The announcement for a new VR cinema showing appeared on the bristol post website , a media site riddled with spelling mistakes and boring news about locals finding the size of a biscuit they purchased from a national pizza chain, appalling. Not wanting to know the ‘paper’ as much as simply see it improve.
Anyways , Limina sounded pretty cool. A VR cinema experience is definitely sci-fi to an 80s kid, this was the stuff we dreamt of as kids, I guess some of the dreamers actually went on to build exactly what we yearned for.
Limina itself is sat in between mckenzies ,and stables, two pretty lively bars which did mean the occasional sounds of drunken banter could be heard during the ‘performance’
Inside the place looked clean, minimal, a comfortable temporary look. They’d put up a white screening which we would sit behind probably to avoid making us feel self-conscious as people could peer in . There was also a little corner seating which they called the ‘quiet area’ ,they definitely gave the impression you’d need to ground yourself after the experience. The website certainly made the operation sound like it was ran with strict efficiency.
It was a lot more chilled in real life.
Myself and a couple friends sat on our swivel chairs with about 10 others , feeling a fair bit of anticipation , we got a brief introduction of the kit and told to simply raise our hands if needing help while wearing the VR gear, which we then donned.
Masks on , headphones on and a bright cartoony Bristol gorge and suspension bridge flooded your eyes while a thespian voice soothingly intro’d the experience we were about to have, I started spinning around on my chair to get that full 360 experience.
There were three videos, the first had us stood in ankle deep flowing seawater while three women danced around you , getting ever closer , a little unnerving when they are what appears to be inches away from you and almost managing eye contact.
Our second video was set in some really beautiful underwater scenes as world class free divers talked about their sport/philosophies on life, whales and dolphins took center stage. Near the end of this video why chest tightened a little with a tiny bit of claustrophobia before I shook it iff with a quick deep breath.
The final video was set in Indonesia as local fishermen talked about their families and the part they play in the conservation of their seas. The last piece had the best visuals , gorgeous scenes of coral teeming with life, shots of the community at church , travelling out to sea , their kids playing, then the acres of white coral, lifeless, death. It was a little sobering but I was still a little too buzzed from watching VR cinema that the point didn’t quite hit home yet. Maybe as Vr gets more familiar and the quality improves it’ll help reinforce the more serious messages like that one to people like me,
The experience was similar to google cardboard , just hands-free , the imagery occasionally flickering although am not entirely sure if that wasn’t either my focus setting being a bit off or that it was entirely intentional.
We definitely enjoyed the experience, feeling invigorated afterwards, spending a good 20 minutes stood in the slipstream of pissed up groups passing between bars while we enthused about the experience we’d just had. Definitely a good way to color an evening with some memorable activity and experience.