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Oculus Rift Featured at 2014 Montreal International Documentary Festival

With the launch of virtual reality (VR) films such as Zero Point and 11:57 in the past few weeks as well as the reveal of projects such as Hell Mountain, VR movies are quickly turning from an idea into a reality. That forward momentum continues this month as the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) is being used to screen two different documentaries at this year’s Montreal International Documentary Festival, running in Montreal, Canada until 23rd November 2014.

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As CBC News reports, the first of these films is Clouds, which looks at the growing community of online artists and hackers. Interviews are presented as 3D models and visuals are ‘algorithmically generated’. The audience can even choose which parts of the documentary to view, navigating using the Oculus Rift’s head-tracking technology. “The equipment is fairly new and hard to get so it’s great to see it at RIDM,” Clouds interactive designer Elie Zananiri said of the Oculus Rift. “This is definitely what filmmaking and videogame-making is leaning towards. It’s a kind of interesting part of the future of cinema.”

The second documentary is Assent, an autobiographical piece based on the father of the movie’s creator, Oscar Raby. Using the Oculus Rift, viewers experience the 1973 coup in Chile. Raby’s father, then aged 22, witnessed the execution of a group of prisoners and here the audience step into his shoes at the scene of the event. The project was created using the Unity engine. The project has featured as a number of those festivals throughout 2014.

It’s also been revealed that The National Film Board’s Digital Studio in Montreal is developing two of its own documentaries using the Oculus Rift. It certainly seems as if the technology is catching on with this medium, then, allowing viewers to explore topics in greater depth and detail. VRFocus will continue to follow the Oculus Rift in the future, reporting back with all of the latest updates on the technology.