Instagram Rolls Out AR Selfie Lenses, Adds Location Hashtag

Again copying a Snapchat feature, Instagram introduced a face icon with eight filters, allowing users to transform themselves. Among the filters are koala bears and bunnies (perfect for kids), and flower crowns, which might be a hit with teens. Nine months ago, Instagram debuted its disappearing Stories, aping the format made popular by Snapchat. Since then, Instagram Stories has built up 200 million daily active users, compared to Snap’s 166 million. Instagram hasn’t said if it will rotate or expand the filters over time. Continue reading Instagram Rolls Out AR Selfie Lenses, Adds Location Hashtag

Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

The growth of Snapchat’s audience, now at about 166 million daily users, appears to be slowing, and analysts and stockholders have taken note. On its May 10 quarterly report, the first since its March IPO, chief executive Evan Spiegel offered up the idea that his company’s AR Lenses present users with a creative tool they can’t find elsewhere, even though the Lenses have now been copied by Facebook. A new report shows that Snap’s trouble drawing in new users got serious at the start of Q2, even as rival Instagram pulls ahead. Continue reading Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

Video Electronics Standards Association Set to Tackle AR/VR

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) just formed a Special Interest Group (SIG) to examine standardization for augmented reality and virtual reality. With the rise of AR/VR-enabled eyeglasses and head-mounted displays for gaming and movies, developers are finding that the lack of standards is negatively impacting their ability to make products interoperable. According to VESA, the lack of standards also increases the complexity and cost of development, ownership and replacement and creates confusion for end users. Continue reading Video Electronics Standards Association Set to Tackle AR/VR

Facebook Benefits From Expanded Video Content, Digital Ads

Facebook reports that its Q1 profit leaped 76 percent to $3.06 billion, putting to rest concerns that video-ad performance or graphic content stymied growth. Alphabet enjoyed 29 percent growth in net profit in the same quarter, apparently undamaged by brands finding their content advertised against objectionable YouTube videos. The two tech titans currently account for 99 percent of the online ad industry’s revenue growth, says Pivotal Research, even as marketers express growing concern over fake news and live video issues. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to push new video content. Continue reading Facebook Benefits From Expanded Video Content, Digital Ads

Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitiello drew a fresh picture of the XR industry in his keynote address at the Vision VR/AR Summit 2017 in Hollywood this week (extended reality — or XR — is an umbrella term that includes VR, AR and MR). Riccitiello admonished analysts for their overly exuberant prognostications and reactionary pessimism about the VR market. He projected that XR adoption and value calculations will exceed expectations in 2023 if three conditions are met: a price point below $1,000 for all the necessary hardware; truly mobile technology; and content that can be monetized across 100,000,000 devices, at minimum. Continue reading Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

Microsoft Targets Education Market with New Surface Laptop

Microsoft debuted its new $999 Surface Laptop, targeted to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air in the classroom. The new Surface, available in four colors, is 2.76-pounds, a bit lighter and thinner than Air and offers a 14.5-hour battery life, slightly longer than the Air’s. On the less expensive end, Microsoft partners Acer, Lenovo and HP unveiled laptops, also running Windows 10 S, for the education market starting at $189. Windows 10 S, touted as more secure, can run apps from Microsoft’s Windows Store. Continue reading Microsoft Targets Education Market with New Surface Laptop

Students Discuss Their Media Habits at ETC Member Meeting

The ETC@USC has produced a 10-minute highlights reel edited from a one-hour discussion with a panel of eight USC students that took place at the ETC’s April 6th All Members Meeting. The panel of undergraduates included students studying business, the arts, journalism and technology. The students discussed what motivates them to go to a movie theater, the role of big screen TVs in their lives, what they think of VR and AR, what they would buy if they were given $3,000 to spend on entertainment, and a number of other interesting topics. Visit the ETC website or YouTube channel to access the video.

