VR Headset. Source: Kickstarter.
Virtual reality — its applications are virtually unlimited. It’s a bit funny to think of something so futuristic and high-tech has implications in an old-school field of classical entertainment. 360 degree VR videomaking and cinematography is the latest and greatest thing. Yet, it is still in its infancy as an art form. As of right now, not everybody has taken it up.
Recently, in the United Kingdom, virtual reality headsets along with an impressive set of speakers have been implemented at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The orchestra spectators now have a VR system as a new possibility for experiencing the music along with the musical performers. According to Phys.org, it has been advocated that this VR tech “will transform the arts and entertainment industries.”
The greatest modern conductors and performers step onto the stage at the Royal Festival Hall. Many of the great pieces of classical music can be heard there, Mahler’s Third Symphony and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony among them. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, one of several permanent symphony orchestras based in the city, has high hopes for the new development.
This technology is optimistically expected to attract audiences to the classical performances, people who may have shown little to no interest previously. But now there’s VR involved. Luke Ritchie, the head of innovation for the Philharmonia, likes the idea and stated that it “allows you to step inside the orchestra…People who are new to orchestras, it totally changes their preconceptions.”
This particular use of VR is only a temporary test, however. Like the viewers of the film Bwana Devil back in 1953, watching the picture with their 3D glasses on, the headsets donned by the modern orchestra spectators may become a powerful way of experiencing entertainment in the future. In fact, since the VR devices are transportable, Phys.org says “live performances could be potentially beamed into cinemas.”
Whether it initially does what Philharmonia is looking for or not, this unique employment of VR tech is quite promising. Going forward in the 21st century, it’s likely it will almost certainly reshape the way in which people are entertained.