“We had a documentary about Ebola, and we let people watch the normal and VR versions and compared the results. In the normal version 30 percent of people said “I’d like to do something”. With the VR version it increased to 60 percent. The information they perceive is much more and the concentration is higher. “
World’s very first Virtual Reality Cinema opened its doors! It’s located in the heart of Amsterdam, but you will feel like you are in faraway countries, animated worlds or places you could never go before. The VR Cinema is a place where everybody has the possibility to get acquainted with virtual reality and experience what it is like to see the finest selection of VR movies that are unfolding around you in 360 degrees.
When I realized the VR cinema in Amsterdam, I decided to experience it immediately. The price of 30 min cinema is €12.50. You pick from 3 different types of films, kids, scary and documentary. I picked the documentary because I hate horror.
The first movie was about Syria. We visited a home in Aleppo of two kids. The girl was cooking something and the boy was moving in the room. It was like magic, you feel yourself as if you are in that room.
The second movie was surreal. I was in the painting of Dali, Caravan. I was riding a long leg elephant, flying and wandering around the dessert. It was such an experience! I was so impressed.
The third one was about a train accident in London from the eyes of a female survivor.
The Dali one was the most different and exciting one for my taste.
Then I decided to contact to the owner to make an interview and share it with you. He is young, energetic, innovative and excited about new technologies.
Here we go!
His name is Jip Samhoud. He is the Creative Entrepreneur of Samhoud Media and Founder of The First Virtual Reality Cinema in the World.
Jip, how did you establish the company?
I made studies at the Miami Advertising School and London National Film and Television School. I always liked the combination of media and advertising. I started this media company to inspire people. As a company we have a goal to inspire 1 billion people with the content we create. Two years ago we started to focus on virtual and augmented reality because media sources are powerful to inspire people because it makes people feel like stepping into a time machine, it is like a piece of magic. It gives a fully new ways of storytelling to the story tellers.
And then the VR Cinema comes in.
We started the VR Cinema 10 months ago, which at the beginning began as an experiment. We made pop-up session in our office with 50 people and that event was sold out in 2 days. Then we decided to make it a permanent cinema since February 2016. We already had over 50.000 visitors. We witness people from different ages enjoy the experience. The industry also has to be built because it is now challenging to find the really good projects that people would like to watch. To create the material is not easy actually because it is a new way of telling a story.
Why 30 min?
VR Cinema is max.30 min partly because of the technology and 30 min is a good time. For the brain it is very intense because is it too close to your eyes, you are too much in it. Our eyes see 120-150 frames per second but VR is like 30 frames per sec for the moment and it makes people more tired. Resolution is not yet where we wanted it to be. It’ll take some time for the tech. In 1900 people were going to the cinema for 10-15 min movies. Our brain also needs to learn, adapt to those medium. We have people in our team, who can watch longer time the cinema because in their ordinary life they watch more VR media.
How about the content? You said it is not easy to find?
I believe that it is all about storytelling. We try to pick pieces that are more than fun and touch people’s feelings. For ex. we had a really beautiful piece with Dutch Ballet, which we are proud of. It is great to see the face of an 8 years old girl watching her hero. So, with the content we see that we can change the perspective of people.
We had a documentary about Ebola, and we let people watch the normal and VR versions and compared the results. In the normal version 30 percent of people said “I’d like to do something”. With the VR version it increased to 60 percent. The information they perceive is much more and the concentration is higher.
What are your future plans?
We mostly are looking for the distribution model of VR cinema. We get a lot of calls from all over the world and people want to start-up a VR cinema. We’d like to create a network and produce also some media because we really need good content. We already produce VR content for our customers, mostly for brands like the VR app that we created for a market chain in the Netherlands which became the most downloaded VR app in the world.
As material you use Samsung Gear VR and Samsung Galaxy S6. Is there a specific reason for it?
It is a balance of convenience for people, cinema system and price. It is convenient because you do not need any censors in the room. It covers the needs of visitors and there is a price and quality balance. We also use 360° Chairs and Sennheiser HD 201 headphones.
What is your target group?
First we thought we’ll attract only the millennial generation but we saw that it is way broader than that. We see grandpa and grandmas with grandchildren, school classes, adults. We also have 65+ people saying that “We came first so that we can tell our children we saw it first”.
If you want to learn more about VR Cinema, you can visit https://thevrcinema.com/ . If you want to experience it, today you need to go to Amsterdam but I’m pretty sure it will come to Istanbul very soon. Maybe just after this post.
We’ll see 🙂