The movie poster has come a long way. More often than not, posters suck. They lack imagination, effort, any sort of artistry and generally just want to shove the lead/s in your face with a slight blue hue. There was a time when the movie poster was a big deal, when there was some real art behind creating the poster. Occasionally, someone will drag Drew Struzan out of retirement and we get another masterpiece, but until then we usually have to put up with the same old floating heads.
So I got to thinking. What is the movie poster equivalent in VR. Is there such a thing, SHOULD there be something? Is this going to lead to more spammy pop-ups, except these popups are going to be in VR.
One of the great things about WebVR is that VR content can just be added retrospectively to the web as it exists today, natively embedded into content and as 360° digital art grows, I can’t help but think about how movie poster might be shared in this fashion. Im not the worlds biggest fan of fad-driven marketing, but I am a fan of movies and I see that whilst I am also someone who is tired of endless trailers, sneak peaks and 5 minute scenes that we are pounded with months before the movie comes out, I do think that this is an area that could use VR to bring a little magic back to movie experience.
My experiment was to do something small but effective, so I started with the poster. The poster should act as the portal to the universe that the movie exists and VR gives us that opportunity.
I started with the idea of bringing a poster to life somehow. I experimented with making 360° image from the poster and putting it in a simple sphere but it needed something a bit more. I tried going super complex, taking screenshots from the trailer and editing the existing posters to combine them and make one massive poster with various elements on different planes, but my photoshop-fu isn’t that good and it didn’t look as good as it did in my head. In the end I went with something simpler, something that could get the idea across and not take me hours.
Below are the results.
Try out the VR Poster (milage may vary)
The great thing about doing this in WebVR and not packaging up a native application is that it can be embedded in a website for people to discover and use even if they don’t have a headset to support it.
Making this poster didn’t come as easy as hoped and the biggest pain in the mobileVR world is none other that MobileIE — otherwise know as Mobile Safari.
I can’t even begin to name the issues with Mobile safari without this becoming a longer post than expected. The biggest problem would be inline video. As far as I am concerned, Mobile Safari get the ‘progressively degraded’ experience; They get no trailer. I could get Safari working fine IF I hosted the video on the same domain, but then loading times are compromised (I wanted the large image and video to be on a CDN for speed and convenience) — so, they get no video. Im sure once apple decide to release a VR capable phone, with a headset (that probably requires a new dongle) then they’ll probably start making the browser even worse in order to support their VR app store — because thats what Apple does.
Beyond this simple use of this idea you could dive a bit deeper and add 3D models from the movie (even going as far to using any actual models that were used to make the film) and additional interactive content — but I’d like to see the interaction kept light, just giving film fans a little something extra, like DVD commentaries.
I think next movie poster to tackle would be the upcoming Ghost In The Shell movie with ScarJo.
Shaun is 50% of Studio Zero and in 2017 we’re going full VR…be sure to share this article and follow us for more updates :)