Virtual Reality

Innovation in Storytelling

Seattle's Advancements in Virtual & Augmented Reality

Seattle is at the forefront of VR and AR storytelling and provides an environment for innovation in the intersection of film and technology.

Seattle-based production company Mechanical Dreams has been pioneering VR content, producing over half a dozen VR projects (the Ch'aak' S'aagi trailer below is one example). In 2016, SIFFX partnered with Seattle International Film Festival to present the first four day virtual reality festival. Attendees experienced virtual and augmented reality via headsets and 360-degree screenings in the Pacific Science Center laser dome, and heard from world class and local session presenters. Also in 2016, TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival presented a first of its kind immersive media festival exploring the intersection of queer culture, art, cinema and technology: TWIST360º.  In addition, the University of Washington opened CoMotion Labs, a co-working tech incubator for artists and VR companies to collaborate. This fits in with the overall culture of the area, as Seattle is now considered a Top 3 US Tech City and Washington State a Top 3 Most Innovative State.

Immerse Yourself

You'll get the best experience viewing the below Seattle-made 360º videos using a smartphone, the YouTube app* and a VR viewer such as Google Cardboard or Gear VR. To experience a video below in the app, tap the play button then tap on the YouTube icon at the bottom of the video. Put on your viewer and look all around you!

Alternatively, view the videos without a VR viewer and "move" through the video by clicking and dragging or using the directional controls.

*download YouTube from Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS)

Ch'aak' S'aagi (Eagle Bone) trailer

Mechanical Dreams collaborated with filmmaker and indigenous activist Tracy Rector, Nahaan, Ken Workman, and the Naak'w dancers on Ch'aak' S'aagi (Eagle Bone), a cinematic 360 experience that premiered at the inaugural SIFFX Festival, world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is currently touring the international film festival circuit. Director Tracy Rector states, "Ch'aak' S'aagi (Eagle Bone) is a collective step in a new direction of visual storytelling rooted in being unapologetically Indigenous. Through freestyle spoken word and lush Pacific Northwest scenes, we enter into a journey of remembrance and reflection on the lessons of the old ones. Teachings that remind us that we are all individual vessels of spirit and change yet inextricably connected."

Read more from Filmmaker Magazine: Mechanical Dreams Uses VR to Amplify Diverse Voices.

Paradise Under Reconstruction in the Aesthetic of Funk: A Quantum Leap, Starting From The Top…!!!

This installation by artist Xenobia Bailey was showcased from Dec 2016 to Feb 2017 at the Seattle Presents Gallery in the Seattle Municipal Tower. Paradise was the final installation in Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice, a year-long series exploring artists’ and curators’ interpretations of racial injustice, both systemic and institutional, impacting Black-identifying people throughout America. According to Bailey, who was born and raised in Seattle, the installation was created as “an exploration for a future of designing and engineering a humane material culture and cyber cottage industry that will address community needs relating to wellness and social and economic development.” Read more about Bailey and the installation.

The Ultimate Block Party: Tour the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and MoPop

Geekwire explains, 'If you're thinking about putting on or attending an event at Seattle's iconic Space Needle and want to see what it looks like full of party people from multiple angles, a new virtual reality experience will take you there. The VR tour aimed at the planning industry shows off the Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Museum of Pop Culture as part of what is called The Ultimate Block Party... The VR footage was shot by Panogs, a photo agency specializing in VR storytelling and advanced image technology.

"Logistically, filming The Ultimate Block Party was our most challenging virtual reality project to date,' Gavin Farrell, Panogs co-founderm said in the release. 'In under 3 hours, we filmed 14 different locations using proprietary capture systems. We used a 600-foot zip line, a drone and a night-capture time-lapse, all of which was documented from the top of the Space Needle, inside Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Museum of Pop and Culture."'