Tech Junction: Raindance China VR Film Festival review

If you have never put on a virtual reality (VR) headset before, this event might blow your mind with some stunning immersive experience. However, if you have played with HTC Vive or Oculus headsets before, you might find this less exciting.

Raindance Film Festival is one of the largest indie film festivals in the U.K. with showcases of short, feature, web series, music videos, and VR films, according to its website. Raindance China VR Film Festival brings the VR experience to China, showing cinema goers the artistic possibilities of the new technology.

Walking into the venue at 798 Art District in Beijing, visitors are handed a list of 10 films where they can choose five to try out. It is quite weird to call them “films” though as these are more like brief immersive VR showcases. AllChinaTech paid a visit to the festival and here are some highlights.

Where: 798 Art District, Beijing
When: April 29 to May 25

The Blu

This is something. The deeply immersive series allows the audience to experience the wonder of the ocean, and come face to face with some of the most beautiful species on earth. Watching an 80-foot whale swimming right in front of you is astonishing, while placing yourself in the deep dark ocean with a flashlight in the next scene is highly exploratory and fun.

This series was developed by an American VR studio Wevr. Watch the teaser to get a sense of the majestic ocean.

Senza Peso

This is a visually and musically rich short film based on a mini opera. In the seven-minute long VR adaptation, you become the protagonist and experience the transformation from death to eternity on a journey through a beautiful dark world.

The music matches seamlessly with the spectacular visuals. The changes from scene to scene are smooth and enticing. The piece has been a go-to showpiece for many since 2014.

The Night Cafe

The Night Cafe adapts the world of Vincent van Gogh to an immersive VR environment, where users can take a moment to enjoy his iconic sunflowers or explore the chair in his bedroom.

It is quite exciting to explore the vivid colors from Van Gogh’s palette.

Venue: ★★★★★
It is quite weird to call this a film festival. It is more like a VR showcase fair, where the organizer set up booths, and each booth can accommodate up to four visitors. The booth is not spacious enough, as it is easy for visitors to bump into one another with the VR gear on.

Content: ★★★★★
The VR experience is good, whereas the films are fairly old, but yet still worth watching.

Equipment: ★★★★
The organizer uses headsets from HTC, Oculus, and Pico. It is nice that visitors are able to try out the VR equipment from multiple companies.

The event is worth a go if you are new to virtual reality and have yet a chance to put on a VR headset.

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