Director Chuck Chae and his team are developing a new movie framework that inputs audience reactions via brainwave detection. Courtesy of STUDIO CHUCK / LOOXID LABS
Director Chuck Chae, who recently received the prestigious Best Virtual Reality Experience Award for the interactive film "Buddy VR" at this year's Venice International Film Festival, says virtual reality filmmaking is still in its initial stages and has many barriers to overcome in order to become mainstream entertainment.
"Buddy VR" is a 15-minute movie where the audience interacts with a friendly mouse character named Buddy from the animation series "Nut Job." The story is played out through numerous interactions, creating a bond between the viewer and the mouse.
Director Chuck Chae
"My work 'Buddy VR' is only the tip of the iceberg of what the interactive VR storytelling can do. There are infinite ways to do interactive storytelling and have a crazy experience with this platform," he told The Korea Times.
He believes the small inconveniences of VR, such as the need for a head-mounted display and the use of controllers to interact with the characters in the film, is the main factor preventing it from gaining mainstream popularity.
"There needs to be a lot of work and time put in, and I believe it will take at least a decade for people to adapt to VR movies or another big boom to appeal to regular consumers. However, the industry will continue to use VR technology in various fields including medical, architecture and theme parks," the director added.
Chae says his team is working on a new movie interactive framework that uses electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which monitors brainwaves to input audience interactions to the film without the use of gadgets.
"For EEG film, we are using a bit of a machine learning to study the audience within the scene, and then we are using brainwaves to get bio-feedback from the viewers and figure out their feelings and reactions," he said.
Through the EEG movie experience, a character's next move in the film will be dictated by the emotion of the majority of the spectators in the theater. The characters have diverse reactions, which Chuck says will help the viewers to better engage and direct how the story pans out.
The EEG movie experience could replace the current gap of the technology milestone in artificial intelligence (AI) or perfectly convenient VR, he added.
The EEG technology has not yet been successfully applied in filmmaking, but Chae says he could come out with an interactive movie using the technology in the next two years. However, he added that it will only be a small leap forward in what the technology has to offer in the future.
Chae is also one of five nominees for Best Visual Effects for "Detective Dee 3" at the Taipei Golden Horse Awards Festival set for Nov. 17 and is set to premiere his first commercial feature film, "The Lapse," Dec. 11.