Virtual Reality @CES – Recap by our USA Reporter
Virtual Reality was one of the major topics at the Digital Hollywood track during CES. Marjan-Inbar Blumberg has visited two sessions on VR and shares her insights.
5-8 January, some of the Dutch Media Innovators were at CES to gain new insights on consumer technology, expand their international network and get inspired by the latest developments. Marjan Inbar-Blumberg is the eyes of Dutch Media Innovators in the United States. She has visited two sessions on Virtual Reality during the CES:
VR-AR ThinkTank of Top Technology and Entertainment Companies:
From CES and Tribeca to Cannes and Sundance VR/AR has arrived and is transforming everything from entertainment and advertising to gaming and education. VR/AR are technologies that come along once a generation and capture the imagination of the world. A panel including Aaron Luber, Head of Partnerships at Google Cardboard, Rikard Steiber, SVP of VR at HTC, Rob Lister, Chief Business Development Officer at IMAX Corporation, Chris Edwards, CEO The Third Floor & Co-Founder of VRC (The Virtual Reality Company), Andy Cochran, an independent Digital Director and Steve Schklair, Prinicipal and CEO at 3ality & 3mersiv discussed the developments in the field of VR/AR
Main takeaways and interesting points made during this session:
- Google Daydream Similar to cardboard - which is still being used a lot - with added headstrap. Really bringing VR to the masses. Cardboard numbers were through the roof over the holidays, continues to grow.
- IMAX has a new fund of 50M to invest in new VR content and is also working on a new camera
- 3rd floor: AR being used extensively now to preview visual effects so directors can get an idea of how visual effects will look like, also excellent for game creation
- Virtual production is becoming real. Being done now/thought through for each Hollywood Blockbuster. Mostly as 7-10 minute VR pieces. Producers or companies might have to step in to help studios take the risk to build these pieces.
- New team formation is very much needed for VR in order to be able to create, requires so many disciplines - important to step away from traditional buckets. VR development teams are often split amongst different teams, this will have to change.
- IMAX is building VR experience centers.
- In 2015 VR used to be marketing driven, marketing partners were not allowed to create new IP, they existed to advertise. Result was that creative vision was narrow, they were only pushing a brand or trailer. The product was informed by another department, marketing was only executing. In 2016 the marketing department got more savvy and started distributing to other budgets, studios and networks started getting financing to create more content. 2017 will be the first year for non-marketing VR with lots of games coming unto the market, immersive cinema is going to have a big year which is requiring a marketing switch.
- Big expectations of Youtube going into the VR space which will help define where VR is going.
- Highlight will be/is the ability to scan holographic video of motion (a bunch of camera’s around the body) which will be able to reenact the human performance and bring them to the gaming industry.
- Key for VR is the SOCIAL INTERACTION - the feeling of another human being
- VR challenges: it is difficult to really enjoy in day to day life because you totally disappear, you step out of your regular life. Because of that - the prediction is that AR is really what will change the world, the way we meet, learn, work. Think of a screen on top of your glasses etc.
Virtual Reality Transforms Media
TV, news, sports and music are being transformed by VR as both programming and advertising. Add 360 Video, a first generation mobile VR that doesn’t require a headset to Google, Samsung, HTC and Oculus headsets and you have a phenomenon. A panel including Jeff Nicholas, EP, Creative Director, CREATE+DESTROY, Guido Voltolina, Head of Presence Capture, Nokia, Ted Schilowitz, Futurist and VR explorer, 20th Century FOX, Andrew McGovern, Vice President, VR/AR Production, Digital Domain, Dylan Flinn, Agent, Virtual Reality and Business Development, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Sami Ramly, VR Product & Program Lead, Wevr and Seth Shapiro, Governor, Interactive Media, The Television Academy focussed on the way VR transforms media.
Main takeaways and interesting points made during this session:
- Shilowitz: It is taking longer than expected. Maybe we need 3 or 4 more tech cycles before we get it right. Wants something more powerful and more canvas like than a mobile screen. We’re still in the pre-computing stage of VR
- Live Nation: very easy way to engage, impactful, you can go places that previously were hard to go for which Vr is great.
- VR is a powerful tool to offer up front row access which was previously only available for a few. From a TV studio standpoint you democratize this process and can now give access to this space to all.
- Flinn: Early on VR was all about just being present in the VR world (as an experience) but that wore off quickly. From an original content perspective we need to tell as story that will take you on a real journey
- Ramly: VR offers you the experience of zapping around in ⅞ different areas. All about allowing more interactivity and allowing to move around in space: Spatial Entertainment. It is not so much about looking at something anymore, it is all about interacting with content - being more absorbed with content.
- FOX had many announcements in the VR space. VR content around movies such as Alien. It is a good time to get in now. The money will be in interactive entertainment. The type of technology being created now - allowing you to interact with things you couldn’t do before will take specifically the gaming industry to a whole different level.
- Overall VR future predictions and comments by the panel:
- Bridge between natural being and user interface needs to become better
- Touch as a sense being integrated into VR will be very important
- Cinematic narrative will be a major component
- Entertainment will become more integrated into real life, you will not think of it as entertainment anymore, it will be part of your regular daily life.
- Challenge that doesn’t have a solution yet is close caption in the VR environment. Fox guy was predicting an audio track/overlay might be the solution to this.
Questions about Dutch Media Innovators, insights form CES or starting your own business in the United States? Do not hesitate to contact Marjan Blumberg, via firstname.lastname@example.org