Where Virtual Reality Prototypes Are Hatched – David Nelson and MxR in Documentary Magazine

Published: April 19, 2016
Category: News

An article in Documentary Magazine featured the role of universities in incubating the new medium of virtual reality.
“I’d say when you ask where we are now, I liken it to the end of the 19th century in the early days of cinema,” says David Nelson, special project manager of the MxR Lab, at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, and producer and director of the documentaries Naked States and Positively Naked. “We’re Thomas Edison shooting films for the kinetoscope, or we’re the Lumières shooting a train pulling into a station right now. There’s the element of novelty. People are experiencing it for the first time.”
Nelson also discussed VR role as a facilitator for documentary storytelling. “I think the documentary form is working quite well in VR now,” he explains. “Maybe better than fiction because the rules of fiction are maybe a bit more formal than the rules of nonfiction.”
Nelson cited Nonny de la Pena’s 2012 work Hunger in Los Angeles, which was commissioned by the Institute for Creative Technologies, as an early example of the successful use of VR documentary storytelling.