Canada’s first popup VR cinema courtesy of Gear VR

Gear VR

VIVID VR Cinema have constructed Canada’s first popup VR cinema in Toronto and have used the Samsung Gear VR headset.

Three different films are being shown – The Visitor, where a young couple prepares for the woman’s greatest fear to arrive; Imago, a title about a former dancer in a coma who’s aware of her surroundings; and Sonar, a movie about a drone that discovers a signal on an asteroid.

“It’s amazing to watch how engrossed people get in the experience. They start looking around and realize they’re not in the world around them anymore, but immersed in the world created by the film,” says Ran Mo, one of VIVID’s cofounders.

There are around 30 chairs in the popup Cinema, each equipped with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a Gear VR with a Galaxy S7 clipped to the back.

Access to the popup VR cinema will set up back $20 for tickets and you’ll have around 40-minutes to watch the three films.

Don’t expect fantastic quality though – Ran Mo says that because the content is shot in 360 video, there’s no place for sound or lighting technicians to hide so the approach to film-making has to change.

He also points out that because VR technology is developing so quickly, sometimes by the time a piece of content has finished filming that the technology has already transformed.

“We’re really just excited to take audiences on that journey from day one. No one’s really figured out the best way to film this way. So these films aren’t perfect. But in five to 10 years, VR will be a central media form.”

It’s great to see popup cinemas like this one allow people to experience what it’s like to view content in virtual reality, but don’t expect to see the Gear VR in mainstream movie theatres anytime soon.

“I don’t think VR films will ever replace regular films, but they’re a totally new way of storytelling and in a few years, it will stand on its own,” Mo says. “Because we’re the first ones doing this in North America, our audiences are also the first. They’re going to experience all the coolness but also all the imperfections that come with VR films today, and that’s very exciting.”

In order to visit the pop-up VR cinema, you must reserve a time, which can be done online.

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