Iconic German Film Das Boot To Get VR Videogame, by Peter Graham

For those unaware, back in 1981 an anti-war story revolving around the crew of a German U-boat during World War II, Das Boot, was released, becoming one of the most successful German films ever. Recently, Sky, Sonar Entertainment, and Bavaria Fernsehproduktion, have revealed a collaboration to recreate the film as a TV series which is scheduled for release in late 2018. Alongside this, remote control productions (RCP) has been employed to create a virtual reality (VR) title to compliment the show.

Working with Bavaria Fernsehproduktion, RCP aims to capture the essence of the popular movie and the upcoming TV series, with a special focus on the anti-war message. Players will be able to submerge themselves into the story of a German U-boat crew, experiencing the oppressive narrowness of submarine life and the horrors of war.

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The YI HALO Camera Rig Shoots 8K x 8K Stereoscopic Video, by Olaf von Voss

8K x 8K. That’s already an amazing figure on its own, but there is more to this device than just a massive pixel count. In terms of design, the YI HALO works as the frame that holds seventeen 2.5K action cameras. 16 of them handle the horizontal view while one camera faces up, and they are all connected internally to the main unit that also powers them.

This design makes the YI HALO completely modular. If something happens to one of the cameras, you can just replace it with one of the two spares it comes with, and you can even replace them with newer models once these become obsolete – something that doesn’t take very long in the camera world these days. Firmware upgrades are also easy to do: they can be triggered for all connected cameras through the interface on the main unit.

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Filmmaker Ridley Scott is committing to VR in a big way, by Timothy J. Seppala

Andrew Kelly / Reuters

Filmmaker Ridley Scott isn’t a stranger to using emerging tech to push his creative vision. I mean, for all of Prometheus‘ faults, Scott’s use of 3D wasn’t one of them. Back in 2015 Scott said he was working on a a mystery VR project, so today’s news that his RSA Films outfit is launching RSA VR as a company “dedicated” to virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed media perhaps isn’t too surprising. However, it does signal that Scott has an eye to the future beyond whatever timelines the Alien and Blade Runneruniverses take place in. In fact, the first project for RSA VR is a previously-announced Alien: Covenant vignette.

“We have been heavily involved in VR for the past few years, and having a dedicated stand-alone division underscores our commitment to immersive media in both the brand and entertainment space,” RSA’s president Jules Day said in a statement. Seeing one of the biggest names in old-guard filmmaking putting his weight behind VR is probably a pretty good sign for the medium’s future.

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Lytro’s Latest VR Light-field Camera is Huge, and Hugely Improved, by Ben Lang

In the last few years, Lytro has made a major pivot away from consumer-facing digital camera products now to high-end production cameras and tools, with a major part of the company’s focus on the ‘Immerge’ light-field camera for VR. In February, Lytro announced it had raised another $60 million to continue developing the tech. I recently stopped by the company’s offices to see the latest version of the camera and the major improvements in capture quality that come with it.

The first piece of content captured with an Immerge prototype was the ‘Moon’ experience which Lytro revealed back in August of 2016. This was a benchmark moment for the company, a test of what the Immerge camera could do:

 
Now, to quickly familiarize yourself with what makes a light-field camera special for VR, the important thing to understand is that light-field cameras shoot volumetric video. So while the basic cameras of a 360-degree video rig output flat frames of the scene, a light-field camera is essentially capturing data enough to recreate the scene as complete 3D geometry as seen within a certain volume. The major advantage is the ability to play the scene back through a VR headset with truly accurate stereo and allow the viewer to have proper positional tracking inside the video; both of which result in much more immersive experience, or what we recently called “the future of VR video.” There’s also more advantages of light-field capture that will come later down the road when we start seeing headsets equipped with light-field displays… but that’s for another day.

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HOW ESCAPE ROOMS AND LIVE THEATER ARE PAVING THE WAY FOR VR, By Bryan Bishop

Immersive entertainment is bigger than a headset

 

Modern virtual reality has been hailed as the future of Hollywood entertainment, our science fiction fantasies come to life. But there’s an ongoing problem: most VR experiences just aren’t that interesting. Hampered by evolving hardware and a medium with no set rules or audience expectations, most virtual reality experiences come off as either glorified tech demos, or simulacra of other, more established types of content. They’re usually riffing on stories that would be better told as short films or traditional games.

It’s partially a matter of storytelling conventions. Cinema has had more than a century to develop its own language of shots, cuts, and transitions, while storytelling in VR is still in its infancy. Creators are still figuring out what the medium can even do, let alone how to best take advantage. But virtual reality is only one small sliver in the much larger continuum of immersive entertainment. Real-world entertainment experiences have been evolving in their own right, developing their own unique approaches to storytelling. In the process, they aren’t just engaging audiences — they’re showing the way forward for virtual reality.

