Film premiere in VR hints at the future of movie releases

by Will Mason • April 29th, 2015

If you happen to be in London tonight the virtual reality cinema group, “Let the film do the talking” (LTFDTT), will be hosting the world premiere of it’s new ASMR-based 360 VR film, The K3YS, at 18:00 GMT (click here to check your timezone). If you don’t happen to be in London, as many of you all aren’t, you can still check out the premiere of the film, in virtual reality.

The livestreamed premiere in VR could easily be the sign of things to come (I’ll explain in a minute). Those not in London will be able to enjoy the film from the comfort of home using their DK2 and a web-based version of the popular VR cinema app, CINEVEO called CIBERVEO. Up to 200 people concurrently will be able to fill the app (with the first 20 bringing an avatar with them).

But if you miss the premiere, don’t worry you will still be able to watch the film using the Littlstar app – a 360 video hosting service. The video will be available to watch on the app using a google cardboard or a Freefly VR headset – which they are planning to give away at the event.

The film itself is centered around the concept of ASMR, which “stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, a phenomena that generates pleasurable feelings in the viewer known as ‘tingles’. ‘Triggers’ activate tingles such as the sound of newspaper pages being turned or tapping inanimate objects.” It is a sensation that is reportedly not felt by everyone (I for one have never felt the response purported) but the ‘top stars of ASMR’ – ASMRequests, Heather Feather and GentleWhispering – collectively have over 800,000 subscribers on YouTube, so someone must be feeling something.

I mentioned earlier that this could easily be the sign of things to come, and I think that is very true. A movie premiere is something that is coveted by any major fan, walking the red carpet, seeing all the stars, and getting to see a movie before almost everyone else – it is all something that to the average person is far out of reach. But that could easily change with virtual reality. Let me paint you a picture.

You are sitting at home getting ready for the big premiere of Avengers 3: Infinity Crisis. You were one of the lucky 10,000 who were online right when the premiere tickets dropped. You quickly load in your universal avatar – I mean if you’re going to go to a premiere you might as well look good – you think as you toggle the settings to put a tux on the 3D scanned representation.

Launching the experience you are sitting in a limo, with a livestream already started. In the limo you look around and see the main cast of the film – holy crap I’m riding with the Avengers – Robert Downey Jr. looks at you and gives you a wave. The limo stops and the doors pop open. The flashes of a thousand cameras blind you as you step out on to the red carpet- now I know why actors hate the paparazzi (VR, the ultimate empathy machine).

Imagine, you could be standing right there with them in that confetti. (Source)

Imagine, you could be standing right there with them in that confetti. (Source)

You make your way down, stopping only to be interviewed by E! News (complete with Joan Rivers’ hologram) with Robert Downey Jr. Once inside the livestream continues, and you are at the preparty listening into bits of conversation like a true fly on the wall with 360 audio. Finally it is time for the show to begin, as the cast and attendees make their way into the real theater, you are gently moved into a virtual one, where you and the avatars of thousands of others get to watch the premiere simultaneously with the cast and crew. During the film, a select few members of the cast are ‘live blogging’ within the app (rather than broadcasting spoilers on Twitter) giving you unique insights into the production, and thoughts on the story from the cast.

The scenario I just described, I believe, is a very realistic portrait of how movie premieres could change in the next couple years. Letting fans attend the premiere virtually seems like a natural progression, and one that I think a lot of people will get really excited about. But until then, be sure to check out the live streamed VR movie premiere tonight at 18:00 GMT (click here to check your timezone). CIBERVEO is currently not a free app, but LTFDTT has provided us with a promo code to download the app at a discount. Just go to CIBERVEO’s site and use the promo code – XhM85T – to get the app for $5.


Disclaimer: UploadVR is a media partner of the LTFDTT event.


UPDATE: The previous version of this post reflected the press release submitted by LTFDTT which touted this as the ‘world’s first’ VR movie premiere, this has been found to not be the case. Thanks to /u/worldssecond for pointing this out. The article has been updated to reflect this change.

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