Apple embraces VR video with 360-degree and 8K support for Final Cut Pro X, by Jon Martindale

Apple has firmly embraced 360-degree video with its latest update for Final Cut Pro X that lets users edit video especially for virtual reality. The update also introduces a number of additional features for modern video editing, including support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), 8K resolutions, and advanced color grading.

As much as we love fully immersive virtual reality games and experiences, it’s likely that 360-degree video will be the first point of contact many people have with VR. As a standard, VR video may also be the future of immersive media, in much the way that color imagery supplanted black and white. Apple is keeping itself at the forefront of modern content creation with its latest update for its premier video editing suite.

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With Tiny Stereoscopic 360-Degree Camera, Live Planet Aims To Succeed Where Others Failed, by Ian Hamilton

Startup Live Planet plans to deliver its first cameras in December as part of an end-to-end stereoscopic 360-degree video platform aimed at making it easier for creators to stream live high-quality content.

Live Planet is led by serial entrepreneur Halsey Minor, who largely self-funded this company after a long track record at the start of businesses like CNET,  Salesforce and GrandCentral (which later became Google Voice). With 360-degree video, he’s intimately aware of the failures of other products on the market, including Nokia’s OZO, and aims to succeed through a combination of high-quality hardware and easy-to-use software.

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Lytro Announces VR Light Field Rendering Software ‘Volume Tracer’, by Scott Hayden

Lytro, the once consumer-facing light field camera company which has recently pivoted to create high-end production tools, has announced a light field rendering software for VR that essentially aims to free developers from the current limitations of real-time rendering. The company calls it ‘Volume Tracer’.

Light field cameras are typically hailed as the next necessary technology in bridging the gap between real-time rendered experiences and 360 video—two VR content types that for now act as bookends on the spectrum of immersive to less-than-immersive virtual media. Professional-level light field cameras, like Lytro’s Immerge prototype, still aren’t yet in common use though, but light fields aren’t only capable of being generated with expensive/large physical cameras.

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Following the pattern established with the last major update to DaVinci ResolveBlackmagic Design announced a new low price for Fusion, its compositing and special effects program. Although it has been used on many Hollywood blockbusters, Fusion 9 Studio is available for a consumer-friendly price of $299, the same price as Resolve and a significant drop from the previous cost of $995. Unveiled at SIGGRAPH, Fusion 9 Studio also gains numerous features, including a brand new virtual reality toolset, a new motion and camera tracking technologies, enhanced keying controls, and improved performance.

With the new VR tools, Fusion 9 Studio users will be able to edit immersive video projects in a true 360-degree workspace when using VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Thanks to graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration, Blackmagic Design claims users will be able to interact with elements in a VR scene in real time, while a new 360-degree virtual camera can render out entire scenes in a single pass. The program also supports stereoscopic 3D content.

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Boris FX Releases Mocha VR

Still Frame from IGN’s Scripted VR Series ‘Augmented.’

GUILDFORD, U.K. — Mocha VR is a groundbreaking new software tool bringing high-end visual effects and post-production workflows to 360°/VR filmmaking. Based on Imagineer’s Academy Award-winning planar tracking algorithm, Mocha VR is also the first plug-in to bring native 360° optimized motion tracking, masking, object removal, and horizon stabilization tools to host applications Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Adobe After Effects CC, Avid Media Composer, The Foundry’s NUKE, and Blackmagic Design Fusion.

Mocha VR marks the first foray into the quickly expanding 360° filmmaking community by parent company Boris FX, the leading developers of creative VFX plug-ins including flagship products Boris Continuum, Mocha Pro, and recently acquired Sapphire.

“Emerging 360°/VR content creators want to produce Hollywood style visuals and use high-end finishing techniques to make their 360° videos more impactful,” said Ross Shain, Chief Marketing Officer. “However, the equirectangular format brings technical challenges to the artists tasked with delivering high quality deliverables. Mocha VR introduces an efficient, time-saving post-stitch workflow for editors, compositors, and finishing artists. We are excited that Mocha’s famous planar tracking can now be used to fix many problems associated with 360° post, such as removing cameras and stabilizing aerial footage.”

“Avid is committed to working with third-parties to offer the most comprehensive tools and workflow solutions to create, distribute, and monetize media,” said Kate Ketcham, Product Manager, Avid. “Boris FX has extensive experience creating high-quality plug-ins for Avid Media Composer. The new Mocha VR AVX plug-in is notable for being the first third-party 360° video tool designed to support the Avid editing workflow.”

Early Mocha VR beta testers have reaped the benefits of the powerful new 360°/VR workflow.

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Oculus’ VR painting app Quill will be released free next month, By Cat Ellis

Paint a story

Quill – a virtual reality painting app created by Oculus – will be available to download as a free beta in early December. The date coincides with the release of the Oculus Touch controller, which you’ll need to create your own VR illustrations in Quill.

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What’s the Virtual Reality Developers Conference?



The Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) brings together creators of amazing, immersive VR (and AR) experiences to share best practices and demo new technology.

If you haven’t already, there’s still time to register online for a VRDC pass that grants you access to a wide variety of talks, roundtable discussions, demos and workshops during the show, which is happening November 2nd and 3rd (next Wednesday and Thursday) at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco.