Continue reading Students Discuss Their Media Habits at ETC Member Meeting

NAB 2017: A Look at the Evolving Trends in VR and AR Audio

At the ETC conference on VR/AR, Source Sound VR’s Linda Gedemer moderated a panel of audio experts to talk about today’s VR audio tools, the trends animating VR audio, and their wish list for future technology. Everyone agreed that the audio toolsets for VR/AR seem to change nearly every day, although a handful of tools — such as Dolby Atmos and game tool Wwise — stand out as being widely accepted in this industry sector. Panelists from OSSIC, Nokia, and Source Sound VR described the toolsets they use. Continue reading NAB 2017: A Look at the Evolving Trends in VR and AR Audio

NAB 2017: Technicolor Unveils Research and Trials in VR, AR

At NAB in Las Vegas, Technicolor gathered group chief technology officer Cristina Gomila, group SVP/CTO home division Jon Walkenhorst and Technicolor Experience Center head Marcie Jastrow to talk about the company’s work in immersion, 360-degree video, virtual reality and other nascent technologies. Jastrow pointed out that these are early days for virtual reality. “The technology is still rough and delivering experiences to headsets isn’t easy,” she said. Yet Technicolor has been involved in 18 VR projects in the last year. Continue reading NAB 2017: Technicolor Unveils Research and Trials in VR, AR

NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

Epic’s Unreal Engine is best known as a game engine, but general manager Marc Petit introduced the company’s enterprise division, which focuses on everything but games. This was Unreal Engine’s first-ever NAB, but for Petit, who worked many years at Softimage and attended numerous NABs, the meeting of the digital image and the game engine was more than symbolic. He used the press conference to showcase the work of several media and entertainment partners, including VizRT, The Future Group, House of Moves and Ross Video. Continue reading NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

NAB 2017: Pre-Conference Sessions Examine Virtual Reality

It was clear from the SMPTE Future of Cinema sessions and the Post Production World sessions on VR that the NAB community has moved beyond defining virtual reality to how to address specific challenges and questions. Industry leaders gathered in Las Vegas to discuss the latest in VR production and post production, covering areas such as audio, video, hardware and more. Discussions during the pre-NAB weekend sessions also addressed compelling issues related to augmented reality, artificial intelligence, deep learning — even ethics, PR and marketing. Continue reading NAB 2017: Pre-Conference Sessions Examine Virtual Reality

Facebook Pursues App Ecosystem: AR Powered by Cameras

Bolstered by last summer’s breakout popularity of “Pokémon Go,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has shifted focus from VR to AR, which combines the real and digital worlds. At the annual F8 conference, he stated that Facebook will make its AR tools available to developers to create everything from custom masks to filters. Partners already include Nike, Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. The shift to AR puts Facebook in competition with its rival Snap’s Snapchat and Microsoft HoloLens. Continue reading Facebook Pursues App Ecosystem: AR Powered by Cameras

ETC@USC Posts New vNAB Conference Videos on YouTube

More than 30 videos from the 3rd annual Entertainment Technology Center@USC vNAB Conference are going live for viewing on the ETCenterVideos YouTube channel. This year’s vNAB featured thought leaders and catalysts from the entertainment, consumer electronics, technology, and service industries presenting their insider’s perspective on emerging and disruptive technologies. The talks were recorded March 20-21 at Google’s offices in Venice, California. The vNAB Conference is a prelude to the Next Generation Media Technologies sessions scheduled for the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 25-26. Continue reading ETC@USC Posts New vNAB Conference Videos on YouTube

AMD Pitches Latency-Free Virtual Reality via Super-Fast Wi-Fi

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has acquired Nitero, a startup responsible for a 60-gigahertz wireless chip that transmits high-res video without latency. AMD, which bought the company for an undisclosed price, believes that Nitero’s chip will enable it to push sales of more wireless virtual reality headsets. Sales of VR headsets, according to AMD executive Roy Taylor, have been limited due to their need to be tethered to a computer. Nitero was originally a spinoff from a research center sponsored by the Australian government. Continue reading AMD Pitches Latency-Free Virtual Reality via Super-Fast Wi-Fi

Interactive Media Emmys Redefined, May 1st Entry Deadline

The Emmy Award categories for Interactive Media have been completely redesigned for the 69th Emmy Award season. The Interactive Media Peer Group of the Television Academy announced four Category Awards and one new Juried Award. The four categories are Outstanding Interactive Program, Outstanding Original Interactive Program, Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within a Scripted Program, and Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within an Unscripted Program. The reimagined Juried Award for Innovation in Interactive Programming will recognize pioneering interactive work in emerging uses of interactive media in television. Continue reading Interactive Media Emmys Redefined, May 1st Entry Deadline

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