Virtual Reality Movies Are Here And You Can Watch One Now

January 28, 2015 | Rhett Jones

As Oculus Rift’s official consumer release gets closer, the ubiquity of virtual reality is most likely going to be a case of “when” rather than “if,” and one way we may be using the technology is for immersive films. At least two companies are already throwing their hats in the ring to make VR movies a tangible thing.

The first company has the extremely annoying name immersiv.ly and you can actually test out what its people have been working on right your browser. Hong Kong Unrest is a short documentary about the Umbrella Revolution protests in China. You’ll have to go to the site to actually view it because the video is entirely interactive. Using a mouse or touch screen, the user can move the camera or zoom in and out. Of course, for the full VR experience, a user needs some sort of headset. But the in-browser demo gives a great idea of how this works.

Is the documentary any good? I don’t know, I was too busy moving the camera and looking around Hong Kong to pay attention. It’s a really cool function and it’s only going to be cooler when we’re just moving our head around to look.

The second company getting in the immersive movie market is Oculus, which makes sense because people are going to need stuff to do with the start-up’s hardware. On Wednesday, the newly minted studio debuted its first original short film at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s called Lost and it’s directed by Saschka Unseld, who previously handled Pixar’s The Blue Umbrella. Unseld will also be in charge of the studio. Unfortunately, only people at the festival can see Lost, at least for now. But there is a video that introduces what Oculus Story Studios has up its sleeve embedded below.

(Photo: Hong Kong Unrest)