Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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We all know movie trailers are awful. But perhaps VR can save them

We all know movie trailers are awful. But perhaps VR can save them

Summer blockbuster season, despite its many city-leveling bangs, is coming to an end with a whimper. Ben Hur allegedly opened in theaters, thereby proving that not all second comings are created equal. Some superhero movies surely came out though I’ll be damned if I can name them. The movies weren’t fun (or good), but the process of accounting for their failure almost functions as a source of entertainment.

One frequently-cited culprit for this season of discontent is the cinematic trailer: once an enticing genre, the trailer is now a way to give away all the plot points of an upcoming blockbuster without making you sit through a long-ass movie. This, apparently, is not good for business. Why sit through two hours of Zach Snyder’s bilge when you can get it over with in 90 seconds?

it keeps your interest using VR filmmaking

The trailer for VR Noir, a high-tech throwback film from AFTRS, FSM and Start VR, offers a remedy to trailer fatigue. Available online in panoramic video (the film itself will work with a variety of headsets), the trailer forces you to look back and forth to engage with different scenes. In formal terms, it keeps your interest using VR filmmaking as opposed to flashes and bangs and … spoilers.

It’s not yet entirely clear how virtual reality functions in a feature-length film. There are few examples to study and 90 minutes of technologically-induced isolation. For what it’s worth, VR Noir looks like a compelling entry in that area, making interesting switches from the protagonist’s point of view to that of an omniscient viewer. But at the moment VR’s advantage may be in the trailer department. It’s enough to make you want to watch VR Noir, and that’s a good sign for virtual reality filmmaking in the long run.

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