This project explores user interaction and film viewing in the same space. Cinema has created an experience of time through linearity with edits and cuts and can not be controlled by the viewer. What could virtual reality add to the cinematic experience? If a user can control the time of a 360 degree film, will they experience details that enrich the experience?
My contribution: Product design and interaction design.. Collaborators: Maarten van Hees and Sander de Bont.
As a first experiment, we thought of the most basic form of storytelling by visual experience – a story with no narration or sound, just a linear visual story consisting of imagery. One such story is an experience of time lapse. Time lapse communicates to the viewer that time has passed. We wondered if we could use this as a backdrop to give users a sense of control over time by embedding this into a virtual reality experience. With this, we could use human computer interaction methods of appropriation often found in video software as a baseline for allowing users to change the speed of the video. Often users understand they can control videos on a user interface with 4 interactions: start, stop, back and forward. And most know these interactions by means of symbolic shapes. We used these interactions and translated them into head interactions whereby the VR glasses could be calibrated to head movements (z-index), which would control the playback of the video.
Lean forward to fast forward the film.
Lean backward to rewind the film.
Turn your head in any direction will stop the film and give the viewer 360 degree viewing capabilities.
As a prototype, a select few users were able to experience the film. A fully functioning version would have provided us the ability to do usability testing and find out if users understand the interactions as we intended. Further research into how you can instruct the viewer in virtual reality would also be useful. Testing elements such as the use of interface icons, haptic responses, or use of additional visual clues would be very interesting.