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Facebook, Cannes And The Future Of Entertainment

Facebook, Cannes And The Future Of Entertainment

Technology-focused Gene Munster peeked into another realm of reality last week at the Cannes Film Festival and discovered filmmakers eagerly awaiting progress in virtual reality.

The new medium is expected to transform storytelling by more fully immersing viewers in an alternate world, provoking subsequently deeper empathy and enhancing audience engagement with possible “choose-your-own-adventure frameworks.”

“Any one of these three warrants a paradigm shift in film, but all three will happen in time,” the managing director of Loup Ventures wrote in a Friday note.

The VR Timeline

However, the time is not necessarily now. Established filmmakers are presently disinclined to invest in virtual reality due to the high cost and time to “retrofit theaters.”

Their aspiring successors “will take an all-in approach,” though. Munster noted that Cannes was rife with “startup storytellers” incorporating virtual reality into their work, largely encouraged by the termination of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)’s Oculus Story Studio, which makes way for lesser-equipped competitors while providing opportunity for them to partner with the innovative tech giant. “Facebook’s efforts will now be focused on supporting external VR content creators,” Munster said.

When it grows into its own, virtual reality is expected not to supplant but to supplement traditional film media, particularly in a marketing capacity. For example, fans could more deeply interact with a scene through 360-degree smartphone content or 15-minute, large-scale brand experiences, the latter of which Munster values between $10 and $30 per episode. Film promotions could also evolve through theater lobby experiences.

The Hardware Hassle

Virtual reality and the changes it allows are largely stunted by present equipment.

With Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC Vive technology priced above $1,000 and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)’s Daydream at $700, the endeavor is expensive. Not only that, but users are disenchanted by the uncomfortable bulkiness and sickness-inducing resolution of headsets, which limit episodes to about 15 minutes.

A price decline and improved user experience necessarily precede massive industry disruption. “We see hardware as the gating factor to VR film adoption,” Munster wrote.

He noted the gaming industry as an early harbinger of film transformation.

“Gamers will be early adopters given they are the largest segment of Rift and Vive users,” he said. “Many of the tools that game developers use to build VR environments will be used by VR storytellers.”

Related Links:

What Facebook’s Brain-To-Text Project Would Do To The Economy, Tech Industry

Munster: Apple Is Taking Baby Steps Into Augmented Reality

Snap’s Pain Is Augmented Reality’s Gain, According To Gene Munster
Image Credit: "Karishma Naina Sharma at Cannes 2016" By Karishmawiki - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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