When we go to watch a movie, we sit in a relatively comfy seat, snacks in hand, watching a screen as big as a house (probably) on which we see stories come to life. Complete with surround sound and, in some select cinemas, special 4D effects to create unique experiences. Cinema has changed so much since it was first conceived, adding in 3D effects and now a bit of fun with 4D. Well, head over to Amsterdam for a trip and you may find that this is no longer the case. Instead, you could be watching a movie with a chunky headset strapped to your face. A VR headset to be precise.
Virtual Reality Cinema
Samhoud Media, a creative agency specialising in Virtual Reality, have been dabbling in VR cinema since the start of 2015. Whilst they are based in Amsterdam, the company experimented with the idea of VR cinemas all over Europe. Now finally, they have opened up a permanent virtual reality cinema in Amsterdam. They’re not stopping there, however, with more expected to open throughout the course of this year in a range of major European cities, including London, Berlin, Paris, and Madrid.
How Does it Work?
So, what is different about a VR cinema in comparison with a traditional cinema? Well, a VR cinema does not have the usual seating plan that a traditional cinema would have, and there’s no screen for every individual to look at either. Instead, viewers are seated in swivel chairs and provided with a pair of Sennheiser HD 201 headphones and a Samsung Gear VR (the headset). This equipment creates a unique experience for each film viewer and allows them to move around in their swivel seat, giving them the chance to watch the film in 360 degrees if they wish. Although we have a feeling that swivelling around could make you feel a little bit sick.
Tickets to the first VR cinema in Amsterdam cost just 14 euros, which is roughly £12.50. We think this is a total bargain for a VR experience (and when you consider the fact that that is the price of a bog standard Odeon ticket…). It works out a lot cheaper than having to buy your own virtual reality headset too. However, you might feel ripped off when you find out that currently, the ‘movies’ are only 35 minutes long. Well, they had to start somewhere. The company have promised that films will get longer over time, and we don’t think it will be long before Hollywood start creating their famous masterpieces to be compatible in VR cinemas. Just like they did with 3D and even 4D.
2016 is rumoured to be the year that VR really breaks some serious ground, and comes to life. Whilst it may feel like an odd experience at first, sitting in a room of people but seeing no one, we’re sure that it will catch on in a big way as a new, fun and experimental hobby for people to indulge in with their friends! After all, everyone thought silent discos were weird and they really caught on. Kind of.