A new VR film tells the story of a young Liberian woman’s struggle during and after the ebola epidemic. But Waves of Grace also shines a light on the significant role virtual reality can play in the future of news and current affairs.
“VR will be a welcome option to the editorialised opinion news cycles that are so prevalent at the moment, and tremendously empowering to the viewer,” says Patrick Milling-Smith, co-founder of Vrse.works, the VR production company behind the project.
“When you spend a few minutes in this spherical 3D environment, with binaural multi-directional, sound your brain is tricked into feeling like you are actually there,” says Milling-Smith. “With that comes a great power to evoke deep feelings of empathy when the experience has some truth to it. The smallest moments of humanity have an added significance and weight.”
The film is a collaboration between Vrse.works, the UN Millennium Campaign and Vice Media, and Milling-Smith says it’s an example of how virtual reality can enable the viewers to see, hear and ‘feel’ a news story unfolding in real-time. VR can give an audience the chance an unprecedented opportunity to bear witness. “When it comes to VR filmmaking’s ability to take people to places they would never be able to go or even think about, the opportunities seem endless,” says Milling-Smith.