We popped along to the BFI IMAX in London's Waterloo today to try an Oculus Rift experience of the film Interstellar. You can do the same.
For one day only the IMAX has an Oculus Rift virtual reality experience set up for anyone to try. The VR trip takes you into the movie Interstellar, the space film directed by Dark Knight director Chris Nolan which is out 7 November.
After watching two versions of the trailer in the IMAX cinema itself we were taken out to the lobby and sat in a special chair. Then the latest Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 headset and over-the-ear headphones were plonked on our head.
On screen we sat, virtually, in the Endurance spacecraft that features in the movie. This craft 3D model was used as a reference for the film and is rendered in high quality graphics. But it's still not reality quality like you'll see in the final film itself. Nonetheless it was an impressive level of quality when you consider it was rendered in 3D to allow you to look anywhere, while virtually moving along.
You're able to look around in a 360-degree view, above and below included, as your character navigates the vessel. Once zero gravity kicks in the chair, in real life, moves to add further affect to the feeling of virtually floating – it was actually quite dizzying. We've tried the original Oculus Rift and found the resolution to be far too low, blocky almost, and the focus to be off. This version with the Dev Kit 2 was far clearer and allowed us to be pulled even deeper into the experience.
While we hope that one day Oculus Rift will be the cinema goer's experience, rather than a flat screen, from this demo it still feels a long way off. Sky is shooting a documentary at the moment with multiple angled cameras for Oculus Rift viewing, perhaps this will set a trend for future movie directors. We always worried this wouldn't work as you'd not know where to look and might miss something - but after trying the Interstellar experience it's clear attention can be focused and this could work.
The whole experience is a great way to see Oculus Rift in action. If you fancy giving it a go head down to the BFI IMAX in Waterloo today between 11am and 9pm on Friday 24 October and you can have a try. If not you can give it a go when it appears at the MCM Comic Con in London from 24 October to 26 October.