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Photo via Oculus Rift
Photo via Oculus Rift

It doesn’t seem that long ago that all the rage in movies was 3D. Forget that: Oculus is making headlines at Sundance with its Story Studio, which will focus on exploring virtual reality in moviemaking.

Oculus Story Studio is also debuting its first short at the film festival called Lost, a “real-time computer generated VR experience for the Crescent Bay prototype,” according to the Verge. It’s directed by former Pixar animator Saschka Unseld, who has worked on Toy Story 3, Brave and created the short The Blue Umbrella, which ran before Monsters University.

Lost is about five minutes long, but, as Unseld says, the length of the film entirely depends on the viewer’s choices in storytelling. The audience member will wear the headset to go into the film’s world, instead of watching it on a display, allowing for more “interactivity.”

“We all heard these stories of how it was like to be there at the birth of computer animation, or see films on how it was to be there at the birth of cinema,” Unseld told the Verge. “And when I tried out VR the first time, and everyone here, they realized this is that moment. This is the moment of a birth of a completely new medium…That made me just instantly jump on it.”

The official announcement comes today, according to the LA Times. Oculus Story Studio will have about 10 staffers and contractors, and is set to develop an “unspecified number of animated shorts in the VR format.”

“We felt the 360-side of filmmaking has been covered,” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told the LA Times. “What hasn’t been explored is the animated side.” He said the movie shorts will be made exclusively for Oculus’ VR platform. If you remember, Oculus debuted the Crescent Bay prototype for the first time to the public earlier this month at CES. It will certainly be a wild ride to see how virtual reality and Hollywood mix.

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