Experience: Oculus Rift with Insurgent

‘Shatter Reality’ offers another tantalising glimpse into this possible future.

DIY is no stranger to the wonders of the Oculus Rift. In the past we’ve been able to experience scenes from Into the Storm and Interstellar in the immersive technology. While both those films proved to be astute choices in their own right, there is something quite fitting about an Oculus Rift experience with The Divergent Series’ Insurgent at the BFI IMAX in London’s Waterloo.

The best parts of the new movie and its predecessor are the virtual reality scenes, and in the four minute ‘Shatter Reality’ sequence you take on the role of a Divergent captured by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) and her Erudite faction. Created by virtual reality innovators Kite & Lightning with assistance from the film’s VFX team the experience was built using stereoscopic 4K video of the actors, with effects and environment built-in Unreal Engine 4 and then rendered into an immersive 3D/360° experience. It was scored by composer Joe Trapanese.

Beginning in a lab, Jeanine tests the user with experimental serums which transport them to two distinct and convincing fear landscapes. First up is a crumbling skyscraper in Chicago – complete with crows flying toward you – and then you’re flung into the path of an oncoming train. That transition is especially exciting as for a moment or two you almost feel weightless. It’s not the only instance where it feels like your brain is having an argument with your body in the simulation.

With all this said, it still feels like we’re a ways away from the Oculus Rift being the premier means to experience a feature-length film. Still, ‘Shatter Reality’ offered another tantalising glimpse into this possible future, and it’s an experience that regular cinemagoers would do well to seek out.

Tickets to see The Divergent Series: Insurgent at the BFI IMAX can be purchased at: odeon.co.uk/bfiimax.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent is out now in cinemas and IMAX 3D.