Earlier this year, A.R. Rahman discovered what he calls a new tool to tell stories. The world renowned music composer, known as much for his renditions as the new technologies he dabbles in, fell headfirst into the world of virtual reality. “If I remove all the technical stuff, how I connect with it emotionally is amazing,” Rahman told ET in a telephonic conversation.
“When I bought the first VR (headset), I threw it and didn’t look at it for three months. Then suddenly one day I was bored and thought, let me see. And it changed my whole perception of VR. I was watching hundreds of VR clips…and discovered that there is something beautiful here,” he added. Simply put, virtual reality (VR) is a technology that makes the experience of watching something lifelike, where one cannot just “see” but “experience” the projections on screen, and requires VR headsets that are slowly becoming more mainstream with smartphone companies offering low-cost alternatives.
However, a truly “immersive” or lifelike experience requires more sophisticated headsets such as the Oculus Rift, which cost over Rs 40,000 at present.
Talking about being an early adopter of technology for music and now films, Rahman said he thinks of technology as a tool. However, unlike most of his peers, Rahman does not just look at the end results, but also tries to understand how these “tools“ work. So he took lessons in VR to understand it better. “I’ve been to some of the VR workshops in LA (Los Angeles) and also in India,” he said. On Wednesday, he launched a VR version of his iconic song “Vande Mataram” at the 10th edition of NFDC Film Bazaar in Goa, and plans to make more such films using the technology.
“For the past six years we’ve been slowly entering into film production, where we’ve been producing music videos, and just to make videos a primary place for storytelling rather than waiting for the right script to come,” he said.
Rahman performed at the UN General Assembly hall in August this year, becoming only the second Indian artist after Subbulakshmi to do so. The concert also featured a VR film that Rahman and his team have developed for future projects. Calling the first time experience of working with the technology “exciting”, Rahman said India has great scope for VR. “We can make masterful films and portray the traditions and culture, storytelling and beauty of our people to an international audience because it’s so young now, and wanting to be discovered. We should take lead, not wait for other people to do stuff,” he added.
India’s adoption of virtual reality is being led by a host of industries such as real estate, heavy industry , interior design and gaming. Several startups are also coming up with solutions in the space. However, mass adoption is at present constrained by the high cost of equipment that provides a truly immersive VR experience.
News Source & Credits – Economic Times (India Times)