Assignment: Read excerpts from Walter Murch's In the Blink of an Eye. Read Jessica Brillhart's In the Blink of an Eye series on editing in VR.
Not coming from a film background I found the Murch reading especially illuminating. I never really thought about the psychology behind the editing of a film, thinking of how it can correspond to blinks and emotions. I like the way he described editing as not so much a putting together as it is a discovery of the path.
I’d heard that you shouldn’t apply technical film concepts to virtual reality (and have seen some jarring VR pieces that fail to do this) but it makes sense to me that one can apply the psychological concepts, the big ideas behind what you want a film to evoke and how you can use it to lead the viewer.
That being said, I think that can be said about any piece of successful art whether it be a film, a book or a photo. Immersion is a concept that in theory should apply to all art. You want the viewer to be transported somewhere else and to arouse emotion. If done successfully “the flow of events feels natural and exciting at the same time”. However, at least for the time being, this seems to be substantially harder to do in virtual reality than in film because you are not only trying to create a fluid visual and emotion path but a fluid set of experiences. As Munrch mentions “from the moment we get up in the morning until we close our eyes at night, the visual reality we perceive is a continuous stream of linked images” but our reality is not only visual. From the moment we get up in the morning until we close our eyes at night our whole experience of reality is continuous: linked images, linked sounds, linked touch, the only thing that may not be continuously linked (at least consciously) are our thoughts and emotions.
It seems that when editing in VR you have to think in layers. Jessica Brillhart described her technique editing in VR as moving world to world – using the most probable potential experiences to inform the next. She calls it Hero’s Journey: the rotating of worlds around each other to match up POIs and empty spaces. You want to cut where the eyes of the visitor most likely are and match it to a similar view or frame.
Black point is where “the visitor” starts out looking.
White is where they end up looking.
Murch mentioned how blinks and cuts can go hand in hand. That there are places in a conversation where the viewer feels as if they can’t blink or they’ll feel as if they missed something and there are places where they want to blink in order to process what they just experienced. Where one feels comfortable blinking is where the cut will feel right. Based on the Hero’s Journey in VR where one feels comfortable looking is where the cut will feel right.