Virtual Cinema:
Exploring Cinematic Concepts in a Virtual Environment




The space is called ActiveRoom. At first glance, it appears on the outside to be just a normal room – relatively cubic with blue-colored walls and an inviting greencopper door. I enter the space, and am confronted by an empty corridor with a woodpaneled dividing wall to my right. Just a regular everyday space, I think to myself. Upon proceeding down the corridor and around a bend, however, I come across the first unusual sight – a room divider stands propped up in the corner, just like the ones people used to use to change their clothes behind in old-fashioned movies, but this divider is textured differently. In fact, instead of fabric, the divider appears to be made out of a living movie! Every aspect of the divider’s surface projects a film in normal playback, just as if the movie was a part of the furniture’s construction!


After continuing to explore the room, I come across other such oddities. There’s a lamp shade showing a movie of a car-chase! There’s a trashcan showing leaves blowing in the wind! The picture hanging on the wall, which first appeared to be just a normal oil painting, upon closer inspection actually turns out to be a movie of a waterfall in a lush tropical landscape!


Just as my body begins to slip further into the immersive nature of this strange cinematic experience, I grudgingly remember that this is all just a dream. A dream? Well, no, not a dream. But none of it, not the movies, not the furniture, not even the room itself, is real…


The purpose of this essay is to explore ideas around creating a cinematic experience in a virtual environment. I begin by surveying and discussing existing Virtuality Reality (VR) technologies to analyze their potential for implementing a form of interactive cinema that would exist in a virtual environment. The final section of this essay discusses an example of a virtual environment (VE) model, implemented in Muse, a 3D browser, for a virtual cinema experience.



Copyright © 2007 Adrian Jones