Facebook Betting On VR with New 360-Degree Video Feature

Facebook introduced a new 360-degree spherical video feature this week for the social platform’s newsfeed. At launch, users can roam an immersive trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by dragging their mouse over the video in order to access different vantage points. Mobile users can change their angle within clips featuring NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and workouts by NBA star LeBron James by simply tilting their smartphone or swiping their finger across the screen. Continue reading Facebook Betting On VR with New 360-Degree Video Feature

Fan-Built Virtual Reality Starship Has Trekkies Wanting More

Sci-fi fans and others have tried before to recreate the Enterprise-D starship from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in virtual reality. Although some of these VR experiences have been impressive, another one has just arrived on the scene that stands far above the rest, say some VR enthusiasts. The Enterprise Construction Project is spearheaded by a 3D artist identified only as Jason, whose obsession is to create a VR version of the entirety of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D and all its 42 decks. Continue reading Fan-Built Virtual Reality Starship Has Trekkies Wanting More

Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

As interest in virtual reality heats up across industries, a number of international media players — including Disney, Sky, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, China Media Capital and Evolution Media Partners (backed by TPG and Creative Artists Agency) — are investing $65 million in Palo Alto-based VR startup Jaunt. The investment follows other high-profile moves in immersive tech: Google joined venture funds in investing $542 million in Magic Leap last year, and Oculus VR raised $75 million before Facebook picked up the company for $2 billion. Continue reading Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

ABC News Takes Plunge into VR with “Nightline” View of Syria

ABC News just unveiled another option for viewing the news: virtual reality. On “Nightline,” the network offered a panoramic view of the antiquities of Damascus, Syria, pairing it with a report on the area by correspondent Alexander Marquardt. The nearly 3D image can be accessed on mobile devices or desktop computer by downloading an app from Jaunt, which develops Android and iOS-compatible VR hardware and software, and then visiting ABCNews.com/VR. The image was created by stitching together views from a 16-camera device. Continue reading ABC News Takes Plunge into VR with “Nightline” View of Syria

Travel Videos, Cartoons, Documentaries and More Turn to VR

Results from a new survey show that 41 percent of the adult population of the U.S. have either already tried a virtual reality headset or are interested in doing so. Not surprisingly, the majority of those in that 41 percent fall into the young (18–24 year old) demographic and the majority are male. That’s most likely because VR experiences, up until now at least, have mainly focused on gaming. But the new Kaleidoscope VR Film Festival is highlighting a wide range of content that most likely will interest a broader audience. Continue reading Travel Videos, Cartoons, Documentaries and More Turn to VR

Facebook’s Standalone Video App to Support 360-Degree Video

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has called virtual reality the next computing platform after mobile devices. His company also shelled out $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR last year; the company will ship its Rift headset for consumers in early 2016. So it’s no surprise that the company is reportedly working on a standalone video app to support 360-degree video on multiple platforms, including Apple and Android devices. Zuckerberg has also stated that Facebook would support 360-degree video in its newsfeed. Continue reading Facebook’s Standalone Video App to Support 360-Degree Video

Tech Leaders Envision a Globally Connected Future with VR

Oculus chief executive Palmer Luckey and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg are “ground zero” for the 3D immersive technology, but the big-name fan base is growing, including SpaceX/Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Facebook board member Mark Andreessen, who not long ago was skeptical about funding a virtual reality company. What they all believe is that VR will be a truly paradigm-shifting technology that will connect everyone in the world, for a growing range of activities from video games to business meetings. Continue reading Tech Leaders Envision a Globally Connected Future with VR

ABCs of Light Field Capture, Key to Photorealistic Virtual Reality

A technique called light field capture will become the foundation for photoreal virtual actors for virtual reality, says Paul Debevec, chief visual officer at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT). At the recent VRLA Expo, Debevec gave a talk on the topic that explored two decades of research and development in light field capture technology, and described the basics of what makes this technique so compelling to create photorealistic virtual reality. Continue reading ABCs of Light Field Capture, Key to Photorealistic Virtual Reality

Discovery Releases Mobile App for VR Videos of Popular Shows

The Discovery Channel has released a mobile app that features virtual reality videos from some of the channel’s most popular shows, including “Mythbusters,” “Gold Rush” and “Survivorman.” The videos can be viewed as 360-degree experiences (via moving the phone), or as VR experiences with Google Cardboard. The videos, which were made by Los Angeles VR network startup Littlstar, are also available on YouTube, Discovery’s VR website, and a dedicated channel on Samsung Gear’s virtual reality video app Milk VR. Continue reading Discovery Releases Mobile App for VR Videos of Popular Shows

Magic Leap Patents Contact Lens to Marry Virtual, Real Worlds

Magic Leap, the Florida-based startup that’s worked in stealth mode since its 2010 founding, may be coming into focus with the information contained in 97 new patent applications. Google led a funding round of $542 million for the company, which has been working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display that composites 3D digital imagery over real world objects, not dissimilar from Microsoft’s HoloLens. Taking that idea to its logical conclusion, Magic Leap now has a patent for doing the same trick — but with contact lenses. Continue reading Magic Leap Patents Contact Lens to Marry Virtual, Real Worlds

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: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

At SIGGRAPH 2015, Autodesk executives David Morin and Ben Guthrie described virtual production, its relationship with virtual reality and some newly released tools from their company to aid in the process. Virtual production began with Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings,” got a bump of recognition with “Avatar,” and has been used on many films since. According to Morin and Guthrie, the process, which lets filmmakers create virtual worlds in-camera and composite CG and live action on set, is achieving momentum. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

SIGGRAPH: Scientists Tackle Neuroscience Obstacles to VR

Much has been written about the more obvious issues in viewing virtual reality. Top of the list is the motion sickness that some people get, a result of the mismatch between what they see and what they feel. But there’s another issue — an eye-focusing problem dubbed “vergence-accommodation conflict” — that is specific to virtual reality and is much more difficult to overcome than motion sickness. At SIGGRAPH 2015, scientists from Stanford and UC Berkeley described potential solutions. Continue reading SIGGRAPH: Scientists Tackle Neuroscience Obstacles to VR

SIGGRAPH 2015: More on VR and 360 Degrees of Experience

Last week we reported that beneath the aura of excitement generated this year at SIGGRAPH 2015 by the prevalence of virtual reality, a number of compelling panels examined the nuts and bolts of creating VR experiences, including managing workflow and assets. Part 2 of our report on SIGGRAPH VR panels continues with coverage of the VR Village sessions Creating on the Edge and Convergences in Film and Games Technologies, featuring perspectives from professionals in production, post production, visual effects, gaming and journalism. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: More on VR and 360 Degrees of Experience

Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

Earlier this summer, we reported that Industrial Light & Magic was launching its new ILMxLAB division to develop virtual reality and augmented reality experiences for movie fans. The experimental division has now shown off three of its VR and AR proof of concept projects. In addition, ILMxLAB houses a team from Walt Disney Imagineering that’s working on futuristic Disneyland attractions. None of it would be possible without ILM’s unique blend of creative staff, cutting edge technology and years of expertise. Continue reading Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

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