An Interactive History of
Non-Fiction in Virtual Reality

Produced by
Virtual Realities: Immersive Documentary Encounters

What is Non-Fiction VR?

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.

Non-Fiction Virtual Reality is an emergent and rapidly evolving new medium for filmmaking that draws from - and builds upon - traditional forms of non-fiction, interactive media, gaming and immersive theatre. The VR Mediography project is compiling a detailed history of this new form of interactive experience, examining where it has come from, how it is developing and where it is heading. Our dataset currently contains 314 examples of non-fiction VR content released between 2012 and 2018.

Latest Additions

How are we choosing what to include?

As an emergent medium, non-fiction VR is attracting highly experimental works that sometimes do not fit neatly into what might be considered 'traditional' filmmaking. Our search strategy is therefore deliberately broad, including organic search (english language), social media and the programmes of leading international film festivals. At this early stage in our research, we are including any VR piece that self-presents as non-fiction, or is referred to by a third party as a piece of non-fiction VR.

Random Selection

A Timeline of Non-Fiction VR

Our interactive timline charts the emergence of VR non-fiction content since 2012. The timeline shows when and where non-fiction titles where released, highlights important events, identifies award winning pieces and charts the increasing visibility of VR content on the programmes of leading international film festivals.

Browse the Timeline ›

What themes are being explored in non-fiction VR?

According to our dataset, these are the themes that are being explored by non-fiction VR makers (weighted by frequency of occurrence). Select a theme to see the titles associated with it:

1916 Easter Rising   1973 Chilean coup d'état   2015 Paris Attacks   2016 US Election   Aborigine   Abortion   Adventure   Africa   Ageing   Aleksei Leonov   Aleppo   Amazon Rainforest   Animal rights   Anne Frank   Antarctica   April 2015 Nepal earthquake   Archeology   Architecture   Arctic Circle   Art   Astrophysics   Asylum   Australia   Autism   Aviation   Ballet   Basketball   Beavers   Beekeeping   Behind-the-scenes   Berlin   Bipolar disorder   Blindness   Brain injury   Calais Jungle   Capitalism   Cerebral Palsy   Chernobyl disaster   Childhood   China   Cinema   Civil Rights Movement   Climate change   Cochlear Implant   Congo   Conservation   Consumerism   Coral Reefs   Cuba   Cults   Cyber Warfare   Cycling   Dance   Data Visualisation   Death   Deforestation   Defy Ventures   Disaster   Discrimination   Displacement   Diving   Dolphins   Domestic violence   Drugs   Duppy Gun Productions   Earthquake   Ebola   Ecology   Education   Engineering   Entertainment   Environment   Environmental disaster   Epilepsy   Ethnic cleansing   Exploitation   FGM   Famine   Female empowerment   Fiji   Film Production   First Space Walk   First World War   Food banks   Foreign Legion   Gaza   Gender equality   Gender identity   Grand Canyon   Grenfell Fire   Grief   Hacking   Hearing   Heritage   Hiroshima   History   Homelessness   Hoverboards   Hubble Telescope   Human rights   Human trafficking   ISIS   Inca   Indigenous peoples   Infancy   International Space Station   Iraq   Ireland   Ivory trade   Jaguars   Jewellery   Journalism   Kenya   Korean demilitarized zone   Language   Laughter Yoga   Library   London 7/7 Attacks   Loneliness   Los Angeles   Loss   Love   Magic   Mara River   Marine conservation   Mars   Martin Luther King   Mental health   Mexico   Migration   Military   Military Research   Military training   Millions March NYC   Mongolia   Movement   Music   Myalgic encephalomyelitis   Myanmar   NASA   Nairobi   Native Americans   Natural disaster   Natural history   Nature   Nepal   New Horizons Mission   New York   Nigeria   Noise Pollution   Nuclear   Nuclear Weapons   Nuclear testing   Obama Presidency   Oceanography   Olympic Games   Overfishing   PTSD   Pakistan   Palau   Paleontology   Patagonia   People smuggling   Performance   Peru   Photography   Pluto   Poaching   Police Brutality   Policing   Pollution   Porton Down   Poverty   Prejudice   Press freedom   Prison   Protest   Racing   Racism   Radicalisation   Rainforest   Recycling   Reenactment   Refugees   Rehabilitation   Religion   Renewable Energy   Replica Cities   Retrofuturism   Rewilding   River Ghanges   Road Safety   Robotics   Rohingya   Safari   Salvador Dali   Saudi Arabia   Science   Scientific Research   Scotland   Sea Erosion   Search and Rescue   Sex Trade   Sexual assault   Sexuality   Sharks   Shell Oil Spills   Skateboarding   Slavery   Social VR   Solitary confinement   Somalia   Space exploration   Spacetime   Speed   Spirituality   Sport   Sudan   Surfing   Syrian Civil War   Technology   Terrorism   Testicular Cancer   The Burning Ghats of Varanasi   The Earth   The Holocaust   The Shooting of Michael Brown   The Universe   Tibet   Torture   Tourism   Transgender   Travel   U.S Politics   UK Government   UK Royal Family   USA   Virtual Reality   Visual impairment   Volcanos   Voodoo   Wall   War & Conflict   Water   White Power Movement   Wildebeest migration   Witness testimony   Women   Womens rights   Yemeni Civil War  

