Today at SXSW virtual reality production studio UNLTD dropped the teaser-trailer for its science fiction television series Trinity. That by itself isn't too notable, except that the entire series was filmed in interactive volumetric style and will be presented in 360 degree virtual reality. Trinity could be leading the way to a new age of interactive television.
Remember that movie Gamer? It's kind of like that but not, you are only an observer. The series will be five fifteen minute episodes, all platform agnostic so it can be viewed on any virtual reality headset. At a SXSW panel discussion hosted by Planet Quebec, UNLTD CEO Josh Hamilton focused on the challenges of filming for virtual reality. Not just creating the VR camera rigs or visual effects, but scripting for a 360 degree environment that would allow the viewer a continuous experience.
"To produce Trinity, UNLTD developed a proprietary camera in order to capture and create a truly interactive entertainment experience," said Hamilton. "Using volumetric, 360 and live-action technologies, we are able to allow viewers to move around within an episode of Trinity in a way that hasn’t been seen before in virtual reality."
As for the series itself, it appears to be something straight from the SyFy Channel playbook. Trinity takes place in a future where humans are extinct and the last surviving humanoid androids are fighting a war against a singularity, their God. It's too early to judge based on the trailer alone, but it's hard to form emotional bonds with androids even if I can zoom around them in 3D.
It should be noted the trailer is presented in 2D but will be available to watch in VR in a few months.
Trinity is being written and produced by Hamilton, with UNLTD executive team Sébastien Gros and Robert Boulos assisting director Patrick Boivin with their years of combined production and 3D camera shooting experience. The pilot is set to be released later this year.
The notable thing here is less the hokey science fiction film that seems to be in production and more the technology and entertainment impact of it all. A television show that you can move around in as if you are Sam Wheat aching to sculpt some clay? That's pretty freaking awesome.
Just imagine being able to move around your favorite sitcom, cop show and so on (obviously with a radius limited to the main characters. Though, creating an immersive world where you could walk away from the action might not be out of the question, just really in-depth. There will always be some doors you can't open.
It will be interesting to see if UNLTD pulls off Trinity and if it opens the doors for more companies to attempt a similar project. Virtual reality certainly could use some fresh concepts before it goes the way of Smell-O-vision.