Modern documentary in the age of virtual reality: Deapening engagement with nonfiction storytelling through technological innovation
PDF (English)

Słowa kluczowe

virtual reality
documentary storytelling
feeling of presence

Jak cytować

Pomianowska, I. (2018). Modern documentary in the age of virtual reality: Deapening engagement with nonfiction storytelling through technological innovation. Images. The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication, 21(30), 45–64.


After decades of research, technological development as well as few discouraging setbacks, virtual reality (VR) appears to be on the cusp of its settled adoption. The incorporation of VR technology into the palette of everyday communication media is not only exciting for filmmakers and game designers, but also for every manner of storytellers: documentarians, journalists, educators, scientists – all professions involved in clarifying surrounding us reality and communicating about it. They all discovered that social change can be valuably stimulated by development of new technology – technology that serves in the same time as a classic medium to communicate and spread this news around. Considering the factors enabling us to capture and disseminate “a true story” in a highly captivating, immersive way (which previously has been preserved exclusively for entertainment and commercial productions), we should mention at least 3 crucial elements: technological innovation, psychological evolution of the viewer, application of VR beyond storytelling. The first two factors mutually interact and play off each other in terms of the changing threshold of perceptual tolerance as well as rising needs of the new spectator. The first part of this paper deals with the interdependency of these two elements. Structured conclusions will be enumerated as a practical reference for VR storytelling productions. The second part of the paper will deal with the third element enumerating the most inspiring cases from recent years – eye-openers for instigating social change, adding value and promoting wellbeing via VR technology. The engagement of VR in social change, innovation and nonfiction storytelling introduced the VR technology within the current media palette. It not only changes the nature of storytelling about reality, but fulfills the story that our reality builds.
PDF (English)


ABC News (16.09.2015), <> (retrieved on 26.01.2017)

Aronson-Rath, Milward J., Owen T., Pitt F., Virtual Rality Journalism, <> (retrieved on 13.02.2017)

Balázs B., Early Film Theory: Visible Man and the Spirit of Film, ed. E. Carter and trans. R. Livingstone, Oxford 2010 (1924)

Belting H., An Anthropology of Images: Picture, Medium, Body, Princeton 2011

Bonis B., Stamos J., Vosinakis S., Andreou I., Panayiotopoulos T., A platform for virtual museums with personalized content, “Multimed. Tools Appl.” 2009, 42(2), pp. 139–159

Bruce C., Peyton J.K., Batson T.W., Innovation and Social Change, Chapter 1, Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 1993, <> (retreived on 26.08.2016).

Chalmers D., Spatial Illusions, from Mirrors to virtual reality, 2017, <> (retreived on 7.08.2017)

Cosmides L., Tooby J., Evolutionary Psychology and the Emotions, Handbook of Emotions, 2nd ed., New York 2000

Craik F.I., Lockhart R.S. Levels of processing: A framework for memory research, “Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior” 1972, 11(6), 671–684

Cubitt S., The Cinema Effect, Cambridge, Mass. & London 2004

Deleuze G., Cinéma I: L’image-mouvement”, Paris 1986

Deleuze G., Cinema I: the Movement-Image and Cinema 2: the Time-Image (both trans. Hugh Tomlinson), Minneapolis, MN, 1989

Didi-Huberman G., Confronting Images: Questioning the Ends of a Certain History of Art; trans. John Goodman, University Park, PA 2005

Doyle P., Gelman M., Gill S., Viewing the future? Virtual Reality in Journalism. Knight Foundation, <> (retreived on 16.11.2016)

Elsaesser T., Hagener M., Film Theory Introduction through the Senses, New York 2015

Emamdjomeh A., Discovering Gale Crater, “Los Angeles Times” 26.10.2015, <> (retreived on 26.01.2017)

Farman J., Stories, spaces, and bodies: The production of embodied space through mobile media storytelling, “Communication Research and Practice” 2015, Vol. 1, Iss. 2, pp. 101–116, <> (retreived on 27.02.2017).

Felix & Paul Studios, Nomads, See Gypsies, <> (retrieved on 30.01.2017)

Felix & Paul Studios, Stranger, <> (retrieved on 30.01.2017).

Flaxman G., The Brain Is the Screen. Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema, Minneapolis. London 2000.

Fontaine G., The experience of a sense of presence in intercultural and international encounters, “Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments” 1992, 1 (4), pp. 482–490.

Framestore Studio. The Field Trip to Mars, <> (retrieved on 18.01.2017)

Friedberg A., Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern, Berkeley, Los Angeles & London 1993

Galloway A.R., Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture, Minneapolis 2006

Garling C., Virtual Reality, Empathy and the Next Journalism, “WIRED Magazine”, <> (retrieved on 03.01.2017)

Garrett S., Between Film and Screen: Modernism’s Photo Synthesis. Chicago 1999

Gibson J.J., A theory of direct visual perception, in: J. Royce, W. Rozenboom (eds.), The Psychology of Knowing, New York 1972

Gregory R., Concepts and Mechanisms of Perception, London 1974

Halper K., CEO of KUMA Reality Games, <> (retrieved on 26.01.2017)

Halperin S., Shakow C., The development of identification in Freudian theory, “Psychoanal Review” 1989, 76(3), pp. 353–374

Held R., Durlach N., Telepresence, “Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments” 1992, 1 (1), pp. 109–112.

