Highlights From the AR/VR Think Tank Sessions at CES 2019

During the AR/VR Think Tank panel and subsequent panels on gaming and LBE (Location-Based Entertainment) at CES this week, representatives of production and tool companies put the current state of the medium in a broader context. We are past the initial “everything should be shot in 360” stage, and are now asking, “what are you trying to say?” Ultimately the experience must be purpose-driven. Game developer Don Daglow noted that killer apps usually happen by accident when someone’s passion taps into an unrecognized mass market demand. He noted that VisiCalc was a killer app for the PC, for example. Continue reading Highlights From the AR/VR Think Tank Sessions at CES 2019

Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

Next year, an Amy Winehouse hologram will be on tour to collect money for an eponymous charity. She’s the latest in a trend of deceased actors, from Carrie Fisher in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to Paul Walker in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, appearing as virtual 3D replicas. Now, some actors and studios are getting a jump on post-life value by creating 3D digital scans. Industrial Light & Magic just scanned Ingvild Deila, who was Princess Leia in “Rogue One.” She calls it “a safe bet for the people with the money.” Continue reading Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

Content Creators Address the Transformative Potential of VR

The Stanley Kubrick of VR content has not yet been born, suggested Jaunt Studios co-head of studio Tom Vance during a CES 2018 panel. STXsurreal co-president of VR/immersive entertainment Andy Vick added that he believes we have to wait until today’s 12-year-olds get old enough to direct. “Today, we’re leaning on traditional filmmakers,” he said. “And they have to try to not think about a large screen and throw out a lot of production techniques or reshape and augment them to really craft something that makes sense for this medium.” Continue reading Content Creators Address the Transformative Potential of VR

Digital Domain Partnering With Qualcomm on VR Ecosystem

Digital Domain Holdings, head of the biggest global indie VFX facility, and Qualcomm have partnered to create what Digital Domain chair Peter Chou calls “a new ecosystem for virtual reality.” This deal follows on the heels of Digital Domain’s partnership with Deutsche Telekom on a virtual reality mobile app. According to Chou, who co-founded smartphone manufacturer HTC, these deals are in preparation for the rollout of 5G mobile services expected to take place in the next few years. HTC is also maker of the Vive VR headset. Continue reading Digital Domain Partnering With Qualcomm on VR Ecosystem

NAB 2017: Digital Domain Demos VR Camera and New Tools

Visual effects studio Digital Domain is launching a new suite of platform agnostic “creation, production, and distribution tools for virtual reality experiences — including a VR camera,” which it is demonstrating at NAB this week, reports VentureBeat. Digital Domain’s portable spherical camera features “advanced live-streaming capabilities, new integrations with post-production suites, and a cloud-based VR distribution platform. It enables visual effects production, 360 capture hardware and software, real-time stitching and encoding, livestreaming, application development, and content distribution.” Continue reading NAB 2017: Digital Domain Demos VR Camera and New Tools

Sci-Tech Awards Honor Digital Cinema Cams, Capture Systems

At the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, actors John Cho and Leslie Mann hosted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Scientific and Technical Awards, honoring the programmers, inventors and breakthroughs advancing the entertainment industry. The evening awarded 18 achievements, to 34 individual recipients and five organizations. Many of the technologies and products awarded, including an array of digital cinema cameras, represented years of R&D. AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs opened the evening’s event. Continue reading Sci-Tech Awards Honor Digital Cinema Cams, Capture Systems

VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

Sports coverage in virtual reality is gaining momentum. Jaunt VR, NextVR and IM360 have all shown virtual reality applications for professional baseball, basketball, football, soccer and Daytona 500 auto racing. But sports coverage in VR creates new and unique challenges for producers. For example, VR cameras can’t zoom — a common practice in typical sports coverage — meaning the camera has to be as close to the players as possible, easy for boxing but a tougher proposition for, say, football. Continue reading VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

CryWorks: Disney, Pixar, ILM Vets Launch New VR Company

VFX and CGI veterans Euan Macdonald, Hans Uhlig and Kymber Lim have secured funding led by Michael Bay’s 451 Media Group, 500 Mobile Collective, and WI Harper Group to launch an immersive entertainment company called CryWorks, with plans to produce virtual and augmented reality experiences. “Although there are a few high-quality VR content pieces to date, most of them have little incentive for the viewer to keep tuning back in,” said Macdonald. “We see an opportunity to build the first VR broadcast network, partnering with other production companies and creating addictive, episodic experiences.” Continue reading CryWorks: Disney, Pixar, ILM Vets Launch New VR Company

Digital Domain Moves into VR with Hong Kong Post Acquisition

Visual effects facility Digital Domain, known for its digital work on the “Transformers” series, the “X-Men” series, “Iron Man 3” and “Her,” acquired an 85 percent stake in Hong Kong’s Post Production Company Limited and its parent company for about $17.3 million, with the goal of making a big move into virtual reality. Post Production — which Digital Domain chief executive Daniel Seah calls “the Digital Domain of China” — has worked on many major Chinese movies, TV ads, and music videos. Continue reading Digital Domain Moves into VR with Hong Kong Post Acquisition

CableNet Explores VR, Additional Content Could Drive Adoption

Hollywood director Randal Kleiser (“The Blue Lagoon,” “Grease”) just debuted “Defrost,” a four-minute narrative virtual reality film that he hopes is the first in a series of VR films. That’s exactly what the 50 cablecasters that comprise the membership of CableLabs hope for. The industry’s non-profit R&D facility, CableLabs has been studying VR and suggests consumer excitement is strong, but that the lack of content could be a major stumbling block for cable companies interested in providing VR programming. Continue reading CableNet Explores VR, Additional Content Could Drive Adoption

SIGGRAPH 2015: The Road to Producing Virtual Reality Content

At SIGGRAPH 2015, the computer graphics convention held this year in Los Angeles, virtual reality executives encouraged the Hollywood production community to begin to develop more content. Oculus Story Studio, the content creation division of Oculus, which makes the Rift virtual reality headset, recently debuted its second short VR film, “Henry.” Creating content for virtual reality comes with a variety of technical challenges, say the experts, but virtual reality won’t take hold until compelling content is available. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: The Road to Producing Virtual Reality Content

Digital Domain and Immersive Media Join Forces for VR Content

Digital Domain Holdings Ltd. and Immersive Media are launching a joint venture called IM360. According to the two companies, IM360 plans to produce immersive content and services, including virtual reality content, by combining Digital Domain’s CGI and motion capture expertise with Immersive’s 360-degree video hardware and software. The 360-degree video tech is already being used for live-streaming VR content, and the software can send video to devices including tablets, smartphones and VR headsets. Continue reading Digital Domain and Immersive Media Join Forces for VR Content