James Cameron: Oculus Rift Is Kind Of A Yawner

Technology obsessed director isn’t all that impressed

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Avatar Director James Cameron, who has built a career on pushing the edge of the cinematic technological envelope has a very different view when it comes to Facebook‘s Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset. Speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference in California this week, the Titanic director said that while there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the new VR headset, he considers it rather dull.

It seems there’s a lot of excitement around something that to me is just a yawn. None of these ideas are new. – James Cameron on the Oculus Rift

Experiencing the Interstellar Oculus Rift event; photo credit: Taylor DeRuvo

It is quite ironic that the director who may be almost as influential in how filmmakers approach their craft as George Lucas, wouldn’t be all that thrilled with a virtual reality interface which could be the future of cinema. After all, his entire Avatar saga is based on the premise of existing within the virtual world.

But for Cameron, the technology is really old hat. Virtual Reality has been talked about for twenty years, and it was only within the last few years that the technology has matured to the point that it could be a part of the entertainment consciousness. And for Cameron, it’s an everyday thought.

“I think about VR every day. I’m seeing characters in a virtual world.”

Cameron has tried out the device, and seems to think it has some sort of interest for the every day world. “It’s a good price point,” he admitted, “a good display.”

But he also says he more interested in cameras that can shoot in 360 degrees and can allow users to move around inside the filmed environment that he presents. Cameron also pointed out that while Hollywood seems to love the profits generated by releasing 3D films in theaters, but 3D simply hasn’t taken off in the home for the every day user.

Citing the stalled interest in 3D TVs, and that the technology hasn’t adapted to the mobile world as quick as he’d like it, the director says that it will take something groundbreaking like a 3D iPad to get people to embrace stereoscopic in their everyday life.

The Jaunt 360 degree camera

His hesitations for the Oculus Rift aside, Cameron is busy at work bringing the next three chapters of his Avatar saga to the big screen. Although Avatar isn’t going to harness this kind of technology, he is planning on shooting in high frame rates, much like Hobbit director Peter Jackson, and some believe he may go as high as 120 fps. That seems a lot to me, but for Avatar, it could lend to the storytelling process, since the whole premise of the story takes place inside a virtual and real alien environment.

The ultra sharp CGI that will result from such high frame rates could actually benefit the story, whereas, for The Hobbit, it has been somewhat of a distraction, in my opinion.

Still, whether Cameron shoots with it someday or not, perhaps we may see Avatar released in an Oculus edition, and then we’ll see Cameron’s true feelings come out on the technology. Course by then, it may be old hat, just like he says it is.

Hat Tip – Mashable

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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