Look around, listen in. This is “Tabel,” an experimental VR film.
After hitting play, you’ll find yourself seated at a table in the center of an exclusive restaurant, where you can interact with six storylines by listening in on the conversations of others at the restaurant. “Tabel” uses a unique audio technique that enables you to follow one story at a time or jump between stories by simply looking around the restaurant.
As the night progresses, chaos engulfs the restaurant. Arguments break out as the temperature reaches unbearable levels, yet no one does anything to save the restaurant. As smoke billows out of the kitchen, you realize that—like the other characters in the story—you’ve been sitting back while the drama unfolds. You become a central figure in the story itself.
We wanted this VR experience to resonate with everyone, so we focused the narrative on something that has a widespread impact—climate change. Then, we built “Tabel” to be viewable on as many different platforms and in as many ways as possible, especially on mobile browsers. “Tabel” was created in WebVR, making it easily viewable on any smartphone via the Chrome browser in 360 video mode or with a VR headset. The viewing experience becomes immersive when viewing the film with Daydream View or Google Cardboard. “Tabel” was filmed using the Odyssey, the Jump camera created by Google and GoPro.
“Tabel” is the latest in a series of experiments from Google’s Art Copy and Code project. As the roles of the VR storyteller and the viewer evolve, we’re excited to see what parts everyone will play.