How much non-fiction VR content is out there?

Based on 314 titles catalogued so far, this chart shows how production numbers for non-fiction VR content have changed since the earliest known examples in 2012:

Film festivals and awards

Non-fiction VR is an increasingly visible fixture at leading international film festivals. According to our dataset, these are the most prominent non-fiction VR titles in terms of festival appearances and awards received:

Year Title Director(s) Awards Festival
2016 Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness Amaury La Burthe, Arnaud Colinart, James Spinney & Peter Middleton 3 7
2016 Home: Aamir Erfan Saadati, Rufus Norris & Toby Coffey 3 3
2017 After Solitary Cassandra Herrman & Lauren Mucciolo 2 3
2016 Home - An Immersive Spacewalk Experience Kate Bartlett & Tom Burton 2 3
2017 Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon Grace Boyle & James Manisty 2 1
2016 Behind the Fence Jonathan Olinger & Lindsay Branham 2 1
2016 6x9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement Francesca Panetta & Lindsay Poulton 1 5
2018 The Sun Ladies Celine Tricart 1 4
2016 Collisions Lynette Wallworth 1 3
2013 Assent Oscar Raby 1 3

Who is creating non-fiction VR content?

These are the most prolific directors / creators in our dataset*, weighted by the number of titles credited to them. Select a director to view their filmography, collaborators and awards.

Aaron Bradbury   Amaury La Burthe   Andrew Somerville   Angel Manuel Soto   Ari Palitz   Ben C. Solomon   Celine Tricart   Charlotte Mikkelborg   Chris Milk   Cory Tran   Danfung Dennis   Darren Emerson   David Darg   David Gelb   Elise Ogle   Eliza McNitt   Eric Strauss   Evan Grothjan   Francesca Panetta   Félix Lajeunesse   Gabo Arora   Georgy Molodtsov   Graham Roberts   Imraan Ismail   James Hedley   Jane Gauntlett   Jason Drakeford   Jeff Orlowski   Jeremy Bailenson   Jesse Ayala   Jessica Brillhart   Lindsay Branham   Lucy Walker   Lynette Wallworth   Marshall Curry   Matteo Lonardi   Nicole Jackson   Nonny de la Peña   Oscar Raby   Paul Raphaël   Raphael Beugrand   Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy   Stephanie Riggs   Tyson Sadler   Yasmin Elayat   Zach Richter   Zahra Rasool   Ziv Schneider  

* For brevity, we only directors who are credited with more than one title are included. For a comprehensive list, view the full film listing.

Where is non-fiction VR being produced?

Our dataset currently contains titles released from 46 countries. Of the 314 titles in our dataset, the leading non-fiction VR producing countries are: USA (56%) , United Kingdom (19%) , Canada (7%) , France (4%) & Australia (4%) .

How is the duration of non-fiction VR content changing over time?

According to our data, the length of a non-fiction VR title ranges from 1 to 40 minutes, with an average of 9.1 minutes. This chart shows how the length of non-fiction VR titles has changed over time.

More to come!

This resource remains under active development and will continue to grow as our analysis continues. Keep an eye on the changelog for updates. Until then, why not explore our Non-fiction VR timeline ›.