Hodges L., Anderson P., Burdea G., Hoffman H., Rothbaum B., Treating Psychological and Physical Disorders with VR, “IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications” 2001, invited article, pp. 25–33, November/December

Hydénjava L-C., Storytelling in dementia: Embodiment as a resource, 2013, Vol. 12 iss. 3, pp. 359–367, <> (retreived on 20.02.2017)

Immordino-Yang M.H., Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience”, New York 2015

Loftus E.F., Planting misinformation in the human mind: A 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory, “Learning & Memory” 2005, 12 (4), pp. 361–366. doi:10.1101/lm.94705

Loftus E.F., Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley 1980. (Reprinted by NY: Ardsley Press 1988).

Marks L.U., The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses, Durhaim 2000

McGreevy M.W., The presence of field geologists in Mars-like terrain, “Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments” 1992, 1 (4), pp. 375–403

McLuhan M., Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory, London 2004

McLuhan M., Understanding Media. The Extensions of Man, New York 1964

Metz Ch., The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema, Bloomington 1982

Migielicz G., Zacharia J., Stanford Journalism Program’s Guide to Using Virtual Reality for Storytelling – Dos & Don’ts, 2016, < ts-f6ca15c7ef3c> (retrieved on 26.01.2017)

Mir A., The post-truth world: how social media destroy the absolutism of the “objective” truth. Human as media, 2017, <> (retreived on 3.08.2017)

Montaño Li, Z., Chen V., Gold J., Virtual Reality and pain management: current trends and future directions, “Pain Management” 2011, 1, pp. 147–157

Mutekwe E., The impact of technology on social change: a sociological perspective, “Journal of Research in Peace, Gender and Development” 2012, Vol. 2(11), pp. 226–238, <> (retreived on 11.11.2016)

New York Times, VR platform, <> (retreived on 26.01.2017).

Özlem Yiğit E., Science, technology and social change course’s effects on technological literacy levels of social studies pre-service teachers, “TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology” 2013, Vol. 12(3), July, <> (retreived on 15.09.2016)

Peña P. de la, Weil J., Llobera E., Giannopoulos, Pomés A., Spanlang B., Friedman D., Sanchez-Vives M.V., Slater M., Immersive Journalism: Immersive Virtual Reality for the First Person Experience of News, “Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments” 2010, 19, no. 4, pp. 291–301

Peyton P., Interview with Marshall McLuhan on Television Show, “Family Theatre” 1971, 14 November, <> (retreived on 2.08.2017)

Platoni K., Virtual Reality Aimed At The Elderly Finds New Fans, 2016, <> (retreived on 03.02.2017)

Post-truth, in: Oxford English dictionary online, 2016, <> (retreived online on 8.08.2017)

Reflections on the life of M.C. Escher (25.09.2012), <> (retreived on 5.01.2017)

Seetharaman D., What does virtual reality do to your body and mind?, 2016, <> (retreived on 15.02.2017)

Sheridan T.B., Musings on Telepresence and Virtual Presence, “Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments” 1992, 1(1), pp. 120–125

Slater M., Wilbur S., A Framework for Immersive Virtual Environments (FIVE): Speculations on the Role of Presence in Virtual Environments, “Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments” 1997, 6(6), pp. 603–616

Sobchak C., Carnal thoughts : embodiment and moving image culture, Berkeley 2004, <> (retreived on 6.08.2017)

Spicer A.H., Film and visual culture, in: I. Heywood, B. Sandywell, M. Gardiner, N. Gunalan, C.M. Soussloff (eds.), The Handbook of Visual Culture, 2012, (on 10.08.2017)

Spiegelberg H., The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction, 2nd ed., 2 vols., The Hague, 1965

Stark L., Choi Y., Yu Y., Visual Imagery and Virtual Reality. New Evidence Supporting The Scanpath Theory Explains the Illusion of Completeness and Clarity, in: V. Lakshminarayanan (ed.), Basic and Clinical Applications of Vision Science: The Professor Jay M. Enoch Festschrift Volume, Dordrecht 1997

Vertov D., Kino-Eye, 1924.

Webster M.A., Evolving concepts of sensory adaptation, “F1000 Biol. Rep.” 2012, 4, p. 21. doi: 10.3410/B4–21

Willems O.,. Even Pastors Hate the Inconvenience of Computer Lag, 2015, <> (retreived on 16.11.2016)

Witmer B.G., Singer M.J., Measuring Presence in Virtual Environments: A Presence Questionnaire”, “Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments” 1998, 7(3), pp. 225–240

Yangxingyue, Virtual Reality: A New Perspective in Storytelling 2016, <> (retrieved on 03.12.2016)

Ziulkowski K., Vicious Circle, created by NEW INC, <> (retreived on 16.11.2016)