Owning an Oculus Rift, is a bit like owning a 4K TV, it’s nice and there’s some great little experiences you can have with it, but ultimately, you’re let down by the fact that there just isn’t that much content out there for you to use the device with. That is slowly changing though and Rifters could be in for a real treat when the next David Attenborough documentary, Conquest of the Skies is released, as it’s being filmed with a camera rig with eight separate cameras, meaning Rift users will be able to watch the documentary, but look around as if they are the cameraman themselves.
This was confirmed by Real Screen when they spoke to producer at Sky Atlantic, John Morris, who’s overseeing the making of the Borneo-based documentary. He’s a firm believer in the technology, hoping to see it reach millions of homes in the coming years, but is happy to see the show being made for the 100,000 or so that will have first and second generation devkits when it’s released.
It’s perhaps not surprising that Sky is looking to branch out in the field of virtual viewing though, as it’s already shown a propensity for filming with smaller mediums in mind. It’s already produced content for 3D TVs, movie size screens and cinematic 3D experiences.
However Morris said the team behind this documentary were excited to be working on an Oculus Rift enabled production, because no one really knows how you’re supposed to do it yet. “In terms of the creative challenge, we look at this as being comparable to the beginning of the film industry,” he said and he’s right. The Rift has been available to games developers for well over a year and there’s few hard and fast rules about how to make content for it, let alone when it comes to 360 degree film.
It may be that people aren’t too fussed with the idea of films in 360 degrees, because ultimately we’re paying for the filmmaker, cameraman and editor’s perspective on the action. They neatly cut it all together and show us the best bits, is all of that worth throwing to the wayside just so we can look at what the camera isn’t pointed at?
Theoretically some scenes could be amazing like that, if these huge camera rigs could be placed in the middle of the action for example. Perhaps in the middle of a pride of lions, or as one of many in a flock of birds, but if we’re on the outside looking in, you’d imagine that one camera would be sufficient.