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Directing for Cinematic Virtual Reality: how traditional film director’s craft applies to immersive environments and notions of presence

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Media Practice
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Jan 2017
DatePublished (current) - 19 May 2017
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)14-25
Original languageEnglish


Virtual Reality has been an area of research for over 40 years yet only recently has it begun to achieve public acceptance. One key to this has been the development of ‘Cinematic Virtual Reality’ where media fidelity approaches that found in feature film. Unlike traditional VR, CVR limits the level of control users have within the environment to choosing viewpoints rather than interacting with the world itself. This means that CVR production arguably represents a new type of filmmaking. Grammars for filmmakers have developed significantly resulting in a rich vocabulary available to use to create compelling stories. Relatedly, researchers into Virtual Reality have also begun to understand mechanisms behind compelling engagement within VR. This paper looks to find a bridge between these two previously disparate media. It is argued that the concepts of ‘suspension of disbelief’ and ‘presence’ can be linked via ‘transportation theory’. The applicability of existing filmmaking directing techniques for the creation of CVR projects is then explored. Existing film production methods are considered in a manner adapted to establishing ‘presence’ in a CVR space. Finally, areas for future exploration are considered in light of the immaturity of Cinematic Virtual Reality as a medium.

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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • directing, cinematic, virtual reality

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