Kyle Miller Final VR Project – Drive In Movie Theatre in Unity
For my final project, I set out to construct my own personal Drive-In movie theatre in Unity. Two years ago, I visited a drive-in theatre about 30 mins outside Syracuse and saw the horror film, It Follows, with a couple friends. It was the first time I got to experience a film in a way I thought had went extinct. In reality, there are still a few drive-in theaters in the U.S. but the number of them has gotten very low. This project was a way for people to relive this type of experience. I also wanted to make this project, because I believe it is an interesting approach to exhibiting my future film projects aside from putting them on Vimeo and Youtube.
As I started working on the project, I realized I only could do much with what I had. Luckily, I was able to find a free monitor asset that served as my screen, but the personal version of Unity I had on my laptop restricted the quality of the videos I showed. As for personalizing my environment, I was able to find a bunch of old cars that really fit the scene and I used some basic 3D characters to be my audience.
At first, I had no idea of how to get my videos to play on the screen. I researched tons of tutorials and eventually found out how to create a #C script to have my video play on a panel object as my scene began. Other than that, getting my 3D characters to animate and talk was not very hard since I had experience with Playmaker.
In the end, the small story I added along the scene of you trying to find the missing film reel was something I added to create some sort of narrative. The project was really focused on creating a new platform for people to watch movies they love or show off work of their own in an interesting VR environment. For anyone inspired by my project, I would suggest you upgrade your version of Unity to the paid version to acquire great video quality playback and establish a small budget to get some assets that will give your project a 70’s-80’s drive-in vibe. Also remember this is a complex editing system and you will need to have some patience when working with it. These are all things I am looking to add to this project in the future. I would love to be able to show my next film project to Oculus and Vive users through this scene.