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What’s Next after Cardboard Crash, VR Cinema? Talking to NFB’s Vincent McCurley

11 Jan

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Virtual Reality (VR) is making further steps into the mainstream this year, and Vincent McCurley, Creative Technologist of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), knows how to make an experience in this field matter. His work, Cardboard Crash, is only a beginning in exploring what this technology can do. It is not always about smoke and mirrors. The applications range from use in drawing in the third dimension to medical imaging — one day, doctors might be able to perform emergency surgery in the virtual space because they can’t get to the hospital in time. While its use in the entertainment forefront is getting the most attention at shows like the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show which wrapped last weekend and at film festivals there’s more to this technology than meets the eye.

“It’s really about putting the audience in a position where they feel like they’re actually in that world. My program came out of that core idea of what makes VR different than any other medium,” said McCurley.

Ultimately, VR is the computer mediation of our senses. A truly immersive experience makes what’s presented by wearing that headset completely indistinguishable from reality to an image on a computer. A suspension of disbelief is required and a willingness to be entertained (or shocked) by the computer program creates part of the fun. For this particular application, this software engineer and filmmaker created, it explores a topic that academia is interested in. It’s a subject worth exploring when considering Google wants to put self-driving cars on the market. The future is looking dangerous.

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