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The future of film virtual tourism

Titanic

Feature by Jack Foley

AS AN enormously influential part of our culture, it is perhaps no surprise that tourism based around movies is already incredibly popular. Whether dealing with museums which host famous props like the Prop Store Exhibition here in London, or the New Zealand countryside locations made famous in Lord of the Rings, this industry is certainly growing.

There are, naturally, limits on what this type of tourism might represent. Sets of famous movies, for example, could be enormously popular, but these are usually only temporary locations. By utilising virtual reality technologies, however, how we appreciate film history and tourism could be revolutionised.

Virtual Tourism

From live concerts to football matches, to even live casino gaming, these types of virtual environment are bringing physical experiences to viewers at home.

For instance, live casino games are already bridging the gap between an at-home and in-person experience by offering games like blackjack and roulette more vividly than previous versions of such platforms ever allowed.

From a tourism perspective, virtual tours of art galleries and museums such as The Louvre are allowing a wide range of tourists access to venues they may have had difficulty in reaching in person.

Operating under the assumption that this tourism is a when, rather than an if, we have to wonder: which film environments will we be most likely to visit in the future in such a virtual environment?

Star Wars

With the original series being some of the biggest films of all time, it seems natural that scenes from Star Wars could easily make the leap into virtual tourism. We would personally love to explore the Millennium Falcon in full 3D, trying to find where exactly Han stored his smuggled goods.

With enough work and processing power, it might even become possible to witness first-hand the fated duel between Luke and Vader on the Death Star. There are so many locations to choose from in this galaxy far, far away, making Star Wars, in this regard, a practically guaranteed hit.

The Titanic

Given James Cameron’s affinity for an accurate set, seeing the Titanic in person could be a two-fold educational and film-lover’s experience. From the bow where Kate and Leo made their famous pose down to glamour of the ballroom, there would be a lot of ground to cover on this enormous cruise-liner.

We might even watch the ice-berg strike and sinking in real-time, though this could be a little too horrific a re-enactment to play out in first-person.

Hogwarts

Hogwarts

Covering 588 sets and thousands of digital composite shots, the school and surrounding area of Hogwarts represents one of the most fantastical film locations of all time. From arriving on the train to making our way into the hostels and even soaring far above in a broomstick, the possibilities here are near endless.

With so much ground to cover, and so many moving parts, we don’t imagine creating a virtual environment of this magnitude would be an easy task. However, with the series such an international phenomenon, we would expect that such a virtual world would pay for itself a dozen times over.

How Long will we Have to Wait?

That depends on the interests of the rights holders. In some cases, fans have already recreated popular virtual locations with painstaking accuracy. These are unlikely to ever reach the mainstream, however, due to licensing issues.

What we would expect is that all that is really needed for this market to take off are two main components. The first is a greater rate of adoption of VR tech, and an improvement in its overall technology. The second is one killer app, which illustrates to the rights-holders just how much fan interest this world has.

In any case, we’d place good money on virtual tours becoming a valued place in the future of film, it’s just a matter of time. The hardest part is waiting.