Why Virtual Reality
You are a crucial part of the story.
We want to make you feel that this is your life, your problem, your dilemma. Virtual Reality has an amazing ability to make you feel that you are in different place. We want this place to be the difficult moment of your life - the moment when you have to consider your choice and to decide what to do with your unexpected pregnancy.
You can lean forward or to the side while these people stay in the virtual space like a living person is standing in front of you. As they speak, the virtual mind begins to draw vast immersive illustrations that surround you as it imagines their stories. You are immersed in their worlds through their words and memories, making you feel as if you are living through their experience.
When you put on a Virtual Reality headset, you are entering a uniquely private space. There are no glances across the room from strangers, hushed inaudible whispers or nearby friends reading your face. Whatever you may feel about the topic of abortion, when you immerse yourself in The Choice you are free to share as much or as little about the impact it leaves on you.
The Choice is built inside a 3D game engine, combining video recordings with live 3D rendered graphics. We are using this platform so that when you enter into the virtual world, you feel presence in it. Unlike a traditional video, your natural movements are reflected in how your eyes and ears perceive the virtual world, allowing you to feel totally immersed in our fictional woman’s subconsciousness. Your mind feels as though the objects and people that appear before you are real and present with you in this virtual space.
We don’t want our interview subjects to come across as flat video images or as uncanny CGI recreations. We have developed a technique of combining stereoscopic 3D cameras with a “depth” camera that records the distance of each pixel. This creates “volumetric video” which contains not just color, but also depth and shape, allowing you to observe the moving images from angles beyond the original camera lens. What’s important is that our capture system is small enough to allow us to travel light, and even record interviews inside of our subjects homes, where they can feel comfortable and safe.
With The Choice being structured around a fictional mind hearing these people tell their stories, we want to help you mentally visualize as you listen. We’re approaching this with the idea that the virtual mind has its own “imagination” that creates visual illustrations of the stories that ebb and flow around the both of you. Each set of these illustrations has a unique art style that reflects each interviewee’s personality. Using 3D painting tools like Oculus Quill, these drawings will be designed not to overwhelm or draw focus, but to help you, the audience, along as you visualize the stories in your own mind. We believe that by motivating your imagination, these people’s experiences will make a deeper and lasting emotional impact.
How to watch it
The Choice is being developed both for the Oculus Rift and the Oculus GO, with planned support for Oculus Quest. While the Oculus GO isn’t as fully featured as 6 degrees of freedom headsets like the Oculus Rift, it still can provide incredible immersive experiences that do not require you to clear out an open area “playspace” at your house. We plan to support other headsets and platforms later in development. We are also planning “pre-rendering” a version of the experience into a 3D-360 video, this way even people with ultra low cost VR viewers like Google cardboard can still watch a non-interactive version of the documentary.
With all these different ways to experience The Choice with your own devices, we also want to exhibit the project at large events, rallies, conferences and anywhere else where the public is involved with the abortion debate. Often the personal human aspect of the topic is overwhelmed by statistics and rhetoric. We also want to provide the documentary as an educational tool and help different organizations to set up their own headsets to share this message and show the experience to the communities they service - to start the discussion and show a different perspective.