ARKAMYS Thoughts on VR: Michael Morgenstern

Today, award-winning director Michael Morgenstern chimes in on the ARKAMYS Thoughts on VR series.

Posted 04/10/2017 on The future of sound

Continuing our exciting series of VR interviews, Michael Morgenstern, a director whose award-winning works have been screened in over 70 film festivals worldwide, shares some of the wisdom he has gained about virtual reality and where he thinks it’s headed next.

ARKAMYS: Tell us about your involvement in the VR industry.

Michael Morgenstern: I’ve been directing VR for several years now. I tend to focus on directing but have built camera rigs, stitched, edited, and composited/done effects. I saw a few VR projects at Sundance in 2014 and was amazed at the immersiveness and possibility for engaging people. I like stretching my brain to tell stories in different ways, and enjoy the technical challenges in pushing existing technology.

ARKAMYS: What makes for an excellent virtual reality experience?

MM: The first question when clients ask me to create a VR experience is, why does this HAVE to be in virtual reality? VR experiences are great when they utilize the format not because the creator wants to, but because they are telling a story that can only be told in VR. Most 360º videos aren’t doing that.

The weakness with 360º video now, and for the immediate future, is that you can’t move around. This limitation makes it difficult to make the immersion work. I’ve seen it done a few times, but you need a very specific concept that fits those limitations. I look forward to working with live action videos that you can move around in.

ARKAMYS: Why is audio so important for truly immersive VR? ​

MM: Audio has always been what completes the experience of a film. It’s a common adage in filmmaking that a lower quality video with excellent audio comes across as high quality.

Audio provides subtle cues for realness and environment. It’s also closer to a perfect experience than most VR video is able to come, so it bridges the gap between video and reality a little bit more.

ARKAMYS: What do you think is next for VR, AR, and 360 audio?

MM: I think we’ll see platforms support more and more complex standards for audio, and we’ll start developing conventions for placing audio in the 360º sphere.

Want to learn more about Michael Morgenstern’s upcoming projects? Check them out on Everything is Film or on Facebook or Twitter!

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