In an interview over the phone, executive director Chris Chin of Vive Studios, a content developing and publishing division of HTC, discusses the company’s first ever feature-length film in Virtual Reality.
“Because technology is evolving, there’s a learning curve. Some… things weren’t even around by the time filming started,” Chin said. “You’re having to really innovate and create at the same time.”
“7 Miracles” is a complete film in VR about the seven miracles of Jesus Christ from the Gospel of John. With advanced filming technologies and a new platform, this movie is most likely the first of many to be produced for VR.
“We wanted to extend [and] not make a 10 minute snippet, but to get a full feature, high-production value film that spans 70 minutes and innovates along the curve of filmmaking and storytelling in a way that hasn’t been done before in VR,” Chin said.
(Video courtesy of HTC Vive)
Vive Studios produces content internally, partnering with other filmmakers and developers to bring innovative games, educational programs, and movies to life on VR platforms.
“It’s the sense of total immersion you get when you put on the headset and you are experiencing a virtual scene that you could not otherwise do beyond your imagination,” Chin said. “It’s one of those things where your brain is tricked that it becomes so believable even if you consciously know it’s not real.”
Chin discovered VR in the late 90’s, when it was first created. Eventually, he ended up becoming involved with HTC Vive in 2015. Since then, virtual reality has blown up all across the globe, with interactive VR popups, video games and now, films.
“[VR] is an entirely new platform and new creation and consumption tool. It’s a new medium,” Chin said. “Technology is only going to get better. The sky is the limit, whether it be the storytelling, education, or having VR in daily jobs. It’s just a matter of time.”
HTC Vive has produced a wide array of immersive experiences, from virtual dinosaurs to 19th century journalist Nellie Bly’s journey around the world. Not only are their projects meant to entertain, but they also educate in a way unlike any other.
“We teach kids about the ocean ecosystem and how sharks are misunderstood creatures. There’s a full area in building empathy and emotion around the storyline,” Chin said. “You’re basically putting the user in another experience that they could not imagine or try in an immersive way.”
With VR and technology constantly changing and growing, Chin encourages people to become involved, as it may just be the next biggest platform. He recommends learning how to design in Autodesk Maya or 3DS Max, two of the most prominent 3D-modeling programs.
“I think this is the best time to explore and learn how to code or create content. You have a huge opportunity here to affect the future of VR,” Chin said. “If you are passionate about it, read up as much as you can about it, dive into VR experiences, learn how to create art, and follow the direction you are interested in.”
You can experience “7 Miracles” on multiple VR Platforms today on Vive.