NAB 2017: Oculus Details Journey to VR Film ‘Dear Angelica’

Oculus Story Studio founder/technical director Max Planck was invited to the ETC conference on AR/VR at NAB to discuss his company’s creation of “Dear Angelica,” a 13-minute dreamlike VR tale of how we remember our loved ones. The film, which played to great acclaim at the last Sundance Film Festival, is notable for the fact that it was entirely hand-painted inside VR space, by illustrator/art director Wesley Allsbrook, and written and directed by Saschka Unseld. Planck described how the inspiration for the film came out of graphic novels. Continue reading NAB 2017: Oculus Details Journey to VR Film ‘Dear Angelica’

NAB 2017: A Look at VR Short ‘Pearl’ and Its Ambisonic Audio

Oscar-nominated “Pearl,” the short VR film directed by Passion Pictures’ Patrick Osborne, was the focus of a discussion about ambisonic audio during this week’s ETC conference on VR/AR in Las Vegas. Google Spotlight Stories creative director, audio and music Scot Stafford and Dramatic Audio Post sound designer/mixer Jamey Scott described their work on the film as well as their path to working on 360-degree and VR movies. Stafford pointed to his work at a story incubator at Motorola, run by Google, to make content for the mobile platform. Continue reading NAB 2017: A Look at VR Short ‘Pearl’ and Its Ambisonic Audio

NAB 2017: Thought Leaders Gather to Discuss Cloud Potential

As part of the Next Generation Media Technologies program at NAB, in partnership with ETC@USC, Walden Pond chief executive Wendy Aylsworth moderated a panel on “Thought Leadership for Key Players in the Industry.” Leaders from cloud initiatives at Microsoft, Google, Adobe and Avid Technology detailed their experiences in evolving cloud offerings, as well as the challenges in making these services a reality. Because the cloud is capable of multiple workflows, each leader had a different take on its benefits. Continue reading NAB 2017: Thought Leaders Gather to Discuss Cloud Potential

NAB 2017: M&E Companies Describe Their Move to the Cloud

Another NAB panel in partnership with ETC@USC looked at several large-scale, high-resolution implementations in the cloud. Moderator Brian Campanotti, global director of business development for Oracle Digital Media Solutions led panelists through a discussion on how a major media organization can successfully make the paradigm shift from IT center to cloud infrastructure, leaving behind traditional on-prem storage and processing. Company case studies included Sony, Technicolor and Fox Network Groups. Continue reading NAB 2017: M&E Companies Describe Their Move to the Cloud

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

NAB 2017: Pre-Conference Sessions Examine Virtual Reality

It was clear from the SMPTE Future of Cinema sessions and the Post Production World sessions on VR that the NAB community has moved beyond defining virtual reality to how to address specific challenges and questions. Industry leaders gathered in Las Vegas to discuss the latest in VR production and post production, covering areas such as audio, video, hardware and more. Discussions during the pre-NAB weekend sessions also addressed compelling issues related to augmented reality, artificial intelligence, deep learning — even ethics, PR and marketing. Continue reading NAB 2017: Pre-Conference Sessions Examine Virtual Reality

NAB 2017: 360 Designs Debuts 4K Live Streaming VR Drone

At NAB 2017, 360 Designs, newly located in Los Angeles, debuted its Flying EYE 4K live streaming VR drone, which links with its Breeze wireless transmission unit. Founder/chief executive Alx Klive reports that the system is available for order now, but will not ship for two months. Priced at $75,000, Flying EYE and Breeze are attracting the attention of aerial photography companies, broadcasters, automotive companies, VR production companies and, interestingly enough, other drone manufacturers. Continue reading NAB 2017: 360 Designs Debuts 4K Live Streaming VR Drone

Facebook Advances its Plans for New Virtual Reality Cameras

Headed by camera expert Brian Cabral, a team of Facebook engineers unveiled plans for two new orb-shaped cameras to capture 360-degree video. With an eye towards image fidelity, one of the cameras features 24 lenses and the other, less expensive one boasts six. Both feature six axes or “degrees of freedom,” meaning they have a great range of motion for capturing a more complete image. With the new cameras, Facebook aims to outfit professional filmmakers with the ability to capture 2D and 3D 360-degree video. Continue reading Facebook Advances its Plans for New Virtual Reality Cameras

