Lucasfilm Showcases Virtual Reality Holo Cinema At Sundance


Lucasfilm is showcasing The Holo-Cinema, a virtual reality technology, at The Sundance Film Festival 2016.

The Star Wars universe is one step closer to becoming a virtual reality. The Holo-Cinema, set up at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, allows attendees to explore Jakku using virtual reality goggles (via The Wall Street Journal). They also get to walk around a digital three-dimensional C-3PO and BB-8. Its presence at Sundance is due to its inclusion in the film festival’s New Frontier programming highlighting “creative advancements in storytelling.”

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The project is a concerted effort by Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound to bring a cinematic virtual reality experience to audiences like they’ve never seen before. A new branch of the Lucasfilm company, ILMxLAB, was created to focus on pioneering this immersive new technology in the hopes of eventually making it accessible at theme parks, and even your own living room.

John Gaeta, executive creative director of new media at ILMxLAB, spoke about the impact the VR experience could have on storytelling within the Star Wars universe (via The WSJ).

"The technology is developed with members of Lucasfilm’s story group, so the experiences feed into the overarching “Star Wars” universe being developed by the group, said Gaeta. Eventually, the form could be used to build “portals” that explore whole worlds or subplots of the “Star Wars” universe only hinted at in film, he added.“We can put more story out there,” he said."

Image by Industrial Light & Magic

He also spoke about where he sees the technology going in the near future, particularly with regard to projects outside of Star Wars.

"Gaeta expects the augmented-reality technology to be prevalent in three to five years and mainstream for all sizes of movies in five to ten years. The team isn’t beholden to “Star Wars”; they’re also developing experiences for other filmmakers, he said.“Directors can say, ‘What is the emotional moment I want to explore?’” he said."

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Imagine being able to walk up to your favorite characters and have a conversation with them, or explore the Millennium Falcon. It’s every Star Wars fan’s biggest dream come true. And it looks like it will be coming to our galaxy in just a few years (let’s just hope it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg).