|Montreal = FANTASIA, MEAT & VR|
CFC MEDIA LAB - VR @ Fantasia 2016
By Greg Klymkiw
With the assistance, sponsorship and programming expertise of the CFC Media Lab at Uncle Norman (In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck) Jewison's Canadian Film Centre, the 2016 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal hosted The Samsung Fantasia Virtual Reality Experience.
Several of the films in the series proved to be first-rate stand-alone pieces: Remember by Australia’s George Kacevski was a chilling experiential piece involving a woman’s conversation with a computer that is erasing all her memories; Anthony C. Ferrante, famed director of Sharknado 1, 2, 3 and 4 delivered the best of the VR pieces - Killer Deal, a grimly hilarious bloodbath set in a hotel room during a machete salesman convention; and Australia’s Nathan Anderson gave us the wholly immersive and interactive reinvention of the great genre of the 40s and 50s with the post-modern VR NOIR. The Samsung Fantasia Virtual Reality Experience also featured two terrific new productions from the CFC Media Lab: Body Mind Change Redux Teaser and The Closet (both produced by CFC Media Lab Topper Ana Serrano).
As cool as VR is, the technology to deliver the product to its viewers, still needs some modification. The Samsung headsets are comfortable enough, but they are not especially conducive to people who wear glasses, nor are they ideal for those (like me) who sweat like pigs. To the former, I chucked my eyeglasses and used the headset focus to bring the picture into view. This seemed to work fine, only I was seeing a strange mesh-like backdrop which I assume was there because I couldn’t focus to my ideal vision.
To the latter, I was often sweating under the headset and this caused fogging.
Needless to say, this was a tad annoying, especially when immersive interaction was required. The fogging issue is not the end of the world, though. I suggest Samsung build in a de-fogger/defrost system within the viewers. Gentle cold air pumping in would not only clear the screen, but provide a sensual experience for the viewer. This would also add a fetishistic element for those so inclined. After all, who doesn’t enjoy having their eyelids caressed by someone gently blowing upon them?
Ah, but this is mere technology and I suspect the bugs will be worked out (if they haven’t already been). VR is the future and then some. To say the experience was inspirational, wildly entertaining and at times, almost heart stopping, would be an understatement. Participation in the films was to participate on the ground floor of the future and I was mega excited to discuss VR in all its glory with Serrano.
My interview with her can be found on the CFC website HERE.