After decades of virtual reality being a mostly theoretical concept, VR has become a normal, if not massive, part of the video game world, and with that has come the creation of other artistic works using the medium. Disney has created a few different animated shorts in VR, and one of them, a Frozen 2 inspired film called Myth: A Frozen Tale is about to make the jump from VR to your television as an addition to the line-up on Disney+. While translating something that previously existed in 360 degrees into a standard television screen might seem complex, the director of Myth says it all translated "quite easily" since framing the story in an easily viewable way was still important in VR.
The impressive thing about VR is the way it can immerse you in an experience. Everything is literally happening all around you, and you have the freedom to largely do and see whatever you want. But if you're watching something on TV, you can only be shown what the camera wants you to see. This would seem to make translating a VR project like Myth: A Frozen Tale to Disney+ difficult, but at a recent press conference attended by CinemaBlend director Jeff Gipson explained that, even in VR, you want to be sure the viewer is looking in the right place. And that meant that for the 2D version, the filmmakers knew exactly what they needed to showcase. According to Gipson,
I think one of the challenges in VR is always 'how do we draw the audience's attention?' How do we make them look where we want them to look? And so when [Production Designer] Brittney [Lee] talked about the proscenium arch in that visual development, we designed that art to frame each on of those story moments for the VR version so it almost translated over quite easily actually. We were really thoughtful about how were placing the characters and framing them in VR. We had this in the back of our minds all the way along.
Myth: A Frozen Tale is a bedtime story. It's told to children within the world of Frozen and it focuses on the four elemental spirits that Elsa comes into contact with in Frozen 2. It acts as a sort of prequel to the events of the film, as it hints towards developments in Frozen 2. It's not exactly required reading for Frozen fans, but it's a beautifully animated short that any fans of animation will certainly enjoy. The fact that it's now available to many more people, and no VR headset is required, is really quite nice.
Of course, that's not to say that there aren't some elements of a VR experience that are going to be lost on Disney+, but Jeff Gipson does believe that a lot about the VR experience has been preserved. He explained...
A big part of the VR version is that sense of presence you get with all these characters. I love when the wind is swooping around you and you're hearing it in the headphones moving from left to right to. Or even the salamander, it’s small and you come close, the Nokk, the giants… just how do we translate that sense of presence and scale and power that each one of these elemental spirits had... That was all about this, how do we make this feel like our VR version? I'm just so proud and really excited about what we achieved for our streaming version of the film.
Seeing Myth: A Frozen Tale on Disney+ is really nice as it shows just how expansive and creative the streaming service is getting with its content. On the same day that Myth is arriving on the service we'll also see special events from some international Disney theme parks hitting Disney+. These are the sorts of things that can really add value to Disney+, and that competitive streaming services can't necessarily compete with.