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Inside IMAX’s Big Bet to Rule the Future of VR, By David Pierce

Photo: GRAHAM WALZER FOR WIRED

This is where Tom Cruise sits to review footage from his latest action epic, where Chris Nolan makes sure every soldier in Dunkirk looks exactly the way he should. Then, once filmmakers are happy with what they’ve created, it’s the job of the theater’s namesake—IMAX’s white-haired and suit-wearing chief quality officer—to replicate it perfectly in the more than 1,100 other screens it operates all over the world. Keighley is famous within IMAX for flying to random theaters on the release dates for big movies, to make sure everything’s just right.

For more than 45 years, IMAX has defined the absolute highest end of the movie-going experience by controlling every aspect of that experience, from building cameras to developing laser-projection technology to redesigning the seating arrangements so more people have better views. “Why do filmmakers come back time after time after time?” Keighley asks rhetorically. “Because they know the IMAX version of the movie is probably the best version of the movie.”

In recent months, though, IMAX has set its sights on a new technology: virtual reality. IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond believes VR is much more than a toy for gamers or a living-room furniture piece. He sees it as the future of the movie theater—even the future of movies. It’s just not the present. “Anyone who tells you that VR is ready for prime time in its current form is wrong,” says Gelfond, a stout man in his early 60s. “Wrong!”

But that’s precisely the opportunity. Virtual reality is poised to be the biggest shift in the history of filmmaking. “Everything is new, everything is fresh,” says Joe Russo, the director of movies like Captain America: Winter Soldier and the next Avengers flick. “The execution is different, the impact on the audience is different. Some people are going to take some big swings in it, and those are going to define the direction it takes.” From music to games to blockbuster movies, every aspect of entertainment will be changed by (or competing with) VR. And just as MGM and Warner Bros. made a killing at the dawn of the movie industry, there’s a gold rush happening around the future of frame-free cinema.

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How 3D Sound Makes Virtual Reality More Real, By DJ Pangburn

Dražen Bošnjak in his sound studio with VR headgear. Images courtesy Mach1.

Attend a virtual reality meetup or conference and the discussion will eventually turn to developing better 3D spatial sound for VR experiences. The New York Times’ VR journalism platform, NYTVR, recently upped the ante (for iOS, Android and Google’s VR platform Daydream) when Tribeca-based Q Department Studio, creators of a VR and augmented reality spatial sound system called Mach1, teamed up with Secret Location—makers of the VR content management system, VUSR—to help bring virtual sound up to speed with visuals.

As Q Department Studio’s Jacqueline Bošnjak tells The Creators Project, she and Mach1 creator Dražen Bošnjak wanted to enter the VR sound arena so that the VR and AR experiences could become more holistically immersive. She says that while sound—as with everyday reality—is half the “presence” for more complete immersion, it lags behind VR’s visuals.

As Dražen notes, the ability to sense acoustic vibration is one of humanity’s five basic senses—one that helped us survive predators, hunt for food, and locate loved ones. Some aspects of high quality sound require a trained ear to appreciate, while other sounds work through a basic smartphone speaker that is compressed over a wireless signal. He’s amazed at the diversity of audio sensations in human hearing, and wants VR and AR audio to reflect this dynamic spectrum.

“Some aspects of visual technologies, mostly at the level of post production and processing are ahead of sound,” says Dražen. “It is much easier to trick the brain that it is hearing the right sound than it seeing the right image therefore exponentially larger amounts of money and time are designated towards developing and processing believable visual effects than sound.”

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VR Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Virtual Reality Experience, By Janko Roettgers

COURTESY OF WARNER BROS
COURTESY OF WARNER BROS

With its ability to transport you into another world, virtual reality can feel magical. The same has long been true for books and movies that capture our imagination with detailed otherworlds. So what better way to promote a movie like “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” that with virtual reality (VR)?

Warner Bros. has done just that with a new “Fantastic Beasts” VR experience, which was exclusively released for Google’s new Daydream VR headset earlier this month. The experience invites viewers to enter the study of Newt Scamander, the main character of the movie. Given that he had to leave for the U.S., he instructs the viewer to take care of three of the creatures he had to leave behind.

To do so, one has to trace a series of figures with a magic wand that is being controlled with the help of the Daydream controller as a way to visually draw spells in the air. There’s also a little bit of potion mixing involved, and one even has to grind down a few chubby roots with a mortar and pestle.

