Interview with Camille Donegan – Virtual Reality Ireland – Carlow Arts Festival

Interview with Camille Donegan – Virtual Reality Ireland – Carlow Arts Festival

We had the chance to put some questions to Camille Donegan from Virtual Reality Ireland about the Virtual Reality Film Festival which takes place at the Carlow Arts Festival this weekend. You can see the results below.

Find out more about the Virtual Reality Film Festival at the Carlow Arts Festival here.

VR CINEMA – Saturday, 8 June – Sunday, 9 June @ 1pm – 9pm

INTRO TO VR PRESENTATION – Sunday, 9 June @ 2pm


How did the idea of the first VR Film Festival in Ireland come about?

My background is Theatre parallel to a career in Tech. I knew Jo Mangan from running the Big House Festival many years ago, and we reconnected recently regarding a shared interest in Virtual Reality storytelling. Since then I have supported Jo by sharing VR skills and equipment with the artistic community (namely with the Arts Council funded Space programme) plus we were both at SXSW this year and saw a ton of great VR experiences. We are both passionate about the narrative side of VR of which there is very little content thus far. An opportunity to get creating methinks, especially for this nation of storytellers!

What are the films you’re particularly excited about showing?

I love all the films we are showing but am particularly excited about 2 of the films in the adult evening programme, Sanctuaries of Silence where viewers meet ecologist Gordon Hempton who defines silence not as the absence of sound, but as the absence of noise from modern life and 4 Feet: Blind Date a film exploring sexuality and disability where we follow the life of Juana, an 18 year-old girl bound to a wheelchair, who is anxious to explore her sexuality.

One of the main problems I have heard mentioned with VR is how to allow people to move around within the virtual world. How do you think this will be solved?

There are 2 distinct types of headset, known as 6DoF where the user can move around in physical space, and 3DoF, where the user experiences the virtual world from a fixed viewpoints. The VR Cinema for Carlow Arts Festival will be showing a series of stunning VR films on 3DoF (Oculus Go) headsets. These headsets can offer a really fantastic 360 3D cinematic experience which is excellent for storytelling and live action footage.

With 6DoF we are talking more about interacting with the environment, more like a game experience but this can be narrative-led. We are usually talking about CG (computer generated) content on the 6DoF headsets. If the 6DoF experience is following UX design principles for VR, there should be no motion sickness as the headsets available, particularly the newly launched Oculus Quest, has excellent screen refresh rates which previously caused lag leading to motion sickness. A workaround is teleportation. Teleporting around a virtual environment has been proven to significantly reduce any movement related sickness in VR and works well on older VR headsets.

While VR is widely used for gaming, why do you think mainstream Hollywood hasn’t adopted it yet?  Is it only a matter of time before a big release is made in VR/ 360 Video?

In a way Hollywood has adopted it. Where VR adds value for large IP currently is with a companion piece. A lot of studios are dipping their toes in the water and having a behind-the-scenes bite-size VR experience, such as Mission Impossible: Fallout 360 where we see Tom Cruise do his own helicopter stunts, or Wild VR where the viewer gets to be in the wild with Reese Witherspoon. With the launch of the Quest, ILMxLab have launched a Star Wars experience called Light Sabers! Vadar Immortal: episode 1, the title implying that they plan to create a lot more VR specific content in the future!

How far away do you think we are from worlds like those shown in ‘Ready Player One’ or similar films?

Ready Player One paints a very dystopian future where humans have pretty much destroyed the earth, and are escaping to VR where they really live their life. Myself, and tons of other pioneers in this space have the opposite vision for this future. We believe VR is here to help humanity, connect us, not separate us. I’m involved in the VR for Good and Tech for Good movements and have seen how VR can create positive False Memories in viewers. This means content creators for this powerful medium, have an ethical responsibility. To hear more, come along to the VR Creators panel discussion at the Carlow Arts Festival on Sunday 9th June where a composer Guillaume Auvray, a writer Karen Hunt of narrativehunt.com and a theatre director Sarah Bradley will share their passion for creating Immersive Technology experiences.

Categories: Header, interview, Movies

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