Virtual reality cinema: Oculus’ film Henry to debut later this year


Oculus VR is a company most widely known for the Oculus Rift, a head-mounted display for immersive virtual reality. While the Rift initially gained its enormous popularity through the gaming world, the company recently began to set its sights on a different aspect of entertainment: Hollywood.

Oculus’ Story Studio, the in-house innovation lab led by former Pixar director Saschka Unseld, debuted its first animated short Lost at Sundance January. Although met with many rave reviews, some critics took issue with the VR-less-ness of the film, calling it “barely interactive.”

Today Story Studio introduces their second VR film. Henry is a story about a hedgehog who, owing to his looks, has a hard time making friends. Directed by Ramiro Lopez Dau who has worked on films such as Pixar’s Monsters University, viewers will enter the animated world through “a combination of Oculus VR’s head-tracking tech, audio cues and discreet visual guides”

It seems as though the studio is learning from the blunders of Lost. “One of the cool things about Henry is that we’re incorporating more of that interactive discovery, where you can find his photo album and see elements of it brought to life,” says Story Studio Producer Edward Saatchi. The Studio has also announced the creation of two more shorts following the debut of Henry later this year. Seeing as the realm of virtual reality cinema is an uncharted one, it will be interesting to watch these talented filmmakers pioneer the cinematic VR experience with each feature.

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