Startup to Introduce Holographic TV Technology at NAB 2017

Startup Light Field Labs, founded by three former Lytro engineers, is working on creating holographic displays via light field technology. The goal is to create a TV set that can project a 3D hologram into the living room, with the further-off goal of enabling the user to touch it. Although that might sound like science fiction, the company founders stand behind their idea, and state the company will be able to ship a few displays to developers in 2018. Commercial production will be in operation by 2019 or 2020. Continue reading Startup to Introduce Holographic TV Technology at NAB 2017

BitTorrent Adds New Chief Exec, Aims to Spinoff Live Service

BitTorrent is going through some changes: according to sources, founder Bram Cohen is turning his efforts to a new crypto-currency project, Rogelio Choy is taking over the chief executive position from Dipak Joshi, and plans are afoot to turn the BitTorrent Live service into a separate, venture-funded company. Joshi, who came on board as interim chief executive after BitTorrent fired its co-chief executives in October, will continue to work as its chief financial officer, a role he’s held since 2014. Continue reading BitTorrent Adds New Chief Exec, Aims to Spinoff Live Service

Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Virtual reality startup Nomadic is integrating real-world physical objects, such as a flashlight, into its VR experiences. Among the other physical objects are leaky pipes that let off real hot air, a file cabinet that has to be opened to retrieve a real gun replica, and a virtual door with a real doorknob. The idea, according to Nomadic chief executive Doug Griffin, is that such real objects can add a feeling of magic to virtual reality. The company demonstrates these capabilities with an Oculus Rift VR headset. Continue reading Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Adobe’s AI-Enabled System Could Replace Greenscreen Tech

The traditional bluescreen/greenscreen method of extracting foreground content from the background for film and video production may be on its way out. That’s due to research that Adobe is doing in collaboration with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, to develop a new system that relies on deep convolutional neural networks. A recent paper, “Deep Image Matting,” reports that the new method uses a dataset of 49,300 training images to teach the algorithm how to distinguish and eliminate backgrounds. Continue reading Adobe’s AI-Enabled System Could Replace Greenscreen Tech

Nintendo to Double Planned Production of New Hybrid Console

In response to strong initial demand, Nintendo plans to at least double production of its new Switch game console through March 2018. The hybrid console, designed for home and mobile use, launched globally March 3, and “its North American unit described the initial momentum as the strongest in the company’s history,” reports The Wall Street Journal. This could put Switch on a similar trajectory as the company’s popular Wii system (and Nintendo needs a hit after its Wii U performed less than expected). “In the fiscal year starting April 2017, assemblers under contract with Nintendo are now planning to manufacture 16 million or more Switches, up from an initial plan for eight million.” Continue reading Nintendo to Double Planned Production of New Hybrid Console

South by Southwest Festival Highlights Latest VR Productions

Virtual reality productions are making a splash at SXSW in Austin, Texas. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the festival is featuring shooter game “Archangel,” Skydance Interactive’s first original; a trailer for the interactive, sci-fi experience “Trinity” directed by Patrick Boivin, the first VR series from UNLTD; and alternative reality project “Wonder Buffalo,” made possible by ETC’s “2016 Innovative Technology Award granted to filmmaker Christine Berg and writing partner Simon Shterenberg.” THR also notes that Skydance Interactive is “developing ‘Life VR’ in conjunction with Skydance’s sci-fi thriller ‘Life,’ which is opening March 24 through Columbia Pictures” and “Sony Pictures VR released its first virtual reality project, ‘Passengers VR,’ on Tuesday, timed with the digital and Blu-ray release of the motion picture.” Continue reading South by Southwest Festival Highlights Latest VR Productions

Game Developers Conference: What’s Next in VR Storytelling

VR leaders gathered for day two of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week. Many of the talks addressed techniques for dealing with a medium in which you present a story and a world to the ‘visitor,’ but you have limited control over how the visitor experiences it. The “Job Simulator” team created microstories bounded by story pinchpoints within a macrostory. The HBO “Westworld” VR and Baobab Studios teams rewarded visitors for taking actions that advance the story, but embedded triggers that advance the story when the visitor misses the cues. The “Trials on Tatooine” team learned that understanding and accommodating visitors with varying physical abilities can not only improve user experience design, but inform story development. Continue reading Game Developers Conference: What’s Next in VR Storytelling

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