Cinematic Narration in Virtual Reality

Wiktoria Stefaniak

In my bachelor project, I want to further the language of cinematic virtual reality (CVR) with the main focus on the importance of the notion of presence. In the study, I apply a multi-case studIn the project, I am exploring the field of Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR). CVR refers to a type of immersive VR experience where individual users can look around synthetic worlds in 360 degrees, and hear spatialized audio. Unlike traditional VR in which the virtual world is typically generated in real-time, CVR uses pre-rendered picture and sound elements exclusively. I look into the topic of cinematic narration in VR by analyzing three different VR works and designing the process of production for VR. Here, I show a screenplay and storyboards I made for VR adaptation of Kubrick’s The Shining in which I am trying to adopt the knowledge I acquired. Then, I explain the choices I made and their importance. I decided to adapt the movie rather than writing a new story in order to emphasize the differences between designing narratives for standard cinema and for VR.

In the project, I am exploring the field of Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR). CVR refers to a type of immersive VR experience where individual users can look around synthetic worlds in 360 degrees, and hear spatialized audio. Unlike traditional VR in which the virtual world is typically generated in real-time, CVR uses pre-rendered picture and sound elements exclusively (Mateer, 2017). Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Virtual Human Interaction Lab, marks out the incompatibility between VR that is about exploration and VR that is based in storytelling, which is about control (2018, p.266), that is to say, the common way of telling stories for fixed screens do apply to 360-degree video because it is based on the manipulation of viewer’s gaze and in VR the user is the one who decides where to look. Cinematic narration in VR has been developing , yet it still presents many challenges for artists and designers. Researchers (Godde & et.al., 2018, Sheikh & et.al.) identified some components of film production that are of particular significance in building narratives for VR. These are attention guiding, viewer role, editing, framing, camera placing, and balancing spatial and temporal story density. I look into the topic of cinematic narration in VR by analyzing three different VR works and designing process of production for VR. Here, I show a screenplay and storyboards for VR adaptation of Kubrick’s The Shining in which I am trying to adopt the knowledge I acquired in the field of CVR. Then, I explain the choices I made and their importance.