The focus with Oculus Rift may currently be on virtual reality gaming but, as we learnt at last week's Interstellar VR experience, there's room for the headset in Hollywood too. Now Oculus Rift has its first ever feature-length movie, The Banshee Chapter, a horror movie just in time for an immersive Halloween scare.
A modernised Lovecraftian tale, The Banshee Chapter (produced by Star Trek's Zachary Quinto) was first given a standard video-on-demand release back in 2013. Now its makers have teamed up with virtual-reality experts Jamwix to give the film a VR overhaul, retroactively adding headset support that "creates the sensation you're inside the movie itself," according to engineer Bill Booth.
It's a little different to the usual Oculus experience. For starters, it's non-interactive, being a standard plot-driven movie. More pertinently perhaps is the fact that, unlike regular Oculus Rift experiences, the VR version of The Banshee Chapter is limited to a 120 degree field of view, wrapped around the viewer, rather than a full 360 degree shot. While you'll be able to look around a scene, you won't be able to look behind the camera, for instance. However, head tracking (with 3D depth) is supported, which should give the film's scares a little extra shock value.
What with the added hardware costs needed for a headset-per-person viewing, don't expect virtual reality flicks to go mainstream at your local multiplex anytime soon. But as digital distribution and day-and-date home and cinema releases become increasingly prevalent, it's possible that the blockbusters of the future will get special VR edits for those that can view them.
For now though, you're just going to have to settle for The Banshee Chapter, which received a respectable 78 per cent rating from Rotten Tomatoes based upon its original standard release. In a nice touch, this Oculus re-edit is available for free through the Oculus Rift developer site -- you just need a DK2 version of the headset and a Mac to view it. [Oculus Rift via Mashable]