The experience was produced by Framestore, the same VFX studio that also worked on the visual effects of the actual “Fantastic Beasts” movie, which leads to a great level of visual detail throughout the entire experience. The study is crammed full with old books, scattered manuscripts and mysterious potions, and the beasts as well as their individual habitats themselves are truly impressive. Having a Thunderbird spread its wings right in front of you is quite a sight, to say the least.

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Explore the Red Planet in ‘The Martian VR Experience’ By Stephanie Mlot

Could you survive alone on Mars? PlayStation VR and HTC Vive owners will find out tomorrow.

“The Martian VR Experience,” a tie-in with Ridley Scott’s 2015 film The Martian, hits the VR headsets on Tuesday. Produced by Scott and directed by Maleficent’s Robert Stromberg, the interactive game puts viewers into the space suit of Mark Watney—a fictional American astronaut left for dead by his crew during an emergency departure from the Red Planet.

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Jaunt Announces Bi-Coastal Availability of Jaunt ONE Professional VR Camera

Expanding Rental Program Brings Award-Winning Camera to AbelCine

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jaunt Inc., the industry leader in cinematic virtual reality (VR), today announced that the award-winning Jaunt ONE camera is being made available to even more creators through an expanding rental program. AbelCine, a leading provider of products and services to the production, broadcast and new media industries, is the latest company to offer the Jaunt ONE for rent.

“Whether they’re a frequent experimenter of new mediums or a proven filmmaker dabbling in VR for the first time, we want to equip creators of all backgrounds with everything needed to bring their stories to life.”

The Jaunt ONE 24G model camera – which features 24 global shutter sensors, ideal for low-light and fast moving objects, and ability to couple with 360° ambisonic audio recording – will be available to rent from AbelCine. Creators will also have access to AbelCine’s training, workshops and educational tools for shooting in VR.

The nationwide availability of the Jaunt ONE camera, paired with access to the company’s end-to-end VR pipeline, provides filmmakers, creators and artists with the hardware and software solutions for shooting, producing and distributing immersive cinematic VR experiences.

Hardware – Rent the award-winning Jaunt ONE camera through AbelCine or Radiant Images
Software – Jaunt Cloud Services (JCS) provides the tools necessary to edit, stitch and render stereoscopic 360° footage
Distribution – Submit high quality VR content for distribution directly to the Jaunt VR app through the Jaunt Publishing program
“As we continue to open the Jaunt pipeline to the expanding community of VR creators, AbelCine is a perfect partner to not only get the Jaunt ONE camera in the hands of filmmakers, but also to educate them on the opportunities in VR,” said Koji Gardiner, Vice President of Hardware Engineering at Jaunt. “Whether they’re a frequent experimenter of new mediums or a proven filmmaker dabbling in VR for the first time, we want to equip creators of all backgrounds with everything needed to bring their stories to life.”

“At AbelCine, we are always on the lookout for cutting-edge storytelling tools, and this describes the Jaunt ONE perfectly,” said Mike Nichols, Business Development Manager. “Our clients rely on us for assistance in adopting new technologies and providing outstanding technical support on these projects. We are excited to do just this, and help our clients discover what’s possible with the Jaunt ONE.”

Creators interested in shooting with Jaunt ONE should stop by AbelCine’s booth #1149 at NAB Show NY, November 9-10 at the Javits Convention Center, where the camera will be on display.

Jaunt is also expanding its existing rental program with LA-based Radiant Images to increase the number of cameras available to their customers. For more general information on the Jaunt ONE camera and Jaunt Cloud Services, please visit:

https://www.jauntvr.com/technology/

About Jaunt Inc.

Jaunt is pioneering the future of creative storytelling through cinematic virtual reality. Founded in 2013, Jaunt is the leading developer of the hardware, software, tools, and applications to enable cinematic VR and put the power of virtual reality in the hands of today’s best content creators. In addition, Jaunt works with leading creatives – from brands to artists to filmmakers – to create cutting-edge content through its studio arm, Jaunt Studios. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company also maintains a presence in Los Angeles and produces branded and original VR content for audiences worldwide.

Jaunt’s investors include The Walt Disney Company, Evolution Media Partners, China Media Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat. 1 SE, The Madison Square Garden Company, Peter Gotcher, Blake Krikorian, and Sky (corporate.sky.com). Experience more at www.jauntvr.com.

About AbelCine

AbelCine, established in 1989, is a full service equipment and technology provider to the broadcast, production and new media industries, with facilities in New York City, Burbank, CA and Chicago, IL. Core services include equipment sales, financing, training, rental and tech services. For more information, visit www.abelcine.com.

Contacts
Double Forte for Jaunt
Lyndsey Besser, 415-500-0619
Jaunt_DF@double-forte.comjaunt

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