In this paper Chouette Films explores the potential of virtual reality (VR) technology to be used in the preservation of cultural rituals and heritage for posterity. It reﬂects on the example of the endangered Yasna ritual and its documentation in VR for the Multimedia Yasna (MUYA) project at SOAS, University of London, funded by the European Research Council (ERC). T
The paper describes some of the challenges faced by ﬁlmmakers working in the ﬁeld and explains the solutions presented by VR technology.
It concludes with a call to decolonialise ﬁlmmaking through the new possibilities brought by VR.
There has always been an apparent tendency within ﬁlmmaking for the craft of documentary production to be lured by new developments in technology. “From Vertov’s kino-eye, through the search for portable synch to video’s changing formats, its premise has often been seen as being dependent on technological capacities” (Dovey and Rose, in Winston, 2013 :366).
In this regard, the advancement of VR has not been an exception to the technology-led trend. However, according to the Strategic Industry Analysis exclusive report released by IABM at the NAB 2018, “premium costs of professional VR equipment remain too high with the added challenge of producing native VR content remains unclear from a creative perspective”.
As a result, the industry is gradually abandoning VR in favour of exploring the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR). However, with the increasing popularity of consumer affordable VR cameras, there is one sector which promises to beneﬁt further from VR and where the technology could take root: the sector of world language and ritual documentation in academia.