The Black Mirror series ignite people’s pursuit and reflection on unbelievable technologies while Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them created another round of visual miracles in the magic world. Made-in-Britain to some extent is a label of refined content with cutting-edge thinking and innovative technologies. Last year marks the starting of British-sino culture communication golden age, and the innovative industry from the two countries are seeking new partnership as well. Recently, UK Department for International Trade teamed with Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television to host the British-Sino Creative Innovators Forum and over 150 corporate executives came to Shanghai for exchange and communication, including top medias like BBC Global, ITV Studios, Framestore, iQIYI, SMG and JiangSu TV Station.
At the forum, VR without a hitch is the most concerned topic.
Framestore is the European special effect giant and has recently participated in the production of two block busters Dr. Strange and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Its Chief Creative Officer Mike McGee revealed that the studio is about to test the VR technology:”After a film is produced, the customers always want more additional content.” In his vision, one day in the future, audience can wear the VR headset and walked into Harry Porter’s world: “Turn right and you can ride the roller coaster with your friends. We are able to create the history and memory for emotions and it is the most exciting creating direction. ” And he firmly believes that in the near future, VR will have an explosive market, but how to realize it and how to find a path for fine narrative still need long exploration, “at least five years.”
For British International Trade Department Innovative Industry Specialist Tony Hughes, VR is a brand new field and an immature industry, something similar to the internet in the 90s. At that time, people know nothing about the concept and the standard of Internet and it is not until the emerge of a series of protocols that Internet started to develop healthily. Now the door to VR has opened, and it might lead to a revolution in people’s way of living, but currently there are still a lot to think about. He noticed that in VR field, Chinese partners are different from American or European counterparts: “The opportunities the Chinese care about are those direct investment or acquisition opportunities. Other countries might want to utilize the British talent to develop, while the Chinese prefer to directly utilize the mature and verified VR technology.” Actually there is no such technology in VR filed now, and the related enterprises in Britain only started VR technology development a few years now ago.
According to the introduction from iQIYI Chief Content Officer Wang XiaoHui, the current offline VR experience center in China are just prototypes. From products, management to the cash-ability of products are all pretty weak. Online transmission is very jerky due to the fact that the network from domestic operators are not flat enough and cannot support high resolution video transmission. In terms of terminal, 90% of domestic consumers still use cheap equipments, which affect the overall movie experience and consumption time. Even so, Wang XiaoHui still agree that “VR is the ultimate media”: “We can finally become an actual master of a scene. You can totally immerse into the scene according to your own view point and emotional appeal. You cannot tell whether VR is ‘virtual’ or ‘real’. When the internet first emerges, we discovered that everything about it is unreal, but in the end it is the reality.”
With VR technology drawing so much attention from filming industry, doubts and reflections turns up as well. Film scholar Dai Jinghua once quoted from an American educator that: “The problem of this round of technology revolution lies in the fact that it is without discussion and resistance. The digital technology are not only re-structuring the society, but also enhancing and changing the function of movies. Movies have become a stimulant and a placebo and depend more and more on technologies.” In her point of view, the development of new technology media is so rapid that the world lacks real discussion or resistant force.
In Britain among the VR technology development innovators, there exist a similar anxiety. Holovis CEO Stuart Hetherington remind people the negative affect of VR on human with his own experience: “When I was developing the VR dynamic system, I presented it to the customers for a week, 12 hours a day. And later people started to ask me what’s wrong with your eyes? Actually I had contusion in my eye tissues which led to bloodshot eyes. And it is just because I was always working in this new visual system.” And the impact are not just physical, it also affect people physiologically. He once have several case studies and found out that violent content etc. in VR games can result in an emotional or behavioral change.
The founder of Satore Studio Tupac Martir is most concerned about the impact VR will have on social interaction: “People have spent a lot of time on mobile phones and Facebooks, they lack face to face interactions.” One of his friend is addicted to games every weekend and Martir worries that in the future VR will become the second life with headset for people. “People will not go to park or go out any more, they won’t talk to their friend any more and it is horrible.” When interviewed by China Business Network, Dai Jinghua also mentioned about the problem of virtual cinema replacing real cinema. She thinks the social and physiological effect brought by watching film together cannot be replaced by virtual cinema and she hopes that cinema can continue to exist as a social space instead of being disassembled to the private home. But for VR, she also added that just as the application of any technology, the decisive social factor and the final social impact is always a variate, It is unpredictable, so we have to observe and think while we move ahead.