With all the immersive games, films and documentaries available, there are plenty of interesting VR experiences for your headset. Samsung wants to make sure you'll never run out, announcing today its "Pilot Season." It's a "new initiative aimed at infusing exclusive original episodic Virtual Reality content into the Samsung VR Video service," according to the company. Starting today, you'll be able to watch pilot episodes of six new series on the Gear VR, and who knows, you may find your new favorite binge there.
The six shows are varied in topic and format -- &Design is a docu-series that studies how design intersects with different aspects of life. There's also cartoon comedy Bro Bots, set in a Futurama-esque world, about two British police robots in the NYPD, as well as The Interpretation of Dreams, which reimagines Sigmund Freud's original case studies.
Having checked out all the pilots at a recent Tribeca Film Festival-related event in New York, I'm most intrigued by &Design -- its subject matter alone is fascinating (the first episode studies death and design), but it's also told in a compelling manner. I'd watch it as a regular TV show, although the show's makers do make good use of the VR format and space to bring details close to your eyes.
Samsung isn't simply curating and distributing these shows on its video portal -- it also funds them. Pilot Season gives grants to "a select set of indie filmmakers" to create original, exclusive content, and also offers them the opportunity to use Samsung's professional 360-degree camera the 360 Round.
Not all the shows are photo-realistic, though. Bro Bots, Lightcatcher and Voyages are animations, for example. To give you a better idea of what to expect, here's a list of the six series, as described by Samsung:
&Design (Sibling Rivalry and Curious Octopus)
An original episodic series about design that will change the way we look at the world. The series presents design in its intersection with science, technology and anthropology, weaving an array of items that link each episode by a universally humanistic theme. With renowned and charismatic design curator Paola Antonelli as our guide, the series will take audiences on a captivating, fun, and often surprising journey around the globe to reveal the stories of different projects and the Artists behind them. From designed objects we rely on but rarely think about, to bizarre inventions, to artifacts from other cultures, "&Design" will invite us to see the world in a new way.
Bro Bots (Breaking Fourth)
A scripted sci-fi comedy series in VR, set in a New York City of the future. In the not-so-distant future... robots are everywhere. They talk like us. They walk like us. And they have really big personalities. Two British robots – Otis and Roberto – arrive in New York and join the NYPD. Otis acts like a Downton Abbey butler. Roberto is rough and tough, from the other side of the tracks. They are best friends. Bro Bots is an irreverent, quirky, VR buddy-comedy series.
The Interpretation of Dreams (Graham Sack & Sensorium)
In 1899, Sigmund Freud published his magnum opus, The Interpretation of Dreams, which shocked the world and forever changed our understanding of dreams and the unconscious mind. This episodic narrative fiction series reimagines each of Freud's original case studies -- "the Ratman", "Dora", "Anna O", "Irma's Injection" -- as visually luxurious, psychologically complex, and emotionally haunting immersive VR dreamscapes. Each episode unfolds as a mystery to be solved. A patient arrives afflicted by a mysterious symptom -- insomnia, recurring nightmares, the inability to speak or swallow. In search of a cure, the viewer enters their dreams, which are populated by symbolic objects and characters with hidden meanings. Federico Fellini famously called film "a dream we dream with our eyes open." VR provides a vast new vocabulary for the exploration and visualization of the unconscious, from the construction of surreal landscapes to the distortion of time, space, perception, and physical law. Written and Directed by Graham Sack. Technical Direction by Sensorium. Original Composition by Tim Fain.
Lightcatcher (Occupied VR, RSA VR)
The Earth is evolving and digesting our human footprint. Now humanity has a choice—stay or leave. Lightcatcher is an odyssey that revolves around earth and its people in the year 2150. Get lost with five adventurers as they travel through unique environments—enduring hardships and triumphs in the new world. Explore subterranean caves, soar in zero-gravity and grapple sky high canyon walls. Lightcatcher is a young adult adventure saga that brings you on a journey combining elements of adventure, romance and sci-fi. The series is designed as a virtual reality franchise that will captivate a new generation of fans.
Sam's Surreal Gems (RSA VR, Hey Wonderful)
Set in a collection of real world locations, this fresh, funny and irreverent VR series directed by Sam Cadman challenges its viewers to spot eight surreal and unexpected Easter eggs hidden within each episode. Sam's Surreal Gems is the antithesis of overly familiar futuristic and fantastical VR, rather, this series will celebrate the truly entertaining and wonderfully funny possibilities within the real world already around us. Each set of surreal gems will have been carefully rehearsed and seamlessly choreographed so as to happen in a single uninterrupted take lasting no more than 2-3 minutes. These gems will be arranged so that they build in spectacle and scale, as well as darting around all 360 degrees of the VR space. The same troupe of actors will appear in each location/episode – playing their characters with a natural and understated ease.
Voyages - Pilot (Kaleidoscope)
A virtual reality animation that takes you on an epic journey from birth to death. Comprised of six distinct movements, Voyages – Pilot guides you through the emotional arc of an entire life. Experience what it feels like to be born, to grow up, to grow old, and to eventually die. The pilot features original music from Amon Tobin, Little Dragon, Jonny Greenwood, Elliot Cole and Roomful of Teeth.
If you have a Samsung Gear VR headset, you can go to the Oculus store and look for the Samsung VR Video service to find Pilot Season in the "Featured" section.
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