever drug you seem to have taken.

The Oculus Rift is still an early prototype but Palmer Luckey and his team have managed putting together a set of hardware and software that almost entirely avoids this past effect.

The development of Virtual Reality — besides military use — has always been pushed mainly by the game industry. But while everyone is now talking about VR games a different industry instantly came to my mind when I got my hands on one of the first Oculus Development Kits — Hollywood. Who wouldn’t want to sit on the deck of the Black Pearl while Jack Sparrow is fighting the Kraken in 360° all around you. It would be a mind-blowing experience.

And let’s be honest (I know a lot of people would love to start a shit-storm on my blog now): TV and cinema haven’t changed for 100 years. At least from a drastic conceptual point of view. Yes, there came sound. Yes, there came color. Yes, there came higher resolutions. And yes, there came stereoscopic movies. They call them Digital 3D and RealD and what not. But let me tell you, they have burned these terms for the real 3D revolution to come.

TV has been a flat screen in front of you for most of its time. And I am convinced we are now facing the biggest disruption the industry has seen since the invention of the TV. The only question to me is: When will Hollywood recognize it? This is an amazing opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain market shares in the film business.

Of course 360° videos will be incredibly expensive to produce but there will be creative ways around this problem. Just think of the Blair Witch Project. Horror movies have been around forever and no one would have thought that someone with a 60.000 dollar budget could ever produce a horror movie that makes millions at the box office. The same can be the case with 360° videos.

And sometimes when really big industries are at the verge of a technology revolution there comes the chance for new players to enter the market while giants will fade. Any way I am convinced that Virtual Reality is going to change the world. Let’s talk again in a few years.