Directing virtual reality films is not easy. You need to be able to think from the perspective of the camera, with a composition that is completely unframed. You need to know how to lead the eye, how to pace the footage and what to consider for physical effects like comfort. The best VR directors can play with the deeply emotional and physical aspects of this new medium to bring about strong emotions and reactions in their viewers. We have worked with some of the best, find out more below.
Avril Furness is an Independent Virtual Reality, 360 and Film Director, Writer, Producer based in London. Having a background as a Creative at London advertising agencies Fallon and Wieden + Kennedy, Avril is driven to tell compelling stories and ideas that grip the viewer. Avril’s debut VR film ‘The Last Moments’ is an interactive Virtual Reality 360 docudrama that allows the viewer to experience an assisted suicide and either end their life or carry on living, shot in a replica of a room at Dignitas, Switzerland. The film was nominated for Best Director at the BAFTA-affiliated UnderWire Festival (2016), and was nominated for a ‘Most Immersive Award’ at Encounters Film Festival (2017).
Lauded by Vice as one of the “female filmmakers revolutionizing how we see the world”, Charlotte Mikkelborg is a British director - who first gained recognition as a BBC foreign correspondent - and has more recently become known for her work directing gripping character-driven non fiction film and virtual reality. Charlotte’s work packs an emotional punch with the aim of driving social change. Her 2016 virtual reality short Born into Exile - the harrowing yet hopeful story of two pregnant Syrian refugees – screened in the US Houses of Congress and at the first UN Special Summit on Refugees, leading to the commitment of funds to helping alleviate the plight of Syrian refuges.
Hugo Ward is currently the Executive Producer at Economist Films, the newly created and pioneering film arm of The Economist. A filmmaker, journalist and storyteller, last year he was Series Editor of Channel 4’s multi-award winning foreign affairs strand ‘Unreported World’. He directed a VR film in Osaka, Japan with Visualise and subsequently produced a panel at Sheffield Doc Fest: VR & Journalism. Hugo started his career as a BBC Trainee and has gone on to produce content and direct documentaries for the BBC, Sky News, Discovery (TLC), Channel five and, most notably, Channel 4 Dispatches and Unreported World.
Steven Boyle is an award-winning director. His work encompasses an unusually broad range of styles across many mediums including branded content, commercials, factual, music videos and drama. Steven’s work combines technical flair with a natural instinct for performance and he has become known for handling large casts on technically demanding shoots. His brand work includes films for BT, Nintendo, Virgin Media and Sky Movies and he has won 7 RTS awards including 3 Craft Awards for ‘Professional Excellence in Directing’ for his short film work. Steven has completed a number of projects for Visualise, including a large recruitment piece for Virgin Trains.
Christopher is a pioneering theatre director who has worked extensively in new musicals, classics and opera. He is currently working on a new contemporary musical version of Sherlock Holmes and is also part of the directing team at The Royal Opera House. Christopher is interested in how he can use proxemics, theatrical rehearsal/staging paradigms and VR technology to create exciting, moving, and truly immersive stories. Since moving into VR he has been awarded two development grants by Arts Council England.
Peter creates experiences that combine the craft of storytelling with new technologies. Having traveled internationally creating original and visually striking work that transports viewers through virtual reality headsets he has delivered productions for branded, social and fiction productions. Peter has used his prior experience in traditional film-making to develop a unique style in capturing and directing virtual reality based experiences. He has been a part of some big projects for companies like; ING, Tommy Hilfiger, Massive Music Nestle as well being fundamental in the production of Ashes to Ashes which was nominated for a Dutch Academy Award.
William D McMaster
McMaster is one of the pioneering VR directors. Coming from a background of independent documentary production his 2014 film 'Forest Man' won him the Cannes award of best emerging documentary maker. In virtual reality, he has directed the entire 'Forced From Home' project for Medicines sans Frontiers and a large number of other brand 360 projects for Visualise.
Ross Anderson benefits from 15 years’ experience in the entertainment and advertising industries, leading campaigns for the world’s biggest music artists and most recognisable brands as a producer of award-winning content. Previously creative director at Polydor/Universal Music and founding director of creative content agency Nice & Polite Limited he has lead and managed creative output that has been viewed billions of times across the globe. Creating moving image content for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Robbie Williams, Enrique Iglesias, 5 Seconds of Summer, Apple, Vodafone, Amazon, Samsung, Mother, BBH and Global Entertainment, to name but a few.