News from Cannes: VFX and 3D animation facility Prana Studios plans to reinvent the theatrical experience with massive screens encompassing entire theatres, animatronic dinosaurs, and actors performing live on stage.
Speaking in Cannes at a session sponsored by Hewlett-Packard forecasting the future of film up to thirty years from now, Anish Mulani, President and COO of Mumbai-based Prana revealed plans to develop two massive format immersive theatre projects.
One of these projects, branded Theater Next, is likely to see its first install within the next two years, according to Mulani.
“The whole canvas of the theatre will be used to tell a story,” he explained. “The moment you walk into Theater Next, every wall will be covered with giant projection. There will be moving seating and sensory effects like wind and heat. Life-size animatronic creatures and characters relevant to the story such as pirates, aliens and dinosaurs will be with there with you.”
The giant size of the auditoria, with panoramic screens in excess of 40 meters, and display resolutions up to 24K – or 12 times that of 2K conventional exhibition – are also intended to attract audiences.
“Cinema exhibition is moving toward ultra-scale large format experiential experiences while conventional movie releases will be streamed for projection on walls within people’s houses,” Mulani predicted.
Prana Studios is also developing dome-style theatres featuring 180-degree field of view and reclining seats.
LAST YEAR GARMIN made one of my favorite action cams, the Virb Ultra 30. It’s a voice-controlled 4K shooter with great image quality and the ability to layer data like speed and location over your extreme human tricks.
Today, Garmin is taking the lid off its first entry into the 360-degree action cam space, the Virb 360. I got to spend a few days testing out this new camera, and overall I came away pretty impressed.
The Virb 360 shoots spherical, VR-compatible video at a resolution of 5.7K, and it does it at 30 frames per second. That sounds solid, but even a high-quality 5.7K image looks very pixelated when you spread it over a full sphere. The video isn’t nearly as sharp as a traditional 16:9 frame of 4K. But the Garmin has enough resolution to beat most other 360 cameras out there, which typically top out at 4K spheres.
The camera makes a spherical image by using two fisheye lenses facing opposite directions. Images from the dual cameras are stitched into a sphere automatically, making your video instantly ready to share. The camera generally does a very nice stitching job, though the seams are certainly visible when nearby objects pass over them.
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At the intersection of technology and engineering, you’ll find Virtual Reality — the much-buzzed about tech that will eventually be so cool that we’ll all Matrix ourselves. These days, most VR is a static, stereoscopic film which allows you to visually explore a single spot. The future of VR is more than that. It’s a fully immersive experience in which you can run, jump, climb, swim, fly, study, and research through space and time.
In this new VR-era, Sólfar Studios is blazing the path. They’ve built a VR world where you can viscerally explore Mount Everest, right now. The Everest VR experience from their studio allows the VR user to feel the wonders of being at Everest’s base camp before actually climbing the mountain in real time. You can take steps, cross rickety ladders, and even leave offerings on Buddhist altars.
It is so immersive that even though you’re virtually standing on the precipice of a virtual cliff on virtual Everest, you end up with real vertigo (it’s true, we tried it).
From big shots like Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott to independent names, countless movie directors around the world are dipping their toes into the field of virtual reality.
Ilya Rozhkov, a Moscow-born director is one of those emerging names experimenting with this new medium.
Teaming up with The Rogue Initiative — a technology based entertainment studio from Los Angeles — Rozhkov has filmed a short 360 degree movie with a custom engineered camera, placed on an actor’s head.
Titled as “Agent Emerson” the short movie tells the story of a CIA operative who awakens to find himself part of an experimental government program where subjects are under complete remote control by “The General”.
“Shooting with a 360 degree camera doesn’t simply make a virtual reality movie,” says Ilya Rozhkov. “We designed Agent Emerson as a virtual reality production starting from the writing phase. Then we reached out to Galaxy Vision and asked them to build a custom-engineered proprietary stereoscopic VR camera rig called the IC-Cam — Identity Capture Camera.”
The IC-Cam is placed on an actor’s head to provide a first-person point-of-view. Depending on the set up, this rig can consist from 21 to 23 custom-modified small cameras.
The whole setup weighs around 11 pounds (5 kg.) and the maximum resolution is 6K per eye, which can shoot in 3D.