Can I cry in this headset? The world’s first VR cinema is ironing out the kinks

You’re starting on page 2 of this, click here to start at the beginning.
vr cinema berlin viktor richardsson digital trends 15
Viktor Richardsson

What’s on tap?

As I take my seat and strap on my headset, I’m advised to watch the Horror package “because it shows off the best virtual reality effects.” Meanwhile, the Docu-fiction is “interesting but less immersive.”

I opt for both.

Classifying the Horror films as “Horror” is a bit generous. They’re creepy or chock-full of jump scares, and, yeah, I’m squirming during the first film, but there’s no lingering unease, no haunted dreams or trauma once the headset comes off. Two of the shorts do stand out though.

VR Cinema is a business, not a social project.

In Sonar you’re launched from a mothership in deep space, towards an asteroid for what becomes a search-and-rescue mission with a twist. The plot never fully develops, but the film is visually impressive and one of the more immersive in the package.

Catatonic is a wheelchair-bound journey through an insane asylum where you meet fellow residents like the masturbating man and rabid little girl, among other unsavory characters. If any of the horror films ingrain into your brain, it’s this one.

On the Docu-fiction front, The Pursuit of Happiness: Farah introduces you to the unfamiliar surroundings of a displaced, 12-year-old Syrian girl as she narrates her family’s refugee experience.

Witness 360: 7/7 follows the story of the 2005 London train bombing, recounted by a survivor.

But as insightful and emotionally moving as the Docu-fiction films are, they feel out of place in a cinema that’s unapologetically branded as a place for entertainment, not an arthouse or museum.

Viktor Richardsson
Viktor Richardsson

Berlin’s Location Manager, Michael Yosef, says this became apparent when one of their packages featured the aptly named In Your Face, a 12-minute self-produced film that forces the viewer to confront the real world ramifications of the refugee crisis when a young Syrian girl appears at the doorstep asking for shelter.

“[In Your Face] was just too heavy for some people. They would come into the cinema really excited and then they’d see this heavy content about refugees and it would be too much. That’s why we changed our whole content package – so that everyone who comes to the cinema can leave with a good feeling.”

Immersive experiences like these have been shown to increase empathy and even help treat psychological conditions such as severe paranoia. But, the VR Cinema is a business, not a social project. When they pay, “people prefer to be entertained,” Yosef said.


From PUBG to Apex Legends, this is how battle royale happened

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in Twitch streaming and eSports.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

Samsung files a VR patent featuring a curved OLED display

Doubling down on its emphasis on curved displays, Samsung recently filed a design patent for a new virtual reality headset that could feature a curved OLED display, which would be an interesting development in VR.

Bringing realism to VR is complex, but these developers found a way in holograms

Making virtual reality feel real is the hardest job of all VR developers. For Awake: Episode One, StartVR used volumetric recording, rather than motion capture, to bring its characters to life like never before.

HP’s high-resolution VR headset provides comfort and Windows Mixed Reality

HP's new VR headset reportedly offers an exceptionally high resolution, highlights comfort and runs on Windows Mixed Reality. HP hasn't officially announced the new headset, but here's a look at some of its features.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.

Here’s how to watch Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 press conference

It is widely believed that Microsoft's WMC conference will be the stage for the unveiling of the next generation of its HoloLens mixed reality headset. We have the live stream right here.

Microsoft unveils $3,500 HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019. Here’s what you need to know

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.

Nissan designers use HaptX VR gloves to shape future cars

New car designs usually start out as clay before becoming metal, but designers are now swapping clay for pixels. Nissan is using virtual reality gloves from HaptX that give designers a tactile feel of virtual models.
2 of 4