Virtual reality is not just "the next big thing", and definitely far more than just a gimmick. It's an entirely new step in the evolution of visual storytelling.  It's not just 3D and a step forward from film: it's a new medium. We've explored it in our Virtual Reality Filmmaking Toolkit, where you can learn how to make a VR Experience for less than £400.

There's already a VR Film Festival, Sundance has set up VR workshops, and this year's Raindance Film Festival will be accepting Virtual Reality submissions.

Granted, it's still burgeoning, at this point in the game, yet we've already seen very exciting stuff. Here are a few:

Stepping Into A Painting

For the art fans out there, feeling completely immersed into a painting is not really groundbreaking. Not like this, though. You can now be literally immersed in the painting. Does it sound surreal? Yes, and that's why it's quite fitting that the first painting chosen to be turned into a VR experience is by surrealist artist Salvador Dali. You can drop in the world of Archeological Reminiscence of Millet's Angelus in the video below.

(If you fancy that, you can also actually paint in virtual reality here.)

Going To War

The Syrian Civil War is heartbreaking for many reasons: not only does it force people to move away from their home, it has killed hundreds of thousands of people who didn't what they were fighting for, or for whom, and in their home country. Not to mention the fact that it's still ongoing in no small part because of Western leaders passivity. Now, a country which is part of the cradle of humanity is almost completely destroyed. Yet for many of us, it remains conceptual, or far away.

Aleppo is one of the biggest cities in Syria, and is almost entirely destroyed. "Welcome to Aleppo" is an immersive, virtual reality documentary exploring the city's current state.

(In the autumn of 2015, The New York Times started doing groundbreaking virtual reality reporting, in partnership with Google Cardboard, which is absolutely stunning.)

Paul McCartney in concert

Jaunt is one of the leading companies in Virtual Reality entertainment. They've been at the forefront of developing experimental virtual reality storytelling as well as providing accessible entertainment. So they recorded Sir Paul during an incredible performance of Live And Let Die, and you can now watch it from the stage with Google Cardboard.

Pixar's getting in there

Oculus is ahead of anyone in the VR game, thanks to Facebook's millions. Google follows, and Apple is rumored to be exploring it as well. What about Pixar? They've done groundbreaking computer storytelling since "Toy Story" in 1995, and they're dipping their toe in virtual reality with the story of Henry the hedgehog.

Exploring the Overlook Hotel

As if Kubrick's old-fashioned, celluloid, 2D movie wasn't creepy enough, you can now become the new caretaker of the Overlook Hotel yourself. Doesn't that sound exciting? Granted, that's probably a film come true for most film buffs, and it's now possible on Oculus.

What about you?

Does virtual reality storytelling excite you? Do you want to tell a story through virtual reality?

Go to the  Virtual Reality Filmmaking Toolkit to learn how to produce a VR film for less than £400! You can also book our Hands-On Virtual Reality Workshop, which will help you approach this new medium. Then show us your stories at RDFF24! 2016 is the year virtual reality will go mainstream, and you can be at the forefront.

Baptiste Charles-Aubert
Baptiste is currently Raindance's Postgraduate Degree Registrar. A writer who comes from the part of France where it's always sunny, with a background having studied in a business school and having written about diversity in film. But what he really does is make up stories and write narrative fiction. He knows cuteness, because he once saw a unicorn eat a cupcake.