Using an HMD with a head-tracking system, we produced a short movie through Oculus Rift. We developed several gimmicks that take advantage of the features of the head-tracking system.
Leading the Viewer’s Eyes
One of the most important features of this movie is that the players are able to see any direction across a viewing angle of 360°. This condition means that we have to lead the players’ eyes such that they can witness and encounter the scary scenes in the movie. In this study, we choose the occurrence of sudden sounds based on the “perfect formula” of the horror genre. For example, we devise a loud banging sound that causes the player to turn his/her head toward the direction from which the sound is coming. At the same time, a red handprint with blood appears on the wall, as shown in Fig. 4.
We set the surround speaker system so that the sudden sound may also occur from behind the viewer. When the sound occurs behind the viewer, he/she is able to turn his/her head to see what is happening at the back of the stage.
Sense of Blockade
In contrast to watching a usual display, the scenery spreads out across an angle of 270° in Oculus Rift, and the audience feels an extreme sense of blockade when they are shut in a small space. People develop a sense of fear in such a closed and small space. In this project, the fear is directed by shutting the audience in a small elevator.
Height of Viewpoint
We also consider the difference in the “scares” produced by varying the height of the viewing angle of the audience. The point of view from a low angle is shown in Fig. 5, and that from a high angle is shown in Fig. 6.
A comparison between Figs. 5 and 6 shows that a view from a low position gives the viewer a sense of expanse on the stage. Thus, the viewer senses that the viewpoint is weak. The height of the point of view is set to approximately 120–130 cm in this project.
In this movie, the coaster enters the elevator and moves underground in the end. The space in the elevator is small and dark, thereby giving the viewer a sense of blockade. Numerous gimmicks are presented before the viewer arrives to this scene, so when nothing happens in this space, the viewer is being alarmed reversely. The space inside the elevator is shown in Fig. 7.
Approach Close and Hand
One gimmick is that an unidentified ghost attacks the player at the end of the movie. The HMD shows the ghost approaching the player from the front and coming several centimeters close to him/her. The ghost attacks by hanging from the top so that it looks as huge as possible, as shown in Fig. 8.