How much is too much? Interactivity in new immersive media

How much is too much? Interactivity in new immersive media

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Event type: Seminars

30 May 2019 from 12.00 pm 30 May 2019 12:00 pm

Room 103, 81 Fairlie Terrace (FT81/103)

As virtual reality reaches mainstream adoptions there are concerns around gimmicky uses of its interactive components and 360-degrees space. This seminar asks, how much is enough to justify the expense of the headsets and VR production and how much is too much?

Presented by: Dr Miriam Ross

During 3D cinema’s popular waves (1950s, 1980s, 2010s) a continual concern was how to showcase its technological uniqueness. Using too many ‘out of the screen’ moments was considered gimmicky and a distraction from the film. Using too few raised the question of why not revert to 2D. Similar concerns have been raised around interactive documentaries. Too much interaction becomes convoluted and distracts from the central story whereas too little makes it hard to justify the additional technological expenditure. As Virtual Reality reaches mainstream adoption, these concerns around visual effects and interactive components converge with the additional challenge of determining the extent to which the 360-degree field of view should be exploited. How much is too much interactivity, is a question that informs industry practice, discussion in the press and even academic enquiry. This paper addresses this question through analysis of past historical contexts and in relation to my practice-based research in the production of the interactive VR film Embodied (in progress).


Dr Miriam Ross is Senior Lecturer in the Film Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. She works with new technologies to combine practice-based methods and traditional academic analysis. She is the author of South American Cinematic Culture: Policy, Production, Distribution and Exhibition (2010) and 3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile Experiences (2015) as well as publications and creative works relating to film industries, mobile media, virtual reality, stereoscopic media and film festivals. She is also co-founder and administrator of