Tribeca Enterprises brings VR to the Westfield World Trade Center

Visitors to the Westfield World Trade Center (the recently opened mall below the World Trade Center) will be able to get a hands-on virtual reality experience this month — an experience curated by Tribeca Enterprises, the organization behind the Tribeca Film Festival.

Tribeca has held a number of VR events before, but programmer Loren Hammonds noted that those events are part of the film festival, and they usually attracted people who are “early adopters” or at least “very curious.” By installing a Virtual Arcade in the Westfield, Tribeca can potentially reach a more mainstream audience.

“They might be having their first experience with VR,” Hammonds said.

The Virtual Arcade will feature four works — Invasion! (an animated film), Invisible (a supernatural series created by Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman), Kids (a music video for OneRepublic); and KÀ The Battle Within (a martial arts story tied to Cirque du Soleil).

Anthony Ha

Tribeca held a press event yesterday where reporters got to experience the films and hear from some of the filmmakers. Liman said his production company discussed Invisible as possible movie or TV show before settling on VR, which attracted him because of its immersiveness — a quality he said he’s aimed for in all of his films. Liman recalled trying VR for the first time and thinking, “This is way more immersive than anything I’ve been able to accomplish.”

Liman and his producer Julian Tatlock acknowledged that they had rethink some of their shooting methods to accommodate the technology. For example, Liman said that shooting 360-degree footage is much more of a “team sport,” because you can’t just edit around weak performances.

“It has to be great in every direction,” he said. Viewers can look in every direction, so “they’re probably going to look at your warts, at your flaws.”

Tatlock added that they were told, “Maybe you [don’t] want to move the camera too much or too fast or cut too fast” — which makes it more challenging to create “a chase scene that’s exciting.” So their approach was to do “shoot static shots, safety shots — and then we would push the envelope.”

The Tribeca Virtual Arcade will be open from Friday to Sunday, starting today and ending on November 20.