News & Information
[REPORT] My first VR film experience! I went to LEXUS MEETS…! June 17th, Hibiya Venue
This is Tamami Inoue, a film festival volunteer writer.
On Saturday, the 17th, I went to experience VR videos at LEXUS MEETS… on the first floor of Midtown Hibiya that just opened this spring.
The venue of LEXUS MEETS… has 4 chairs for VR 360° Programs 1–5 and 1 VR interactive, so 5 people can experience VR at the same time. I experienced the VR 360° Program 2 on the one seater rotating chair. On this day, there were around 30 people waiting for the venue to open at 11:00 to try the much-talked-about VR experience. The runtime varies among programs, but it’s around 20–30 minutes. Setting up and putting on the device also take time, so you may want to choose your program beforehand for a smoother experience.
First, a staff hands you a mask-like cover to wear around your eyes. Then, the staff checks the display of the VR device, and finally, you wear the VR device. Once you fix it with a headband so the letters displayed inside come into focus, you wear the headphones. Then you select a program number with a remote control, and it starts.
Program 2, which I chose, contained 3 videos.
The first, “Remember” was a story about a woman experiencing a VR of her past memories. I myself was watching this through a VR experience, so it felt strangely as if I was the woman. It was only 3 minutes long, but it had a bittersweet ending.
The second, “Sergent James” , started with me wondering, “What? Where am I? It’s dark in here…” and rotating my chair. Then, I discovered a toy! I started looking around, listening to sounds, and trying to understand the situation when I realized that I myself was a part of the story.
The one I enjoyed most was the third, “コズミックフロント☆NEXT南米星空編”. There was a floating reflection of the starry sky in the middle of the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, which I always wanted to visit. All around me was a majestic view of the endless starry sky and the beautiful lake, and I literally had this 360° world all to myself! The Milky Way in the sky, the stars beside me, the lake below, it was like a luxurious planetarium! I rotated my chair and turned my face in all directions and leisurely savored the view.
This kind of full-body visual experience is a unique feature of VR. Watching movies on large screens and privately watching movies on your TV, computer, or smartphone, each have their value. But I think VR is a device that will further expand the potential of new visuals, and it also taught me how to enjoy this new visual world. The venue is open until next Sunday, the 24th, so do experience this new and wonderful visual world! They have many interesting videos featuring Ultraman, ghosts, dolphins, and animations, so do check them out!
[written by Tamami Inoue]