Sea Prayer is a virtual reality film produced by the Guardian and Khaled Hosseini
Virtual reality is changing the way filmmakers tell stories.
This new immersive 360-degree short film written by Khaled Hosseini and produced by the Guardian’s in-house VR team and artist Liz Edwards is a great example of this.
Telling the story of a letter written from father to son on the day before their journey to Europe, Sea Prayer shows the power that VR offers to bring you into a narrative.
Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, wrote the story to commemorate the two-year anniversary since the death of three-year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi who drowned on his journey to Greece.
His poetic words about a potentially treacherous journey and the life left behind are narrated by BAFTA winning actor Adeel Akhtar in the powerful piece.
The viewer follows the story in 360-degree view as the animation builds the city of Homs in Syria around them while the narrator talks about their life.
The grey space in the video is slowly filled with colour and then layered over with smoke and darkness as war is depicted and the sea is introduced.
This short film was the first to be created using Google’s Tilt Brush, which is a tool that lets you paint in 3D space using virtual reality technology. The drawing tool is currently available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
This video also highlights how the popularity of it VR is becoming ever more undeniable in the filmmaking industry. Currently, the Venice Film Festival is hosting a dedicated competition to the art and platforms like YouTube and Facebook are increasing the use of 360-degree video.
With more filmmaking tools and platforms available – could immersive story telling like this be the future of film? Let us know what you think in the comments.