EDITORS CHOICE 09.03.16

World’s first permanent virtual reality cinema opens

With VR very much the buzzword of the 2016, the first virtual reality cinema opened in Amsterdam last week. InAVate caught up with the cinema's organisers to find out more.

With no screen or traditional seating, the first VR cinema redefines the traditional moviegoing experience. It harnesses Samsung’s technology to offer the VR experience, alongside 360-degree custom-made chairs which turn to allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in films. Visitors wear Samsung Gear VR glasses incorporating a Samsung Galaxy S6 – with a turning wheel for adjusting focus – and lightweight Sennheiser HD 201 headphones.

The 45-person capacity cinema is currently offering nine screenings-a-day of films including such as “In your face” and “Invasion.” A press officer from organisers &samhoud media told InAVate, “We want to show the most interesting and coolest movies out at the moment. We show movies every hour, each lasting 35 minutes and offering different experiences.” 

They add that the appeal of the cinema is that “Not everyone has the gear at home, and people enjoy experiencing it together.”

The fixed cinema was born from the success of previous pop-ups in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. “We already did pop-ups that went really well and sold out every night,” said the representative.

Despite everyone wearing their own headset, the company say the experience is still very much a collective experience. “It definitely is. We have a bar here where everyone gathers to discuss watching the film.”

They added, “Sometimes one friend looks right at one moment, whilst another looks left, so they can share their individual experience afterwards. It’s very much a social activity.”

Do &samhoud media believe VR is the future the cinema? “I remember people asking the same question when the TV first came out. It’s not the end of cinema; it’s an extension of what’s already there. We’re just bringing the power to the viewer to experience a film how they want.”

Looking ahead &samhoud media plan to take the cinema to other locations in Europe. “We definitely want to take the cinema to cities including Berlin and London,” said the representative.