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“We Met in Virtual Reality”- A Groundbreaking Feature Film Shot Entirely in a Social VR Platform

An experimental docu-feature, shot entirely in VRChat, showcases the potential of social VR technology and its impact on social and emotional relationships.

 

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has robbed the world of many a luxury that was commonplace before the virus hit us hard. But at the same time, the world has been introduced to a number of innovations that were truly unheard of before. This is especially relevant in the space of technology. And as an emerging technology, virtual reality has become one of the strongest contenders in this field. During the global lockdown and physical distancing protocols, VR technology has served as an instrumental tool to keep social interactions alive. And the pinnacle of such efforts is seen in an unprecedented work of art, a documentary shot entirely on a social VR platform.

Titled We Met in Virtual Reality, this 90-minute feature film was shot in VRChat, one of the most popular social VR platforms today. It narrates the story of five individuals, who met through some common VR communities on the platform, in their own voice. The story moves forward as the characters deal with friendship, romance, and self-discovery in the real as well as the virtual world.

Filmed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the movie was shot entirely in virtual reality. Joe Hunting, the director of the film, spent hours on the social VR platform using the pathbreaking technology called Hirabiki’s VRCLens. It is essentially a virtual camera with a cinematic quality that captures candid moments of the members of VRCHat as they strived to cope with the lockdown using social VR.

Hunting is also a filmmaker in the real world. He turned to VRChat to find real people who used social VR platforms to satisfy their emotional and social needs during the physical distancing protocol. During the process, he met a community of VRChat users who genuinely cared for others and wanted to give back to the community that helped them deal with the tough times.

As Hunting recounts, the film is an attempt to represent the immersive journey through virtual reality and the various communities in it. Each member that you will see in this film is unique in their own ways and tell different stories. Through their perspectives, the film tries to encapsulate what virtual reality means to the members of the communities and how social VR could impact social and emotional relationships with each other, as well as within themselves.

Despite using the cutting-edge innovation that VR technology offers today, the film never really focuses on the technology behind it; rather it explores the human side of VR. The film’s story primarily follows the lives of five different people and how they use social VR to connect with other members of the community around the world. Each of the characters is addressed by their avatar names and at no point in the film do we get to know their real identities.

We Met in Virtual Reality is now submitted to several film festivals, including Sundance, Glasgow International, SXSW Films, and Dublin International Film Festival.

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