When thinking about VR filmmaking, the Oculus Rift, GearVR, and Morpheus headsets are different in terms of resolution and the viewer’s field-of-view. How will this impact photographing virtual-reality live-action scenes? Do you tell a story that can be viewed on all headsets or must you tell one only for one of them? Will one headset be better than another for a certain story-type?
In traditional cinema, you tell the story differently for each format by composing your shots one way if you are filming in the standard 1.85 (a.k.a. 16×9) aspect ratio versus the very widescreen anamorphic formats. The issue of where you place the actors in the frame is different for each format. You chose one format over the other because it tells your specific story better.
There is no traditional “frame” per se in VR, but there are issues of how wide the viewer’s point of view is as well as the display refresh-rates are. How will these impact story in VR filmmaking?
In the theatre, an actor can be on one side of the stage speaking to an actor on the other side. With very little head movement you can look from one actor to another. In my experience, your eyes do most of the work, not your head.
But in VR, while you can move your eyes from one point to another, the more dramatic effect is created by actually turning your head. But, I suspect, looking from one actor to another, turning your head from left to right to left to right, to left to right, like watching a tennis match from the net line, will quickly become exhausting.
Thus, when thinking about VR filmmaking you must stage the blocking of your actors to minimize this effect. Then the question becomes, do you block to accommodate the lowest-common headset display?