The roll of VR in Storytelling

April 14, 2016

 VR is immersing people in a whole new way. But exactly how will it do this as a brand who wants to use this technology to tell better stories?


According to the kings of storytelling, Ed Catmull, he says it might not work.


“It’s not storytelling...Linear narrative is an artfully-directed telling of a story,”


Linear narrative, keeps the audience focused on a particular scene. In the world of VR, the viewer has completely freedom to look at any possible area they want, even away from the scene of the story.


There’s very little I know personally and exactly how VR works, I am no expert. But as a creative, i’m often thinking about the ways in which I could exploit the technology for the sake of telling a story.


Remember some time back in 2013, Motorola and Pixar collabed on an interactive video project called ‘Windy Day’ that was exclusive to the Moto X. You could essentially explore and follow along inside the world, this story simply by moving your Moto X around in your hands.




The interactive short was Written by Jane Pinkava, co-director of Pixar’s Ratatouille.


She said that, “Unlike a conventional film, we’ve given you control of the camera so you can explore. Every viewing is a little different. Look around – there are surprises where you least expect them. It’s fluid and natural because we adapted the controls from those used for precision planetary landings.”


Now, take that same idea, imagine instead of moving your phone, you’re moving your head as it’s wrapped inside one of the latest VR headsets. As much as this technology is new, I think the potential for marketers and content creators alike, to develop truly immersive worlds and stories, is massive.


“What excites me is how brands are pushing the boundaries in how and where they tell their story—everyone needs a new playbook. It's an exciting time to embrace change, not fight it. Those who do will be rewarded. Innovation comes from the ability to have the courage and commitment to explore new ways to tell your story.”


This was what Samsung’s chief creative officer, Jesse Coulter, explained in an interview with Adweek.

“We're spearheading collaborations with some of the best filmmakers and studios in the business—Skybound Entertainment, the NBA, 20th Century Fox, Vrse, Vice, The Wall Street Journal, Funny or Die and Sundance—to give consumers fun, interactive experiences through VR.”


Technology is constantly challenging art. But it’s considered an inspiring opportunity to create something entirely new. As brands look to step up the storytelling game, VR may provide many new hurdles to go through, but while some new technology can be seen as roadblocks, others dare to pave new roads… and we just have to see where this road takes us.


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