VR Documentary; Seeing Mutiple Perspectives

Up until now, most documentaries had chosen the perspective for the audience to follow and believe. Although some can evade the influence and oppose the document’s vision, they are still visually locked to what was designed for them to see in the documentary of viewing. With the ever-growing world of virtual reality, films and education can give audiences freedom and the ability to view what they want from a new perspective. No longer being a locked 180* vision yet a whole 360* perspective able to move adjusted to their 180* Field of vision by the causal tilt of their head or device.

With the norm of film and education bound to being changed in the near or distant future, I have taken it upon my self to analyse two documentaries. One is a virtual reality where the other a tradition documentary broadcasted to the public. With the following choices, I will be comparing I understand it could be unfair or maybe even Bias. Yet I believe each take on the documentary genre through different platforms are entitled to be viewed as positive and negative to their appropriate context.

The first example I will analyse is the virtual reality documentary, the documentary I have chosen is called; 6×9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement, this documentary puts the viewer in a solitary cell, where they experience the effects of what a person in Solitary Confinement would face. This is portrayed in a 360* video which a user can look around the room and experience the video the way they want. This can be viewed using a Smartphones’s Rotoscope (+Camera) or viewed in a VR Headset          like I watched with. These two ways of many others to watch a 360* have differences such as the headset puts you in a giffirst-person perspective moving as if you would physically move around in real life. Whereas using the Mobile Rotor Scope without the headset lets you use your smartphone as a window into viewing the video as a crack between places viewed in your phone. During this short documentary, the audience member is experiencing first hand of the director’s concept of Solitary Confinement, however, what the director can not control are the audience’s vision and placement. During the documentary, the director has placed text and using the voice over given the audience members key places to look. Yet the audience member now in control of “Camera” they get to decide whereabouts they can look and ignore the director’s push of direction.

The second example is the traditional broadcast documentary, is called “Dark Net S1E1″ airing on Netflix this documentary series follows multiple people and there affects on the internet and what risks and use the internet has to offer. During this documentary, Three different stories were followed, and in those stories where different examples of how the internet can be used or abused for love. In this documentary, the director takes me on a controlled path and I see exactly what they visually and audible show me. With use, the director shows me what they want to show and I will view it exactly, using editing techniques the audience member will feel like they are watching an instructional story. Where they leap between different characters as Narration continues, however they can only pause the story and not look further past what has been provided for them. Yet they will not feel lost in any way due to the direct story they are being told.

Comparing these two documentary styles the virtual reality documentary style can allow the viewer to experience the documentary in a free and open enviorment not conforming to the director’s orignal focus yet, still allows the viewer to have their own custom experience. Whereas the second style being traditional the audience member is guided by the story and directors vision and is subjected to form their experience and overall point of view, based on their personal values and discussion they would have. Yet still gives the audience a pleasant experience where they can still get what they’d like out of it. When looking at these two styles depending on which genre and how they are used, both are still very effective and won’t replace the other as the norm in years to come. However, as VR and AR technology is increasing and growing who knows what the future will hold.


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