Fable Studio Bets on a Future with AI-Powered Virtual Beings

San Francisco-based Fable Studio, a VR studio that won an Emmy Award for its “Wolves in the Walls” project, has debuted its first efforts in creating conversational AI virtual beings. Charlie and Beck, two characters that can converse as if they were real people, are Fable Studio’s bet in the future of such virtual beings for entertainment and even companionship. Its first AI being was Lucy, an 8-year-old girl, who starred in “Wolves in the Walls” and is now a standalone online character after the company debuted her in alpha tests last month. Continue reading Fable Studio Bets on a Future with AI-Powered Virtual Beings

Already Internet Celebs, Virtual Beings Get First Emmy Nod

Fable Studio’s “Wolves in the Walls,” a VR adaptation of a Neil Gaiman children’s book, won a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The player is in the role of an imaginary friend for the CG child Lucy and uses VR goggles and handheld motion controllers to join her on an investigation of strange noises in the house. Lucy is also the first “virtual being” to win an Emmy, according to Fable co-founder Edward Saatchi, who defines that as a digital character with whom you have a two-way relationship. Virtual beings are growing in popularity on social platforms such as Instagram, where some are becoming digital influencers. Continue reading Already Internet Celebs, Virtual Beings Get First Emmy Nod

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

Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

At the recent Sundance Film Festival, virtual reality was a big hit for the second year running. But the changes in just a year were also evident: rather than the conversation focusing on the technology enabling the VR experiences, the focus was on storytelling. Virtual reality, in other words, has become a medium, as demonstrated in projects such as “Grease” director Randal Kleiser’s sci-fi VR drama “Defrost,” which tells the story of a woman just awaking from a coma. The series is a full season with another in development. Continue reading Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

VR Storytelling: Oculus Story Studio Debuts Animated Short

Oculus Story Studio premiered “Henry,” its second virtual reality movie, at an event in Beverly Hills yesterday. The San Francisco-based company is attempting to define the parameters of VR content by making short movies. The studio’s first movie, “Lost,” which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, focused on immersing the viewer in an environment. “Henry,” however, focuses on creating a character — a hedgehog with a problem — and figuring out how to use that character’s presence in virtual reality. Continue reading VR Storytelling: Oculus Story Studio Debuts Animated Short

Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Oculus Story Studio, a lab program within Oculus VR dedicated to experimentation with the goal of helping virtual reality grow as a platform, is using “Lost Director’s Cut,” a new version of the studio’s short VR film as the basis for a new social experience that promises to change the paradigm of VR experiences from solitary to shared. The purpose of the new demonstration is to show filmmakers and other creatives how far they can push virtual reality beyond current single-person, isolated experiences. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social