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Behind the Curtain of the “Ultimate Empathy Machine”: On the Composition of Virtual Reality Nonfiction Experiences

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Publication date2/05/2019
Host publicationProceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherACM
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781450359702
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4/05/20199/05/2019
https://chi2019.acm.org/

Conference

Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI '19
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period4/05/199/05/19
Internet address

Conference

Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI '19
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period4/05/199/05/19
Internet address

Abstract

Virtual Reality nonfiction (VRNF) is an emerging form of immersive media experience created for consumption using panoramic "Virtual Reality" headsets. VRNF promises nonfiction content producers the potential to create new ways for audiences to experience "the real"; allowing viewers to transition from passive spectators to active participants. Our current project is exploring VRNF through a series of ethnographic and experimental studies. In order to document the content available, we embarked on an analysis of VR documentaries produced to date. In this paper, we present an analysis of a representative sample of 150 VRNF titles released between 2012-2018. We identify and quantify 64 characteristics of the medium over this period, discuss how producers are exploiting the affordances of VR, and shed light on new audience roles. Our findings provide insight into the current state of the art in VRNF and provide a digital resource for other researchers in this area.