Digital Hollywood Panel Discusses Interfaces and Future of VR

An all-star panel of futurists and inventors featuring John Underkoffler, CEO & chief scientist, Oblong Industries; Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity and founder of virtual world “Second Life;” Berkeley academic Jack McCauley, founder & president of McCauley Labs and a co-founder and chief engineer of Oculus; and Richard Marks, director of PlayStation Magic Lab looked above and beyond the introduction of VR to articulate an array of visions and technical challenges yet to be mastered. The panel took place at Digital Hollywood and was moderated by ETC project manager Philip Lelyveld. Continue reading Digital Hollywood Panel Discusses Interfaces and Future of VR

Digital Hollywood: VR/AR Today and Five Years In the Future

VR experts at a Digital Hollywood panel described the challenges with virtual reality today and predicted how it’ll progress in the next five years. Moderated by iCinema Ventures founder Bruce Greenberg, the panelists were upbeat about future prospects at the same time they warned of the pitfalls, including how VR ubiquity could lessen its value. The conversation eventually focused on the tensions between hardware manufacturers enabling the VR experience and content creators working within technical limitations. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: VR/AR Today and Five Years In the Future

DirecTV Launches First VR App to Promote Big Knockout Boxing

DirecTV just released its first virtual reality app, BKB VR, which stands for Big Knockout Boxing. Not for use with live games, BKB VR will display the event held on June 27 at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay, which was recorded in 360-degree video. Available for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR headsets, BKB VR can be downloaded on Google Play for Android phones and the App Store for iPhones. The fight footage is also available via Samsung’s Milk VR service and the Oculus Store. Continue reading DirecTV Launches First VR App to Promote Big Knockout Boxing

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

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

SIGGRAPH 2015: Talking About VR, 360 Degrees of Experience

Beneath the aura of excitement generated this year at SIGGRAPH 2015 by the prevalence of virtual reality, a number of panels drilled into the nuts and bolts of creating VR experiences, including managing the workflow and assets. From a Birds of a Feather interest group discussion to panels of senior artists from the major studios and visual effects companies, almost everyone agreed that VR represents creativity on the edge. SIGGRAPH offered a 360 degree look at the issues and lessons learned thus far. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: Talking About VR, 360 Degrees of Experience

Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

ABI Research projects that 43 million virtual reality devices will ship by 2020. Compare that to the 1.5 million Google Cardboards expected to ship by the end of 2015. That virtual reality and augmented reality is growing is no surprise, given the involvement of major industry players including Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Facebook. But perhaps nothing paints a better picture of VR’s growing clout than a look at the number of devices predicted to ship, from Oculus Rift’s head-mounted display to Google Cardboard’s inexpensive glasses. Continue reading Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

Sphericam 2 is a 4K spherical camera launched recently as a Kickstarter project with the intent of providing photographers, cinematographers and consumers with a means of easily capturing high-quality 360-degree video. The developers behind Sphericam see the camera is an ideal solution for producing content for VR hardware including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard. The camera features six built-in 4K lenses and records 360-degree video at 60fps. With 23 days to go in the campaign, the project has already exceeded its $150,000 goal. Continue reading New 4K 360-Degree Camera is Designed for Virtual Reality

Google Unveils Android M, Project Brillo, Google Now and More

Although somewhat lacking in major device announcements, this week’s Google I/O developers conference featured some interesting news. Google unveiled Android M with simplified permissions, support for its Android Pay mobile payments system, and a promised boost to battery life and charging times. As expected, the company announced Project Brillo, its “underlying operating system for the Internet of Things,” and Google Now, which aims to “make the smartphone smarter.” The company also introduced Google Photos and a new version of its Google Cardboard VR viewer. Continue reading Google Unveils Android M, Project Brillo, Google Now and More

Conde Nast Plans Scripted VR Series to Attract New Audience

Conde Nast is attempting to appeal to the online audience that does not read the company’s lifestyle magazine, so it will start expanding its online video offerings. The Conde Nast Entertainment (CNE) division will produce two original scripted virtual reality series with Jaunt VR, which recently announced its planned LA studio. These new series will be released on The Scene, Conde Nast’s online video platform. CNE plans to make 2,500 videos for The Scene in the next year with the help of new content partners. Continue reading Conde Nast Plans Scripted VR Series to Attract New Audience

Dolby and Jaunt Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Virtual Reality

Virtual reality content creator Jaunt has partnered with longtime movie sound experts at Dolby to improve the audio in immersive experiences. Audio is a crucial part of making VR feel more like reality, and the Dolby Atmos system will allow Jaunt to specifically target sounds so that they seem as if they are coming from a very specific location. The new technology is expected to improve VR storytelling since content creators would be able to use sound to redirect a user’s attention. Continue reading Dolby and Jaunt Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Tech: Apple Awarded Patent for Mobile Headset

In 2008, Apple filed a patent titled “Head-Mounted Display Apparatus for Retaining a Portable Electronic Device with Display.” Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finally approved the patent, which has been compared to the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard. The patent’s blueprints show evidence of a headset with a slot fitting for the iPhone. While Apple reportedly has no immediate VR projects of its own, the recent patent approval signifies the company’s interest in VR technology.  Continue reading Virtual Reality Tech: Apple Awarded Patent for Mobile Headset

Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Mattel has announced a partnership with Google to revive the toymaker’s iconic View-Master device. In place of cardboard discs with stereoscopic images, the updated toy will incorporate the View-Master app on a user’s mobile phone and deliver a true virtual reality experience. The technology used for the View-Master is identical to that which powers Google Cardboard, and like Cardboard, the View-Master was designed to make VR affordable. The View-Master will retail for $30 and be available later this year. Continue reading Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

LG Introduces Virtual Reality Headset That Works with the G3

LG is the latest company to introduce a portable virtual reality headset. The ‘VR for G3’ is a simple plastic headset, which will be given to new buyers of the LG G3 smartphone for free. The headset’s design models that of Google Cardboard. While powered using LG’s smartphone, the headset uses Google Cardboard software and other readily available VR experiences on the Google Play Store (a VR game will be included as a promo). There has been no mention of whether the headset will be independently sold.   Continue reading LG Introduces Virtual Reality Headset That Works with the G3

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

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