My 1st VR storytelling contest: I never would have expected this outcome…
I've been waiting for this since the day it was announced.
When I got the invitation email from one of the founders of Viond.io, the virtual reality company hosting this event, I knew it would be another step towards mastering storytelling.
The goal for all the contestants was simple: create the best virtual reality experience and you will win.
Finally, the moment has come. Diego and Rolf, the founders of Viond, opened the event and introduced us to the rules. We only had 7 hours, the experiences had to be created with the VR software by Viond and the content needed to be interactive.
The cool thing was the theme: every VR experience had to be around space exploration. I am a huge space fan and therefore, this motivated me even more to give my best.
Shortly after getting put together into random teams, my team and I started to think about how to create an awesome VR spectacle.
The challenge was though: How could we combine VR, the theme of space exploration and a good story altogether? And on top of that: How could we make the viewer part of the experience?
Trying to come up with a story, I remembered a conversation I had with a good friend of mine recently. He was asking me hypothetically:
“What would you do if you could go to Mars tomorrow but you could never come back?”
This kinda struck with me and I pitched this idea as a story for our VR experience to my team members.
“What if we created the following story:”
I said to my team.
“As a viewer within the VR experience, you receive a letter from a space agency. You were chosen among millions of people to colonize Mars. But you only had a couple days to make a decision and you will never come back to Earth. You start thinking about what a great adventure of a lifetime it would be, but also, what you will miss here on earth at the same time. You begin to have this inner conflict of making the right decision, pondering the good and the bad. You think about taking this opportunity, but also what it would feel like if you leave your family/friends forever.
At the end of the VR experience, the viewer will not be given an answer, but should be inspired to start a thought process within himself if this was a real scenario. It is an open ending the viewer itself can close.”
I didn´t have to wait long for a response. My team loved this idea.
* giving myself a clap on the shoulder * :-)
We started the creation process, lining out the complete storyline, filling in the details to make the story more viable and attention-holding. After doing countless rewritings to perfect the story, the content was ready.
However, we were so caught up in the story creation process that we totally forgot the time. We only had 90 minutes left to turn this story into VR, providing our message with a medium. Now I got really nervous.
To make the story visually as good as possible within this short period of time, we did the following:
We used a 360 degree video of space as the VR environment where the viewer is located. Then we filled it in with a couple of short video clips of everything relevant to the story, the things you will miss here on earth and the possible adventures you will experience when leaving. I also took the part of the narrator, guiding the viewer through the experience, telling the viewer the pros and cons of making a decision of going on this space journey.
What it looked like: