Jallikattu director Lijo Jose Pellissery plans VR release for his film 'Churuli'
The exciting director said that he is "deeply concerned" about films releasing on digital platforms and thus he is planning to release his next film 'Churuli' on a VR platform by partnering with companies like Sony, HTC or Oculus.
The coronavirus pandemic and the "new normal" have forced many changes in our behaviour and our trade. With theatres closed indefinitely across the world and big films releasing on OTT platforms, the cinema viewing experience is all set for major rejig. Reimagining how the audience can get the movie theatre experience at the comfort of their homes, Malayali director Lijo Jose Pellissery is mulling to release his next film 'Churuli' on Virtual Reality (VR) platforms.
Taking to Instagram, the exciting director expressed that he is deeply concerned with the release of films online platforms and how adding an extra gadget to our racks, can help us reimagine film-viewing in this post-coronavirus world.
"As social distancing is a need of the time, the social movie going experience was no more an option along with mounting legal barriers, and an online release would not do justice to the art. This is when an idea of a simple device struck me, which I thought can be a solution to this problem of providing a cinema hall experience," the Angamaly Diaries director wrote.
His idea is to bridge the gap between the creator and the viewer by introducing matchbox cinema headset or an usual VR headset modified to give a cinema hall experience.
For this Lijo recommended some technical specifications after consulting an expert.
1. HD quality Dual Panels (1600xI 080 or better for IMAX quality) with 90-120Hz refresh rate
2. Around 70% angle of view.
3. 5.1 Surround sound (Dolby AC-3) preferred or minimum stereo audio
4. 2-3 hours battery support for continuous playback
5. Low weight/balanced construction to minimise wearer fatigue.
6. Phone pairing or direct OS support for streaming.
7. Media Processor with H264/h.265/VP9 decoding @5k 60/30Hz capability
The director said that he is close to the implementation of this idea and release his next film 'Churuli' on a VR platform by partnering with companies like Sony, HTC or Oculus. He said that he is even willing to share the complete implementation model which he has prepared.
He spoke of a distribution system akin to old movie libraries where these modified VR headsets could kept fo individual viewers. This VR approach to cinema could make the film-viewing experience more personal while not taking away the amazing experience of a dark theatre and booming sound.
He said that he has a presentation on this ready but he understands the need to have conversations around the topic before he could take the final step.
Accoring to Lijo, this thought came when he was pained by the thought that Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' could have an online release. Adding to it was the fact that many film festivals have been confined to online pages and videos. "These celebrated events which should be experienced in its theatrical form became a lacklustre namesake shows," he said.
Lijo said that 'Churuli' can only be complete as an experience in the cinemas and VR could be the solution if we have the infrastructure ready.
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The trailer of 'Churuli' released a few weeks ago, and from the trailer it is evident that the film is visually striking and does not follow any stale ideas of framing or shot composition. The soundscape, too, is haunting and is adding to the mysteries of winderness.
Lijo is a part of the new era of Malayalam film directors who are challenging old notions and delivering one hit after the other without compromising on narrative and visuals.
His earlier films include 'Angamaly Diaries', 'Jallikattu' and 'Ee.Ma.Yau' - which have gripped audiences all across the world.
With the pandemic and the "new normal", we stand at a point where innovation will decide the fate of many art forms. Lijo has accepted this challenge and brought forth an intersting idea which can potentially revolutionaise cinema-viewing in its true form. Earlier many film purists have disagreed with the idea that OTT can replace cinema theatres by stating that films were never meant to be watched on 6.5 inch screens and heard on tiny smarthphone speakers.
Watch the 'Churuli' trailer here: