Google has today announced the release of what it refers to as ‘a new experimental VR film’ called “Tabel.” The name is a play on the word 'table' as that is essentially where the focus of the film lies. More specifically, tables. A busy restaurant is the backdrop for the movie and the film plays out in the first-person perspective with the viewer seated at one of the restaurant’s tables. The storyline then unfolds by the viewer listening in on the conversations that are happening on tables nearby. Where the “experimental” aspect comes in, is that at some level this is an interactive movie. While the focus of the story is placed on the tables around the viewer, the viewer is able to selectively listen to the table (and thereby, the conversation) that they want to, at any point. By making use of a “unique audio technique” the viewer (or listener) just has to turn their head in the direction of any of the individual tables, and they will be able to just listen in to that conversation - not dissimilar (although probably less discreet) than what someone might actually do in a similar real-life situation.
However, there is another dimension to this video and while it designed to showcase the unique audio technique in play, the video is also intended to highlight the effects of climate change in the lead up to Earth Day. This is the more serious message that Google is trying to get through, although it a more subtle way. While the viewer tunes into the conversations happening around them, the viewer will also be made privy to the unfolding of the meltdown of the restaurant. A situation which occurs while everyone else is too busy with their own dialogue to notice. With the underlying message being that most people are too busy to notice the effects of climate change happening around them.
For those interested in checking out the new film, this is one which Google has looked to make as widely available as possible. Although, Google does note that a specific focus was placed on viewing the film through a mobile browser, thanks to its creation in WebVR. In either case, it can be viewed in 360 through a VR headset, on a mobile device along with Google Cardboard or Daydream View, or simply through a Chrome browser. Head through the link below to directly start viewing the film, or hit play below to check out the trailer first.