2016 looks like it may be shaping up to be The Year Virtual Reality Took Over, what with the commercial release of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the Samsung Gear VR. If you’ve got even a reasonably modern smartphone, you can even assemble your own VR headset using just Cardboard, if you want to. Now Sundance, the renowned champion of independent film, is stepping up to the VR plate with their own Android app.
The app’s development came as part of institute’s “New Frontier” program, which is an initiative that looks to bring together artists, creators, and performers who are working with the slippery spaces between contemporary media technology. The app, called Sundance VR, is now available in the Google Play Store and was designed by IM360, a significant player in the virtual reality field. Although it is not yet available on iOS, Sundance says that the app’s development is well under way, and that it should be released later this year.
The goal of this app is to create a platform on which a variety of new VR-friendly films and experiences can be released. The institute wants to push the limits of what film, television, and even live stage performance have historically been able to do by putting the viewer directly in a professionally directed storytelling experience.
The app looks like it’s receiving some hate in the ratings just now, with reviewers complaining about a lack of content and fickle usability. However, it seems like Sundance has plans in order to bring a whole line of content to the app, so it’s reasonable to expect that the future will bring new immersive films and usability updates to Sundance VR.
What are your thoughts regarding the indie film curator’s foray into virtual reality? Is this the future of film, or just a fad that will eventually fade away? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and don’t forget to click the button to give Sundance VR a whirl for yourself!