The past few decades have drastically changed how we interact with and within the world around us. The digital aspect of living has ingressed our lives, complementing the human living in every way that was once a fiction. While Venice Immersive showcases the convergence of emergent and immersive tech with film and entertainment industry, metaverse gives it a whole new ‘immersive’ dimension.
The metaverse, with its potential to create immersive and interactive narratives, is poised to revolutionise how we consume and participate in movies. While the traditional 2D experience of films involved audiences sitting back and watching the unfolding story on a screen, the metaverse introduces a new dimension: an immersive one. It allows viewers to step into the narrative, interact with characters, and even shape the storyline. This shift from spectatorship to active engagement has the potential to redefine the very essence of storytelling.
The Venice International Film Festival, a pioneer in embracing emerging technologies, has introduced the Venice Immersive Selection. This program showcases projects that merge cinematic storytelling with immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Extended Reality (XR).
By converging these technologies, the festival is redefining the cinematic experience, propelling it into a new era where audience participation blurs the lines between fiction and reality.
What is metaverse and how is it going to transform the film and entertainment industry?
The metaverse constitutes a digital realm established on the internet, characterized by the utilization of three-dimensional virtual environments. Within this digital landscape, individuals are granted the ability to craft personalized avatars or characters to serve as their digital embodiments. These avatars can then be positioned within virtual spaces, offering users the capacity to interact with them through hardware such as Virtual Reality (VR) tools.
This immersive environment provides a platform where users can not only engage in various activities but also immerse themselves in diverse forms of artistic expression and visual entertainment, encompassing even the realm of cinema.
Effectively, this means that an 'avatar' can traverse through virtually created environments like a museum, an amusement park, an exhibition gallery, or even cinema halls.
Within the metaverse, filmmakers have unprecedented tools at their disposal. They can create dynamic and interactive worlds, offering viewers agency to explore various story paths and perspectives. Imagine watching a film where you can follow different characters, make decisions that impact the plot, or even explore the fictional environment at your own pace. This level of immersion not only enhances engagement but also creates a sense of connection and ownership over the narrative.
Pooja Entertainment, an Indian production house, has acquired virtual land, named Poojaverse, in the metaverse for its upcoming project, Radhe Shyam, starring Prabhas, a popular Indian actor.
Metaverse in entertainment: Beyond Filmmaking
The metaverse's influence extends beyond the movie-watching experience. Film promotions and marketing campaigns leverage this technology to create interactive preludes to movies, offering audiences a taste of the story world and characters before the film's release.
Additionally, the metaverse presents opportunities for fan engagement, enabling them to participate in virtual premieres, attend Q&A sessions with virtual avatars of filmmakers and actors, and even step into iconic film scenes. Ariana Grande's Rift Tour in Fortnite was an in-game live music event, which also featured Travis Scott and Marshmello in the metaverse music.
Metaverse and films: The future
As the metaverse continues to evolve, it poses exciting possibilities and challenges for the film industry. Filmmakers must adapt their creative processes to accommodate the interactivity that the metaverse offers. Storylines need to be more adaptable, branching, and nonlinear, catering to the diverse choices viewers may make. Furthermore, the integration of immersive technologies requires filmmakers to collaborate with experts in fields such as virtual world design, user experience, and interactive storytelling.
The Venice Immersive Selection at the Venice International Film Festival exemplifies how immersive technologies can be seamlessly integrated into cinematic experiences. As we venture further into this digital universe, filmmakers have the unique opportunity to create dynamic, interactive narratives that captivate and engage audiences in unprecedented ways, pushing the boundaries of storytelling as we know it.