Steven Spielberg: VR could be “dangerous” for film-making

Steven Spielberg has spoken out about the impact virtual reality stands to have on film-makers, calling the new technology a “dangerous medium” and suggesting it could weaken the control directors have over their films.

Steven Spielberg: VR could be “dangerous” for film-making

“I think we’re moving into a dangerous medium with virtual reality,” the multiple Oscar-winner said during an interview to promote his latest film, The BFG. “The only reason I say it is dangerous is because it gives the viewer a lot of latitude not to take direction from the storytellers but make their own choices of where to look.”

Spielberg went on to say that VR would take off “in a profound way”, but that he hoped it wouldn’t forget to tell stories “when it starts enveloping us in a world that we can see all around us and make our own choices to look at.”

There are a number of virtual reality films being shown alongside traditional movies at Cannes this year, marking a continued ascent of VR film-making into the festival arena. This year’s Sundance Film festival had a dedicated VR portion on its bill, and the upcoming Sheffield Doc/Fest is to feature a number of VR films as part of its Alternate Realities strand. 

HTC Vive/SteamVR Hands on - Using Vive looking up

Spielberg is right to question the way VR will necessitate new forms of cinematic direction, although other film directors have interpreted this as an opportunity, not a encumbrance. In an interview with The New Yorker, director Werner Herzog talked about the scope VR has to become a new artistic medium.

“I am convinced that this is not going to be an extension of cinema or 3-D cinema or video games,” said Herzog. “It is something new, different, and not experienced yet.”

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