Since the emergence of 360 / VR video there’s been a search on to find the right content to feature using the emerging genre. Being an early pioneer of 360 degree video Google founded Spotlight Stories to work with artists in pushing the filmography forward.
Jump forward to today and Google has announced that Spotlight Stories will be closing after producing 13 VR short films and stories, one of which was the first VR film ever nominated for an Academy Award. Stories range from a Simpsons couch gag to a short file by Justin Lin.
Pearl, the short film nominated for an Oscar, was the first time I truly saw the power of VR story telling. Not only was it an emotionally charged story but through the use of 360 video each time you watch the short film you got a little more piece of the story, assuming you looked in a different place! It was powerful and enjoyable so we’ve dropped it in below.
What does all of this mean for the future of 360 / VR film making? Honestly we’re not sure. Google had no official comment on the future of either the Google staff at the studio nor what would happen with 360 content going forward. Even if 360 film enters a period of little to no activity like all creative endeavours all it will take is the right person with the right story to tell it using this medium for it to roar back into life.
I for one hope they do.