Rapid VR is a new Australian-based film technology that could change the face of home entertainment as we know it. It essentially allows filmmakers to make 360-degree movies that the viewer controls by looking in any direction they like. The results are akin to a "virtual reality" video game: except the footage is 100 per cent real and authentic. For a taste of what this technology is capable of, check out this Rapid VR video of Australian Olympic gold Torah Bright tearing up the snow dunes. It's the next best thing to being there.
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Rapid VR is part of a new filmmaking craze that involves capturing "interactive" 360 degree footage that can be viewed in any direction. This is achieved by filming the same scene with multiple custom-rigged cameras and then stitching it all together using special editing software. Viewers can then control where the camera "looks"; including above and directly behind them.
Fans of the Oculus Rift will have a pretty good idea of how 360 VR works. Indeed, the movies are fully compatible with Oculus Rift headsets and work in much the same manner.
We checked out a few examples at the company's Sydney headquarters and the results were nothing short of astonishing. One harrowing example depicted a great white shark circling the viewer before swallowing them whole (to achieve this effect, a real-life shark actually chomped down a Rapid VR camera.)
Naturally, the best way to experience Rapid VR movies is with a virtual reality headset: but the technology can also be viewed on phones and tablets (via the built-in gyro-sensors and accelerometer) or on a computer (by simply moving your mouse or trackpad around.)
We anticipate we'll be seeing plenty more of this technology in the months to come. The possibilities surrounding narrative fiction are particularly intriguing. In the meantime, you can check out the aforementioned Torah Bright example by clicking on the video below: