FILMGOERS first had to get used to the talkies, then Technicolor, followed by computer-generated special effects and 3D in recent years.

Now the latest technology to hit our screens is virtual reality, where the viewer is in the thick of the action alongside the actors.

Two Scottish-based artists will make film history this week when they show their debut in virtual reality at the 10th Glasgow Short Film Festival, which runs from 15-19 March with 32 films from 24 countries.

Digital artists Dennis and Debbie Club will invite the audience to don a virtual reality viewing helmet, which takes them to a virtual cinema lobby. There they can select a film to watch, including the world premier of a 360-degree Scottish film, The Perfect Place made by Scottish Ballet in partnership with the BBC.

German artist Dennis Reinmüller, who was trained at Edinburgh College of Art and collaborates with Scottish artist Debbie Moody as one half of the Dennis and Debbie Club, said: “Three years ago we set out to do virtual reality, teaching ourselves 3D modelling from YouTube videos so we could make digital animations.

“We are excited by VR because it gives such freedom of expression – you can make your own world and invite the audience into it – and because we want to showcase a new medium that is worthwhile engaging with.

“I don’t think VR will replace standard filming but will sit beside it. VR feels like a whole-body experience.

“Some critics of the medium say it shuts people off from reality but I think it does the opposite. For example, if you play a zombie shooting video game, you automatically reach for a weapon when you see a zombie. But when you wear a VR headset you have a different experience and you run away, terrified. This is the way you would react in real life.

“Unlike 3D, VR is in real time and has weight and presence, with 360-degree views so you feel like you are completely immersed in the film.”

Scottish Ballet choreographer Sophie Laplace created The Perfect Place, a contemporary dance piece that tells the story of a disintegrating relationship between a couple, performed by Maddy Squire and Nicholas Shoesmith.

“It’s an immersive experience and a new way of enjoying dance. It’s as if there were an invisible audience on stage with the dancers.

“I’ve seen nothing like this before. At one point you can see the dancers from above, which you would never see in the theatre. The closeness means the emotion is really heightened and you feel uncomfortable when the performers are crying. There is no barrier – you are right in the room with the dancers.

“I think this could bring new audiences to dance. It’s a powerful medium.”

Festival director Matt Lloyd said: “VR is fascinating but it is in its infancy. I believe it is an art form in its own right that demands a different set of skills from the filmmaker.

“I don’t think it will replace filming, but who knows what the future will bring?”