Many are touting virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) as the next big things, but there are many factors working against their widespread adoption -- practical, economic and artistic.
How do creators tell a story when they can't control the narrative? Where do you put the crew when you're shooting 360-degrees? Can watching VR really make someone vomit? And how can anyone stand to wear those godawful goggles for more than 10 minutes?
I answer those question and others in the articles below.
'Star Wars' Franchise Launches Location-Based VR Offshoot
One of the biggest impediments to the growth of virtual reality is the expensive equipment consumers must buy to experience it at home. That’s why many are placing their bets on location-based VR experiences that are bigger and more elaborate than anything that can be ported into someone’s living room, such as “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” which was previewed for journalists at the Disney Accelerator in Glendale.
Variety's 10 Virtual Reality Innovators to Watch
Virtual Reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are at the center of the tech-entertainment convergence, attracting billions in venture capital and producing near-hysterical levels of expectation. In spite of the new excitement and attention, the people innovating in these fields remain largely unknown to those in traditional showbiz circles and the public at large. With this in mind, we shine the Variety spotlight on 10 VR Innovators to Watch. These are VR and AR pros who are not just pushing the boundaries of gaming and storytelling, but also creating new software tools that will change the way people work and live.
'Alien: Covenant In Utero' Puts Virtual Reality Spin on Fox Franchise
“Alien” fans have watched a long line of endoparasitoid extraterrestrials bloodily burst forth from the host bodies of unfortunate astronauts since the first entry in the franchise debuted in 1979.
Now, for the first time fans will be able to experience it from the creature’s perspective in “Alien: Covenant In Utero,” a two-minute 360-degree video debuting April 26 exclusively on Oculus.
Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with Vertebrae’s Vincent Cacace
Vincent Cacace didn’t take the typical route into the virtual reality (VR) space. A self-described “hardcore analytics nerd,” he spent nearly two years working on data solutions for General Motors before launching ad tech VR startup Vertebrae last year.
“I was fascinated by the potential of VR, because you can measure the entire 3D content experience,” said Cacace, who is Vertebrae’s founder and CEO. “I was thinking, ‘That would be really interesting to a brand advertiser.’ And that’s such nerdy way to get into VR. And then I thought, that’s cool, let’s take a step look at what the real issues are right now.”
Virtual Reality in Sports Poses Unique Challenges for Producers
“The average person thinks they’d love to stand on the sidelines to watch an NFL game,” says Cliff Plumer, president of Jaunt VR’s production arm, Jaunt Studio. “They’ll learn that it’s the worst place to stand. You can have an action all the way across the field, and it’ll seem very far away. So how you cover that for VR is much more challenging than traditional broadcast.”
Should Creators be Spooked by Virtual Reality Storytelling?
While shooting the short “Eat You Alive” at YouTube Space LA , director Brent Coble had to suppress his urge to shoot close-ups of the hungry mouths devouring human flesh.
It wasn’t due to any content restrictions. Close-ups simply weren’t part of the cinematic toolset at Coble’s disposal. That’s because he was shooting the zombie home invasion on Stage 2’s “Walking Dead”-inspired set in 360-degree immersive video. Even if he moved the camera in close to capture a zombie bite, he couldn’t be sure the viewer wouldn’t be looking at the ceiling or the other side of the room instead of the gnashing teeth of the undead.
How Pokemon Go is Realigning the Perception of Augmented Reality
More than a few media pundits went from trumpeting Pokémon Go as the hottest trend on the planet to lamenting its decline without pausing to take a breath.
One week, they couldn’t stop talking about how Pokémon Go had topped the Google Play and Apple Store download charts, generated millions of dollars in in-app purchases and surpassed Twitter in daily active users. The next, they were piling on a report by SurveyMonkey Intelligence that said the app’s popularity in the U.S. had peaked a week after its release, on July 14, when 25 million smartphone users played the app.
But Pokémon Go is refusing to follow the scripted character arc. This morning it’s being reported that the city of Brisbane, Australia, is attributing a 25% spike in usage of its free wi-fi network to the app’s popularity.
No matter how it plays out, it has been a huge win for Pokémon Go’s developer Niantic ...
Why Ovrture is Putting Viewers in VR Prison with 'Lockup 360'
Virtual reality video usually puts people in the middle of fun stuff, like a roller coaster ride, a soccer game or maybe a zombie attack. But Ovrture, a new VR content studio created by the unscripted television vets at 44 Blue Productions, is taking a different tack.
In their new VR short “Lockup 360,” produced as a companion to their long-running MSNBC prison documentary series “Lockup,” they put viewers inside Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Sacramento, showing them what it’s like from both the prisoner’s and the guard’s perspective.
Pioneers at Felix & Paul Studios Break the Mold of Traditional Storytelling
In the world of entertainment tech convergence, there are few nuts harder to crack than live-action virtual reality. The medium presents seemingly endless technical challenges, starting with how to shoot with a camera rig that can see everything all around it, or digitally create the illusion that it can.
Even more daunting are the storytelling challenges faced by filmmakers raised on cuts, close-ups and dolly shots, working in a medium in which edits are considered to be too jarring, camera movement can be nausea-inducing and the viewer’s gaze is free to wander away from the action.
For those VR newbies, Felix & Paul Studios chief content officer Ryan Horrigan has some advice: check your baggage at the door.
Computing Clout Helps Hollywood Tap Potential of Immersive Content
While some big-name computer makers spend countless millions on hip marketing campaigns to inspire round-the-block, first-day-of-sale lines for their latest devices, Dell has been quietly positioning itself on the bleeding edge of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology.
In recent months, the Texas-based company has partnered with major studios to provide technology and expertise for immersive companion pieces to tentpole releases that put viewers inside the womb of an alien (Fox’s “Alien: Covenant”), on France’s coast in WWII (Warner Bros.’ “Dunkirk”), in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition (Fox’s “Assassin’s Creed”) and in the web-slinging unitard of a superhero (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”).
“I’ve had some [projects] we had to turn down because you can’t do everything,” says Gary Radburn, director of VR/AR for Dell. “People are seeing us as a technical innovator, a leader in solutions, and not just as hardware provider.”
Does the Future of Virtual Reality Sit at Home and Wear a Headset?
To say that the entertainment and tech sectors are bullish on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is a bit of an understatement. According to eMarketer, investment in those technologies hit $1.08 billion in Q1 2016, compared to just $144 million in Q1 2015, and it’s hard to have a conversation with an entertainment exec and not hear some vague platitudes about their potential
.AR, which had been treated like VR’s ugly stepsister, got its first taste of pop success when the Pokémon Go app became a worldwide hit, but VR is still waiting for its breakthrough moment.
“The challenge for VR is whether it will be accepted by consumers,” said David “Shingy” Shing, who serves as the “digital prophet” for AOL. “We can pontificate as much as we like as to what’s going to happen. But it depends if people put on the goggles and hang out with it.”