Experimental VR film MansLaughter from CineMersia and director David Marlett is now available for download in the MilkVR app on the Samsung Gear VR. The film is around 1 GB. Make sure you have the latest 1.36 version of the MilkVR app installed and choose the “best quality” option so it works with the key four quadrant storytelling being pioneered with the project.
In the film, which lasts roughly 15 minutes from start to finish, a man wins a $265 million lotto jackpot. As he waits to turn in the ticket, other characters in the film plot against him. The scenes play out simultaneously all around you in four quadrants — a bedroom, a bar, a gun store and a concert. The viewer has control to rotate around and choose where to look to try to piece together the story.
Only the audio from the scene that you are looking at should be playing at any given time. This key new feature, “quadrophonic” audio, is what makes MansLaughter an experience to check out as the distinct sound channels and separated scenes create four different experiences wrapped into a single download. You might end up re-watching the movie several times, picking different scenes to focus as you try to understand the story. Note that in MilkVR the audio on the instant streaming option isn’t working right yet and you may need to delete MilkVR and reinstall it to get the latest 1.36 version of the app.
It was filmed monoscopic (non-3D) with a Red Dragon camera by Marlett, who is also a writer and coincidentally just got a rare interview with John Carmack published in a Dallas-area D Magazine article (if you haven’t read it already it is well worth the read, offering insight into Carmack’s philosophy). Marlett has been in discussions with Carmack and Samsung to figure out how to pull off the experimental movie, which was made with four scenes constructed on a roughly 35-foot stage and shot with the camera in long single takes one after another. Precise timing was required in the writing and acting to make each scene of the film fit together.
“I’m excited to see what other filmmakers do with that sort of format,” said Marlett. “It’s certainly something different than just sticking a 360 camera in the middle.”
Marlett is working on a foreign distribution deal for his projects. Next, he is planning a feature-length panoramic movie called ARAPAHO that takes place on the open plains.