DENVER (CBS4) – The 42nd annual Denver Film Festival is underway and has something for everyone, including virtual reality. The McNichols building in downtown Denver has been transformed into a “virtual reality arcade” with different experiences for visitors to try out.
“Every time you go in one, you can have a different experience,” explained Aja Duniven, the Virtual Reality Manager of the Denver Film Festival.
With a headset and set of controllers, each experience can take you somewhere new. Adam West said he’s always loved video games and exploring, so he wanted to check out the VR arcade.
“Some can feel like you’re in a video game, others are like real life places. So it can really make you feel like you’re in a different world,” West said. “It’s pretty neat.”
Duniven told CBS4 that virtual reality is a type of art form in the digital age that continues to evolve. On the artistic end of the technology, using virtual reality can put you in the middle of a story.
“It’s different than a two dimensional movie or video that you would see where you can actually go up to the animation and get very, very close to them,” she explained. “You become part of the story and can do what you want with that.”
Duniven said a few of their experiences are immersive, that includes actors who guide you through the storyline. In other cases, virtual reality can be educational.
“Surgeons often use it as a tool for training,” Duniven said. “You could come up against something that could go wrong and learn it before you’re in a situation where there is real risk.”
The Denver Film Festival also displays an experience called “Imagine! Colorado — Beer Training,” which was created in Boulder by Reality Garage. It teaches people how to package beer before they have to do it on the job.
“It’s used to educate people with disabilities to actually go into the virtual reality and learn how to do these in person,” she told CBS4. “So it’s more of a training.”
The Denver Film Festival is open through Nov. 11. Eight of the virtual reality arcades are free to the public. The other three immersive experiences require a ticket. For more information, you can visit denverfilmfestival.denverfilm.org/festival-annex/virtual-reality/.