VRDC attendees are heartily encouraged to plan ahead and bookmark their favorite talks in the online VRDC Session Scheduler. All passholders also have access to the VRDC show floor, which will showcase cutting-edge virtual- and augmented-reality technology from some of the industry’s biggest and most influential companies.

Microsoft, HTC, Google, CCP and ARM are but a few of the notable exhibitors at the show this year — you can visit the official GDC Next website for a dynamic list of the show’s exhibitor lineup. The Expo Floor also provides attendees with numerous opportunities to learn about upcoming products, interact with developers, and establish business relationships with some of the industry’s top professionals.

And of course, it’s not all work at VRDC — make sure to leave room in your schedule to attend the very special VRDC opening night reception! Event organizers are kicking off the big show with a welcome soiree from 6 to 8 PM on the evening of the first day (Wednesday, November 2nd.) The party will take place in the Metropolitan foyer of the Park Central, and it promises to be a can’t-miss gathering!

So if you haven’t yet, be sure to visit the VRDC website now and register to attend the conference, which will feature a plethora of great VR/AR talks spanning games, entertainment, and beyond into subjects such as healthcare, journalism, travel, manufacturing, retail, live events, real estate, training, and so much more.

Quill lets you create 3D illustrations in virtual reality, By Dean Takahashi

Above: Quill Image Credit: Oculus
Above: Quill Image Credit: Oculus

At the recent Oculus Connect event, some virtual reality applications didn’t fit into any category. Quill was one of those, part interactive comic book, part VR film, and part VR creation tool.

It’s not really a game, but it has an interesting story that begins with a 360-degree short film, Dear Angelica, which was unveiled in unfinished form at the Sundance Film Festival.

The art style in Dear Angelica is like a painting, because that’s what a memory seems like, said filmmaker Saschka Unseld, creative director of the Oculus Story Studio, in an interview with VentureBeat. Quill takes you inside the world of the painting, allowing you to see it from different angles and fill out the details with vivid colors with the swipe of your hand. You can also create your own original drawings. It reminded me of other VR art tools, such as Google’s TiltBrush and the sculpting Medium tool from Oculus.

Quill started as an in-house VR painting tool to enable the illustrative storytelling in Dear Angelica. Since completing Dear Angelica, the Story Studio team is working on polishing Quill so it can be shared with the world and allow anyone to tell their own stories using the tool.

“We were determined that the tool had to be comfortable to use for hours so you could tell more complex stories and art,” said Edward Saatchi, producer at Oculus Story Studios, in an interview.


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What I Learned From 3 Months In Virtual Reality, By Patrick Willer

I can vividly remember my first Virtual Reality experience and it was 25 years ago!

It was early 1990s. I was a teenager addicted to video games. When I wanted more sensation than my Game Boy could provide, there was only one option: the arcade hall. My favorite “happy place” took my pocket money, piece by piece.

I didn’t have a lot of pocket money, so I selected the games economically. The longer I played the same game the better I got and the more value I received out of a coin. Of course, I noticed the attractive, big double coin machines like Out Run and After Burner. They looked amazing, but too expensive.

Until… suddenly, out of nowhere, they had this new machine installed. A huge installation. It was guarded 24×7 by an operator and the cost was a whopping five guilders to play. It was an actual Virtual Reality (VR) experience. Some kind of shooter, where you could walk through some kind of platform. It looked like this. I was hooked! This was the future of gaming. Little did I know, I had to wait 25 years for my next VR experience.

25 Years Later

In 2016, the first real commercial VR systems (Oculus, HTC Vive) hit the market with a mainstream strategy. Early adopters have to pay top dollar to satisfy their need for innovations, but really can’t help themselves. I simply needed to get my hands on the first Oculus Rift. The rift alone is a fairly reasonable investment for $599, but the PC needed to run smoothly, starting at around $1750. I’m a MacBook user, so I needed to buy a dedicated PC to get started. I’m still waiting for $150 discount from Oculus Rift, but let’s say their service levels are just as young as their product.

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The Future Begins: October Will See Big VR Moments From Google, Facebook, and Sony, By Ian Hamilton

Even if you’ve tried virtual reality or already own a VR system, nothing has prepared you for what’s coming over the next month. Three major VR platforms are expected to launch before Thanksgiving Day with massive announcements and retail roll-outs in the works.

Despite our dogged pursuit of VR news here at Upload, the technology is still the stuff of science fiction for most people. For many, VR may have appeared in a couple news reports or been seen as an ad for the Samsung Gear VR on TV a couple times. Maybe you even own a Cardboard box you can slip your phone inside. That cardboard box, though, is not very representative of the new generation of VR technology about to hit the market next month. Soon, it will be hard to escape the fact that VR is here to stay.

As someone who obsessively followed this technology since 2012, I’ve gotten to watch the steady growth of this industry beginning with just a Kickstarter campaign. After two years, it was an industry seeing countless experts hired by tech giants and billions of dollars invested by the likes of Facebook, Sony and Google. Over the next few years, platform construction accelerated and the first consumer products debuted.

Now, though, the real excitement begins.

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