ARCore to Reach 100M Devices, Amazon Rolls Out AR Tool

Just before Mobile World Congress, Google officially introduced its ARCore mobile augmented reality platform. Snapchat and Sony Pictures are among the first to use it; Sony Pictures plans to debut an AR game with a “Ghostbusters” theme that lets users fight and capture ghosts from the movie franchise, comic books and elsewhere. According to Sony Pictures Entertainment executive VP Jamie Stevens, SPE’s partners in the venture are Columbia Pictures subsidiary Ghost Corps and game publisher FourThirtyThree. Meanwhile, Amazon has introduced “AR View” to its Android app for devices that support ARCore. Continue reading ARCore to Reach 100M Devices, Amazon Rolls Out AR Tool

Sony Pictures Masters Classic Films in High Dynamic Range

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, Sony Pictures Entertainment senior vice president of technology for production and post production Bill Baggelaar presented a session on HDR video mastering for classic cinema. He first hoped to dispel myths about high dynamic range. “I’ve heard that you need sunglasses to watch HDR, that filmmakers will hate it and that it will be too hard to deliver,” he said. “People also worry that there are too many formats, with HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HLG.” Continue reading Sony Pictures Masters Classic Films in High Dynamic Range

The VOID, IMAX Pioneer Successful Virtual Reality Experiences

The VOID, a VR startup newly headed by former Lucasfilm manager Cliff Plumer, is earning accolades as an experience that could jump-start mass acceptance of the new entertainment medium. For The VOID, the user dons an untethered VR headset, a vest outfitted with haptic sensors and small backpack, picks up a plastic gun, and enters interconnected rooms to play a 10-minute “Ghostbusters” adventure zapping apparitions. The first IMAX VR Experience Centre also recently opened in Los Angeles, with more to come. Continue reading The VOID, IMAX Pioneer Successful Virtual Reality Experiences

Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

At his MIPCOM TV keynote, Sony president/chief executive Kazuo Hirai talked about the importance of virtual reality to the company, singling out its PlayStation VR headset; director Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” which was shot in 3D 4K at 120 frames per second; and VR experiences tied to its movies, including “Ghostbusters,” “The Walk” and “Goosebumps.” Kando, the Japanese concept of stimulating emotional response in people, says Hirai, is at the center of what Sony wants to create in all its work. Continue reading Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

Sony Debuts Immersive Video to Promote Movie on Snapchat

To promote its new thriller “Don’t Breathe,” Sony Pictures Entertainment created the first immersive, 360-degree video ad for the social media platform Snapchat, with its more than 150 million mainly young users. The campaign is a 10-second video that lets users “swipe up” to see the 90-second 360-degree video on a Web page in the app. “Don’t Breathe,” about three burglars who invade the home of a blind military veteran and find themselves trapped and fighting for their lives, opens in theaters August 26. Continue reading Sony Debuts Immersive Video to Promote Movie on Snapchat

The VOID Debuts its First Mixed Reality Attraction in New York

The VOID has opened its “Ghostbusters”-themed experience inside Madame Tussauds wax museum in Times Square. “For $50, visitors can strap on a VR headset and a backpack computer fashioned into a ‘Ghostbusters’ proton pack, pick up a matching gun-shaped plastic prop, and act out a cinematic fantasy in real life,” explains The Verge, which describes “Ghostbusters: Dimension” as “stunningly intricate.” The experience utilizes tracking markers to create full-body avatars of guests and haptic feedback to add unique physical sensations. As Road to VR notes, its success “has something to do with its ‘4D’ components (e.g., the Slimer-cued mist, mock-rickety platforms, the vibrating vest)” and “the user engagement prompted by walking around in and interfacing with a semi-real virtual space.” Continue reading The VOID Debuts its First Mixed Reality Attraction in New York

‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

The VOID (Vision of Infinite Dimensions), a virtual reality theme park in Utah, is launching a new VR experience in NYC’s Times Square in partnership with Sony Pictures, for the studio’s new “Ghostbusters” film. Opening up small-scale versions of its Utah park is part of the company’s business plan, along with creating its own content and immersive versions of films and video games. In Utah’s park, attendees wear a haptic suit that tracks their movements and a VR headset, powered by a supercomputer backpack that allows untethered walking. Continue reading ‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

Sony to Launch Ultra 4K Movie Streaming Service Next Week

Sony is slated to roll out its 4K movie streaming service on Monday, April 4. First announced at January’s CES in Las Vegas, the new service will be called Ultra. Viewers will be charged $30 to purchase new Sony-produced films and $12-15 to upgrade pre-owned movies from their UltraViolet cloud locker. Ultra will also offer 4K HDR content such as extras previously only featured on discs. Consumers who buy a 2016 4K Sony TV will get four UHD movies bundled with their new television. Transactional VOD rentals are not expected to be an option featured with the launch. Continue reading Sony to Launch Ultra 4K Movie Streaming Service Next Week

Netflix is Charging More for Subscribers Streaming 4K Video

Netflix is raising its monthly subscription rate by more than 30 percent for those interested in streaming 4K video. Subscribers who have not yet signed up for 4K content will be charged $11.99 per month (the family plan), up from the standard $8.99 charge. For customers who have already signed up for a 4K-enabled account, the price change will not take effect until August 2016. Netflix 4K streams currently only work with Ultra HD TVs released this year that include a built-in H.265/HEVC decoder. Continue reading Netflix is Charging More for Subscribers Streaming 4K Video

Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload

Major film studios — including 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. — have filed a civil lawsuit against the now defunct entertainment website Megaupload and its founder, Kim Dotcom. The studios claim that visitors to the Hong Kong-based site illegally downloaded thousands of copyrighted works. Damages could reach a maximum of $150,000 for each infringement. In addition, four music labels filed a similar lawsuit yesterday. Continue reading Studios and Music Labels File Lawsuits Against Megaupload