While cinema offers an optical illusion of movement, Virtual Reality offers a new generation of illusion - a powerful sense of being there within a scene. By offering novel forms of witnessing enabled by 360 degree perspectives, and new interactions of sensory engagement with media which reflects our shared world, virtual reality may have significant potential to inform public debate.
Funded by the UK EPSRC, Virtual Realities - Immersive Documentary Encounters is a collaborative research project that seeks to examine the production and user experience of non-fiction virtual reality content. Through a process of investigation, dialogue, and shared findings, researchers from human-computer interaction, psychology and documentary studies will work alongside internationally recognised creative industry collaborators to support the development of this new production sector, keeping the interests of audience and subjects to the fore.
Leading international content producers will share their approaches to storytelling in this new 360 medium. The project will document where non-fiction VR production has come from, where the current state of the art lies and how technology and creative form are developing. It will evaluate how non-fiction VR content is experienced across multiple platforms, comparing these with 2D and 3D experiences delivered without headsets.
The project will investigate engagement, attention, understanding and emotional reaction to immersive non-fiction media content with carefully selected audience groups - who we will follow from their first encounter with VR.
Dr Kirsten Cater is a Reader in Computer Science at the University of Bristol, specialising in Human Computer Interaction and Tangible User Interfaces.Homepage
Danaë is a Professor in Psychology at the University of Bath and Director of the CREATE Lab.Homepage
Dr Chris Bevan is a Research Associate in Computer Science at the University of Bristol, specialising in Human Computer Interaction and human-centred design.Homepage
Dr. Harry Farmer is a Research Associate at the University of Bath CREATE lab.
Helen Brown is a psychology PhD student at the University of Bath. Her research is exploring emotional and physiological responses to virtual reality encounters.
Jo Gildersleve is the research administrator for the Virtual Realities project at the University of Bristol.Homepage
Beginning with Nonny de la Peña's initial explorations of immersive journalism in 2012, the VR Mediography project is the first attempt to comprehensively map the emergence and development of VR as a new medium for experiencing non-fiction content.
Through use of an interactive timeline, the Mediography presents how non-fiction documentary VR has developed since 2012, highlighting leading works and content producers along the way.
The VR Mediography project remains under active development and will continue to grow in scope and functionality as the project progresses. Please do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or feedback.
Researcher Chris Bevan visited the Alternative Realities exhibition at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018 to catch up with the latest and greatest in non-fiction VR.
One of the challenges of studying the emergence of VR non-fiction is the fact that many of the bleeding-edge experimental pieces are shown f...
In an article in the first edition of the online journal, World Records, edited by Jason Fox, Mandy Rose surveys the contemporary nonfiction work being developed within the framework of VR, and explores the opposition between the promise of VR as escape from materiality and a promise of corporeal...
In Jan/Feb 2018 we conducted an opinion survey with 30 leading producers, curators and directors of VR non-fiction (VRNF) to identify key priorities for our audience studies (planned for Spring/Summer 2018). We asked eight open-ended questions about aspects of past, present and future audiences for...
Our first project workshop What do we need to know? will be held on Friday 19th January at the Watershed Cinema, Bristol.
What do we need to know? is the first of four workshops to be held over the course of the project, providing a framework through which partners and stakeholders can co-desig...