VR Filmmakers Explore New Platforms at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival, there was evidence that that some of the pioneering virtual reality companies are expanding — or shifting — their purview from VR movies into other genres. Sundance’s New Frontier program, which launched five years ago, highlighted VR filmmaking. At this year’s festival, long-time VR producers such as Felix & Paul are still engaging in virtual reality projects, but others are exploring augmented reality, connected devices and artificial intelligence in their interactive stories. Continue reading VR Filmmakers Explore New Platforms at Sundance Festival

Startup Within to Release Augmented Reality App for Children

Los Angeles-based immersive media startup Within plans to release Wonderscope, an augmented reality app for children, later this month. With Wonderscope, mobile AR superimposes characters, scenes and stories onto an iPad camera view of a real-world environment. Within chief executive Chris Milk noted that, with Wonderscope and a smartphone, anyone can have “this new magical ability.” “It’s like a lens for invisible magical things that you couldn’t see with your naked eye,” he added. Continue reading Startup Within to Release Augmented Reality App for Children

Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Within, a Los Angeles-based cinematic virtual reality startup, just unveiled a website that allows users to have a VR experience on any device, from a desktop PC or mobile phone to a dedicated VR headset. The company relies on WebVR technology that avoids the need to download additional software to be able to play VR experiences in supported browsers. Users without a VR headset can navigate the content via the web browser, and those with VR headsets use hand controllers and tracking tools. Continue reading Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Hollywood Creatives Starting to Explore New VR Experiences

The studios are getting serious about VR productions, infusing them with more talent, money and time, and focusing on higher production values, original stories and a bit of celebrity. At the Tribeca Film Festival, virtual reality productions from director Kathryn Bigelow, musicians John Legend and Pharrell Williams, and producer Megan Ellison among others will be showcased. IMAX is also investing in venues for experiencing VR, with a center opening in Los Angeles, and plans to open more in the U.S., U.K., and China. Continue reading Hollywood Creatives Starting to Explore New VR Experiences

Sundance Festival VR Offerings Include Sensory Experiences

At the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, the New Frontier exhibit features 20 VR experiences and 11 installations touting the latest in technology, with new VR headsets, haptic controllers and even vibrating suits. The Synesthesia Suit, with its 26 vibrating actuators, was created by a Japanese team and Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who, 15 years ago, created a “trance vibrator” accessory for his Sega Dreamcast game “Rez.” Now, in Enhance Games’ “Rez Infinite,” the Synesthesia Suit wearer “feels” the game, flying through cyberspace to a techno beat. Continue reading Sundance Festival VR Offerings Include Sensory Experiences

Vrse Changes its Name to Within and Raises More VC Money

VR company Vrse has changed its name to Within and received $12.56 million in funding, led by venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Other Within investors include 21st Century Fox and Annapurna Pictures. This is just the latest example of the huge sums that VR and AR companies have been able to garner. Magic Leap raised $793.5 million earlier this year, and Disney spearheaded a $65 million round for VR firm Jaunt. Comcast also led a $6.8 million Series A funding round in VR studio Felix & Paul. Continue reading Vrse Changes its Name to Within and Raises More VC Money

Must-See VR at Sundance: Volumetric Capture, Empathic Tales

At the Sundance Film Festival, the latest in virtual reality appears at the New Frontier, the Sundance Institute’s showcase for virtual reality, immersive cinematic works, and media lab innovations. 2016 is no exception, and the buzz is already out about some of the must-see virtual reality movies and experiences. Among them, “The Wasteland” from 8i is one recommendation. Other notable VR experiences at Sundance include “American Bison,” “Kiya” and “Wave of Grace.” Continue reading Must-See VR at Sundance: Volumetric Capture, Empathic Tales

YouTube Announces HDR Video Support, GoPro Partnership

YouTube announced that it would join Netflix and Amazon in supporting high dynamic range technology for its video content. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer was on stage during CES with GoPro CEO Nick Woodman and Vrse CEO Chris Milk discussing 360-degree video when he mentioned the HDR news. YouTube also plans a partnership with GoPro to deliver more 360-degree content to its online platform. LG, Panasonic and Sony were among the manufacturers in Las Vegas promoting new HDR-compatible TVs. Continue reading YouTube Announces HDR Video Support, GoPro Partnership

