The trailer for this could very well include: “Free, live VR streaming (and screaming) at a device near you.” No matter how it’s presented, filmmaker Joston “El Rey” Theney, founder of #SinningWorks and 2D, 3D and virtual reality house Radiant Images are the first to step out on the VR filmmaking ledge with the upcoming release of The Tale of Two Faces starring the two main characters from the Scream and Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchises, “Ghostface” and “Leatherface.”
This maiden effort in narrative filmmaking is unique, not only in its use of immersive VR technology, but because it will be made available for free to stream on VR and 360-degree live action platform VRLive. Anyone with an internet connected device including smartphones, gaming consoles or desktop, will be able to experience the premiere on a most apropos day, Friday, May 13th. In addition to the iconic main characters, the film also stars singer Emii and former Baywatch mainstay Angelica Bridges.
Theney, well-known in horror film circles, is planning a six-part series of VR projects from #SinningWorks, sees tremendous potential for the platform and is excited about how it can change the way audiences become part of the story.
“The goal for VR is the same as traditional narrative filmmaking — complete immersion,” said Theney. “Sustained, willful suspension of disbelief from the audience is necessary for traditional 2D / 3D narrative filmmaking to be engaging but because effective VR is in essence creating a virtual reality, that suspension of disbelief almost becomes subconscious — especially when done with skill. This gives great, creative minds the ability drop audiences into the stories they tell — literally — and have them submerged beneath the many layers of reality rather than simply being a casual observer, leaving very few, if any, being able to say, ‘I just couldn't get into it.’”
The unique distribution, going outside the traditional studio system and directly to consumers, is one big positive, but it also solves, to some degree, an issue that has plagued entertainment for years.
“Piracy is a huge problem in the system — I've experienced it myself,” Theney noted. “With VR there are so many layers of tech that are required to experience the world that you're creating that it become very difficult to pirate. Especially with the advent of ambisonic sound, sound that changes perspective based on your relation to the distance and angle of the object and/or action you're experiencing in virtual reality.”
Despite the distinct advantage, VR, at this point, is still the domain of the early adopters, though Piper Jaffray projects that 5m Samsung Gear VR and 3.6m Oculus Rift headsets will be sold in 2016.
“Consumers haven't made the transition in large enough numbers to create the demand necessary for producing large amounts of content,” said Theney. “But the consumer base is growing day by day and VR technology is growing at an even faster rate. By the time consumers have bought into the market at the size expected, I believe it will be the same significance to the studio system as switching from DVD to Digital Download. The demand wasn't originally there, but when it happened, boy did it change how people view content.”