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Preview: IMAX: Admit One for Gear VR

A virtual cinema screen is nothing new in virtual reality (VR). There’s have been dozens made available for the Oculus Rift head-mounted displays (HMDs) as well as GameFace Labs’ unreleased GameFace device and various others. But one baring both the IMAX and Oculus VR branding? That’s new. Not only is it new, it’s incredibly high quality. All on a mobile VR HMD? You’d better believe it with the IMAX: Admit One experience on Gear VR.

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The theatre into which you are transported is immaculate. You begin by choosing the video you wish to watch – in this build just three trailers were available, but the menu showed options for your own content as well as multi-screen viewing – but that’s a step away from the present venue, which can be viewed in full 360 degrees. You can look around, behind you and even above or below you, and every corner of the venue is decked out just as a modern, high-end cinema would be. Here lies the key secret: Oculus branding is the headline act. This is a piece of software in which Oculus VR themselves have had a hand in developing.

Things only get better after having chosen your viewing material and entering the cinema itself. Once a trailer has been selected the screen fades to black, then the lights come back up and you’re seated, ready to go. The visual quality is remarkable. Rows of IMAX branded chairs surround you and are presented with such detail you willingly give-in to the suspension-of-disbelief that is mandatory for a convincing VR experience. In the many VR cinema experiences currently available the quality of the visual design varies wildly, but here in IMAX: Admit One, Oculus VR has significantly upped the bar.

Of the three trailers available it was Hubble 3D that demonstrated the impressive quality of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 screen the best. Presented in stereoscopic 3D and at an astonishing level of clarity, Hubble 3D on IMAX: Admit One is the first convincing argument for VR cinema over and above that of the traditional cinema-attending experience. This is exactly what VR cinema is about, and it’s happening on a smartphone in a mobile VR HMD. John Carmack stated that the Gear VR was a ‘landmark’ for VR, and with quality software like IMAX: Admit One, VRFocus can’t help but believe him.

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