Grab Your VR Headset (And A Box Of Tissues) And Watch The First Animated Virtual Reality Short Film To Be Nominated For An Oscar

By Edge Ison , Jan 25, 2017 01:08 AM EST

"Pearl" has been nominated for an Academy Award marking the first time that a virtual reality film received such a distinction.

The short animated film from Google Spotlight Stories and Evil Eye Pictures is available on the HTC Vive headset. It can also be watched on YouTube courtesy of the Google Spotlight Stories channel using the Google Cardboard.

The Story of Pearl

"Pearl" tells the beautiful yet sad story that many people have encountered and is encountering right now. It starts off with a man and his daughter on board a 1970s hatchback which happens to be the title character of the animated short. The single father struggles to provide for his daughter Sara as they travel and live on board Pearl. The short film shows Sara as she grows up from a lovely carefree child to an angsty teenager to an adult. Along the way, Pearl and her dad have always been with her in more ways than one.

Polygon noted that the short film is an example of what Max Planck of Story Studio meant when he said that it is important "for VR to start with shorter experiences, grounded in emotional themes".

VR in Other Media

"Pearl" is not the first film to be shot in virtual reality, however. VR has been used as a plot element in films such as "Tron", "The Matrix", and "Vanilla Sky". In the 1950s, Morton Heilig's Sensorama had the making of a VR headset. It stimulated the senses while watching through an "arcade-style theatre cabinet". The 1992 film "Lawnmower Man" was about virtual reality and used actual VR equipment.

A photography company which goes by Lytro claims to have made the first ever 6DOF 360-degree film in the 45-second "Moon". "Dear Angelica" by Oculus is another must-watch VR film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival while "Miyubi" is touted as the longest, at 40 minutes, VR movie so far.

The National Basketball Association has jumped onto the VR bandwagon and has started broadcasting games in VR in the ongoing season.

The beautiful short film "Pearl" is shot in 360 degrees so don't forget to click and drag to see the whole picture.

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