Though it may have seemed like a gimmick at first, virtual reality has been making big developments over the years into becoming a legitimate technological breakthrough. More and more companies are pushing to use VR in their marketing materials, with the tech becoming so accessible that you can even use it on your phone. Is it only a matter of time before VR becomes the de facto method of watching films? If you're asking James Foley, director of the upcoming Fifty Shades Darker, that answer is yes.
While talking with Deadline, James Foley revealed that he recently experienced VR technology firsthand while filming for Fifty Shades Darker. The sequel has been shooting certain scenes with VR, with the ultimate goal being that fans will be able to experience the almost definitely steamy scenes through marketing materials.
There's marketing materials for behind-the scenes [of Fifty Shades Darker], where after we finished shooting for the day, the actors would stay over and VR people would re-create a facsimile of the scene. My own personal instinct is that cinema is going to move to VR because it's an extension of the visual language. For myself, watching the material they generated expanded my brain.
I'm sure a virtual reality like that would cause a lot of expanding. A Fifty Shades of Grey-like experience through VR seemed inevitable, so you might as well do it with the actual Fifty Shades series. There are surely some fans of the series who would be thrilled to experience some Red Room action. We don't know the exact scenes that were filmed in VR, but one would imagine that at least one is soft-core sex related. This is apparently for some kind of marketing materials, so we'll know more the closer we get to the films release date.
James Foley goes on to argue that, much like how digital has come to replace film, virtual reality will one day replace digital. It's 2016, and technology is always advancing in big and small ways; it's easy to see how VR could one day become the form of all media. It's a lot more plausible today than it was even just 10 years ago. We're already seeing that happen with the boom of VR headsets but we're still years away from it becoming accessible to everyone -- that is unless that Fifty Shades action gives everyone a kick in the pants to get this tech moving.
So far, VR technology has been focused on video games through the use of such hardware like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Although cinemas are still slow to fully accept the technology, several companies have begun to experiment. IMAX is currently planning out including VR experiences in its theaters, and teaming with Google to build a VR camera. It's mind-boggling to think of the logistics of filming a full two-hour movie with 360 degrees of motion, so we might not see that for years to come.
You can experience the boring old 2D version of Fifty Shades Darker when in releases in theaters on February 10, 2017.