For over 100 years we’ve seen various advances in cinema technology, all aiming to immerse audiences further than before. As filmmakers increasingly experiment transitioning from 2D to 4D, the latest innovation to push the limits of cinema are the forecasted introduction of VR theatres – and we can’t wait to find out what’s in store.

Virtual Reality has undeniably taken the world by storm in the past few years, developing significantly in gaming technology such as large-scale VR experiences and readily available commercial headsets. We were excited to learn that VR company ‘Dreamscape Immersive’ have recently announced their partnership with the worlds largest cinema chain AMC Entertainment, signalling many more progressions to come. There are plans to set up 6 “virtual reality multiplexes” in the coming 18 months in both the US and the UK, with the first VR multiplex opening in Los Angeles in the first quarter of 2018.

At a Comic Con event this year Steven Spielberg debuted the trailer for his new film “Ready Player One”, depicting a society engulfed by a captivating virtual reality spurred by the decline of the earth as we know it. The release of this bold film (due to reach cinemas in 2018) looks set to follow these virtual reality trends. In his own words, Spielberg predicts the future of VR in film as coming "whether we like it or not".

At Cannes Film Festival this year, a virtual reality project by Alejandro Iñárritu (director of Birdman and The Revenant) was a breakout success. The 6-minute film titled ‘Carne Y Arena’ (Flesh and Sand) vividly depicts the struggles and violence illegal immigrants face at the Mexican border. The VR film meets raving reviews, claiming the experience is a much more dynamic and intense experience than it’s predecessors of previous years. The subject embarks on the experience bare foot in an immense space the size of a tennis court, and find themselves instantly plunged into the vast, hostile wasteland facing intimidating and sometimes terrifying conflicts.

Translation: Flesh and Sand (Virtually present, Physically invisible)

As these progressions in the visual sector of Virtual Technology continue to develop, we can’t help but begin to question where this will bring audio in years to come and what new possibilities this may provide us with audio post production. Companies such as Google have already reportedly made significant steps in experimentation with binaural audio, allowing editors to give listeners a truly realistic spatial audio experience by replicating how sound waves interact with the environment and the listener’s head and ears. Constructing VR film offers the opportunity to record the sounds and then further edit it to accurately determine which quadrant the sound should appear louder.

The video below gives an interesting insight to developments so far in this fresh approach to binaural sound:

We’re excited to see where these developments will bring us next!