VR Exploding at Sundance Fest, to Reach $70B Value by 2020

At the Sundance Film Festival in January, the New Frontier program will host 30 virtual reality experiences, more than double the number from last year. Those 30 were chosen from a pool of 200 to 300 submissions. Most projects are artistic or experimental but two came out of Hollywood, highlighting continued interest there. Now, pointing to Facebook and Google’s big investments and recent VR experiments by the National Basketball Association and The New York Times, one market researcher projects virtual reality’s value at $70 billion by 2020. Continue reading VR Exploding at Sundance Fest, to Reach $70B Value by 2020

Facebook Pushes 360 Videos, Both Branded and Independent

Facebook, which has begun to build VR-like 360-degree videos into its site, now allows users to enjoy a true VR experience on the Samsung Gear VR. The company also launched a microsite to provide potential 360 filmmakers with best practices, guidelines and FAQs. VR producers, Vrse’s Chris Milk and Aaron Koplin also show the best way to make immersive video. Facebook has jumped into VR to stay fresh and, while offering users a chance to enjoy VR, also add some juice to its own VmaRketing. Continue reading Facebook Pushes 360 Videos, Both Branded and Independent

New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

The New York Times debuted its second, and most ambitious VR film, “The Displaced,” along with its NYT VR app, which can be viewed with Google Cardboard. Produced in partnership with VR studio Vrse, the 11-minute documentary, which focuses on the daily lives of three refugee children across the world, was directed by Ben Solomon and Imraan Ismail and shown at a premiere that included a panel discussion that included participation of Vrse chief executive Chris Milk, who characterizes virtual reality as “the last medium.” Continue reading New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

Vrse Envisions a Cinematic Future for Virtual Reality Content

Vrse, a virtual reality content company headquartered in Los Angeles, recently brought on former Rdio chief executive Drew Larner as its chief operating officer. The company has also drawn investment from Andreessen Horowitz, Live Nation, Vice Media and Annapurna Pictures. It’s all about creating content that goes beyond gaming, notes chief executive Chris Milk. To that end, the company plans to produce its own content, through Vrse Works, and distribute its own and others’ through the Vrse app for VR headsets. Continue reading Vrse Envisions a Cinematic Future for Virtual Reality Content

New VR Content Shows the Future of News and Documentaries

Virtual reality is poised as the next revolution in storytelling, and the creators of VR content are not picking the easy stories. For example, Vice News is using VR to cover the New York Million March, a demonstration in which 25,000 people protested police violence. The United Nations’ campaign to raise awareness of vulnerable communities includes a VR film that follows the plight of 12-year-old Syrian refugee. Both the news report and the film are available on the VRSE platform, which makes such stories readily accessible.  Continue reading New VR Content Shows the Future of News and Documentaries

VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival in Park City next month, attendees can expect to watch both great films and virtual reality experiences. Ten of the 13 installations in the festival’s New Frontier program involve VR or other digital interactive technology. These projects use several different brands of headsets, from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR, and for one of the first times, the content for these devices will be original, not a promotion for an existing movie. Continue reading VR Films Are Expected to Make a Splash at Sundance Festival

Musicians Turn to Location Technologies for Creative Fan Interaction

  • ETCentric has featured a number of compelling reports regarding how mobile- and location-based technologies are making their way into the music world. Some very creative uses for location data are currently being implemented by musicians. For example…
  • Arcade Fire’s “The Wilderness Downtown” website asks viewers for an address and then incorporates Google Maps footage of that location into their music video. The band worked with video director Chris Milk, Google and@radical.media to create a fascinating HTML5 multi-browser experience.
  • OK Go (a big fan of technology with a reputation for media experimentation) asked fans to create GPS journeys that the band then edited into one of their music videos.
  • Panic at the Disco asked fans to send their videos of a recent 23-city tour that they will cut into their video. The band teamed up with the Viddy app launched in May (the “Instagram for video” allows users to create stylized videos and share them on social networks).
  • Bluebrain’s “National Mall” album adapts to your GPS location when using their app while walking around the Mall in downtown Washington, DC. Selections from three hours of recordings are designed to correspond to your physical location in the Mall. The band is working on a similar album/app that will be tied to Central Park in New York City.
  • Is this part of an emerging trend? Check out the music videos posted on the Mashable write-up and draw your own conclusions.

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