If you’d happened to be on an isolated Nepalese hillside last week, you’d have been greeted by the somewhat unexpected sight of a group of native villagers – most of whom share one tap of running water between households – sitting on the ground, losing themselves in the latest in VR technology.
With their modern headsets, this group from the community of Kharelthok was watching themselves caught on camera by the film team at WaterAid, a tireless group determined to bring their latest offering to a whole new audience.
Film manager Steve Melia explains why it was time for something new when it came to their technological approach.
“I think that we know that a lot of people in the UK aren’t going out of their way to find films by charities, and the story that we’ve told in Kharelthok of Krishna and the others is one we’ve told lots of times, people overcoming challenges to make their lives better.
By using VR, we hoped to attract people as interested in the technology as they are in the story, people who wouldn’t necessarily be hanging out for the next WaterAid film might want to find more about us and what we do.”
Watching a VR film definitely has its own charm, something you can try out for yourself with the WaterAid offer of your own Google cardboard headset – see below.
Steve ponders the novelty: “The technology is still so new that people are fascinated by things they wouldn’t be fascinated by on flat film. You show a picture of a goat right next to you and you’re looking on a VR set, you start thinking, ‘Wow, I wonder what happens next.’”
For the film’s director and producer Catherine Feltham, the advantage of the VR experience is how absorbing the final product becomes, in a market where viewers’ attention spans is a prized commodity.