In the infancy of virtual reality, two opposing extremes of 360° films have tended to dominate the brand space. On the one hand, you have your epic visual extravaganzas, including explosive work in gaming. On the other hand, you have quieter, more empathetic filmmaking about putting oneself in another’s reality—although, to create an element of surprise, this other reality is often remote, difficult to access and far removed from one’s own life.
For its first big experimental VR film, Facebook saw an opportunity to make a third kind of piece—one that’s both heightened yet familiar, ambitious yet ordinary, something quietly grand about everyday life. This fits the Facebook brand perfectly, of course—this is, after all, a giant company that enables the smallest, most ordinary moments of human interaction.
The resulting three-and-a-half-minute film, which just rolled out Tuesday, is called “Here and Now.” It was made by The Factory, Facebook’s in-house creative studio, and was shot on—and in some ways serves as advertising for—the Facebook Surround 360 camera, which was introduced last month at F8.
As a story and a piece of craft, it fulfills its high-low mission by showing ordinary moments in a grand space—eight vignettes of people engaging with friends and family in the main concourse at New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
Watch the film below. (It will be on Oculus VR later today.) If your browser has trouble playing it, you can watch it on Facebook instead.