In February 2018 Flix was invited by Sandy Lambert to the Motor Neurone Disease Association South Essex AGM to deliver Virtual Reality experiences to their members. Being the second MND event the Association had invited us to we asked whether it would be ok if we captured some of the wonderful responses and here they are!
Aired in March 2017, as part of the final edition of BBC 1 Inside Out for the season, this short film features the work Flix Films is undertaking in partnership with Royal Trinity Hospice and care facilities to bring VR Experiences to people who find themselves isolated or restricted in interacting with the world as a result of their health or age.
In 2016 our film work led us to a partnership with the Motor Neurone Disease Association here in the UK. During this time we came to really understand the limitations and isolation that can result from serious health conditions, and wondered what could be done to try and help.
Through MNDA we were fortunate enough to meet Sarah Ezekiel, Sarah has lived with MND for over 16 years and has a form of MND that means she has minimal body movement. She communicates via ‘Tobii Eye Gaze’ technology and has used her illness to inspire and pioneer technology benefitting others with limited movement. We asked Sarah if there were any experiences she wished she’d had – her reply was ‘I always wanted to swim with dolphins’.
It was a light-bulb moment!
Through connections we had in the VR entertainment industry, we were able to organise a demonstration for Sarah. Our hope was to give her an experience as close to reality as possible, using real life filmed content. We weren’t sure how her physical limitations would affect her experience, or how she would feel.
Check out Sarah’s first VR experience!
It was immediately clear to us that VR could have life changing impacts on people like Sarah, who face isolation and limitations in experiencing things we might otherwise take for granted.
Understanding that most VR development is aimed at the entertainment and gaming market, we decided to try and explore how VR might be developed specifically to help people.
Our first step was to sift through ‘000s hours of existing material to put together playlists of the very best experiential VR footage, to start to understand what works. Our playlists are available for everyone to benefit from HERE.
Our next step is to research how to develop the best VR content to benefit people’s health and wellbeing – to understand how all the pieces need to come together, combining filming techniques, sound scape, and content.
And we’re putting our money where our hearts are – investing in new technology that will allow us to capture live events and training experiences, and deliver live streaming, and 4K quality film so that we can produce the very best content as we learn.