360-degree VR works are carried out in different fields for various purposes such as physical training, psychiatric treatment or entertainment. In 2017, the Venice International Film Festival launched the first competition for story-based VR works; this significant gesture indicates the emergence of a new form of cinema: VR cinema. In Taiwan, the Kaohsiung Film Archive has produced ten 360-degree VR works since 2017 and the Golden Horse Academy also produced five works in 2018 in celebration of its 10thanniversary.Takingacloserlookattheseworks,theyrevealadeep connectionwiththenarrativefilmonthelanguagelevel. However, it requires further analytic arguments for story-based 360-degree VR works to be called “Cinematic VR”. First comes the question of how the cinematographic language can be identified in 360-degree VR works. Is there a certain narrative heritage deriving from the narrative film in this new media? If the answer is positive, what elements of the cinematographic language can be recognized? Do they still maintain the same nature in 360-degree VR works as in the narrative film? Or is there any inevitable change due to their different natures on technological and dispositive level? Ultimately, can we still put story-based 360-degree VR works within the genealogy of cinema? Is “Cinematic VR” an appropriate term? To answer the above questions, we will examine cinematographic terms such as frame, shot, sequence/plan-sequence in four VR works by Taiwanese filmmakers: Your Spiritual Temple Sucks by John Hsu, The Train Hamasen by Lai Kuan-Yuan, Afterimage for Tomorrow by Chen Singing and Mr. Buddha by Lee Chung. Are the terms suitable for the VR works? Does any transformation or variation occur within the images that surround the spectator? How is the cinematic experience altered in a virtual reality environment?
Introduction: cinematic virtual reality is NOT cinema?
New languages for cinematic virtual reality
The frame as the substratum of the narrative viewpoint and the formal experience
B. The screen experience