Report: Facebook to Launch Oculus Go Standalone Headset at F8 Developer Conference, by Scott Hayden

Oculus Go, the company’s upcoming $200 standalone VR headset, doesn’t have an official release date yet, but a recent report from Variety contends Oculus will be launching Go at Facebook’s f8 developer conference this May.

Variety cites “multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans,” although a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment when asked to confirm.

In short, Oculus Go is essentially a standalone version of Samsung Gear VR, a mobile VR headset featuring rotational-only tracking (3DOF) for both the headset and the controller. Starting at $200, Oculus Go is however much cheaper than Gear VR‘s total price, which requires not only a $130 headset/controller, but also a compatible Samsung smartphone to drive it.

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MK2 to Equip VR Venues Around the World… by Elsa Keslassy


One year after launching Europe’s first and biggest VR space, MK2 is set to start commercializing VR plug-and-play equipment for global exhibitors who are looking to launch VR venues in theaters, museums, and institutions, among other places

Called the MK2 VR Pod, the equipment which MK2 will be distributing worldwide is considered to be an “end-to-end premium and white-labeled product line,” the company said.

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How Travis Cloyd became a VR film visionary, by Dean Takahashi

Travis Cloyd started making virtual reality films three years ago, and he has made four of them so far. That record was enough to earn him the award for VR Visionary at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose, California. That’s because VR is such a young medium, and Hollywood storytellers like Cloyd are still experimenting with how to do these films.

At Cinequest, Cloyd showed off his VR film that promotes the new Nicholas Cage movie, The Humanity Bureau. It’s a dystopian science fiction thriller set in the year 2030, when a massive recession and global warming catastrophe forces society to get rid of its unproductive members. The 2D film debuts on April 6.

Cloyd has also created VR promo films for John Travolta’s upcoming Speed Kills and the Wesley Snipes film The Recall. At Cinequest, Cloyd won Best VR Feature Film for Speed Kills and Best Sci-Fi VR Film for The Humanity Bureau.

With those VR films, Cloyd had to work around the schedule and production for the 2D films, and he also had to figure out how to place the cameras so they captured 360-degree action — without making viewers seasick.

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Animatrik Partners With Lifelike & Believable To Create Immersive Real-Time VR Experiences, by Peter Graham

To make in game characters more lifelike virtual reality (VR) developers use motion capture technology from the likes of IKinema or Vicon. Today, independent motion capture studio Animatrik has announced a new partnership with Lifelike & Believable to enhance its digital character pipeline and create immersive real-time VR experiences.

Having delivered high-end motion capture for both feature films and video games; such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Gears of War, Justice League, and Oscar-winning immersive VR experience Carne y Arena, Animatrik will bolster its existing virtual production pipeline with the VR processes usually outsourced to videogame development studios.

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Hollywood 360: how virtual reality is poised to take on the traditional movie industry, by John Mateer

The Lawnmower Man was the first feature film to depict a new type of technology that enabled characters to explore synthetic, simulated worlds through an emerging new medium called virtual reality (VR). That was 1992.

Using head-mounted displays (HMD) the size of crash helmets and gloves with sensors, VR users were experiencing computer-generated environments and stories in new ways. Through the idea of “presence” – the feeling of actually being part of an artificially created place – any adventure was now possible, at least if the buzz was to be believed.

The film was a hit; now Hollywood studios were watching, waiting for the technology to mature to a point where they could actually create VR experiences for audiences. This idea of “convergence” between old and new media was a hot topic, and extremely attractive as a potential new revenue stream for studios.

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Virtual Reality Finally Sold Big at Sundance: Here’s What It Means for the Future of the Marketplace, by Kim Voynar

In a year of slow sales for traditional movies, VR came out on top. So what happens now?
“Spheres” director Eliza McNitt

While everyone was busy complaining about slow sales at the 2018 SundanceFilm Festival, something remarkable happened: The festival saw its first major VR acquisition. For a reported low-to-mid seven figures, CityLights bought the three-part VR series “Spheres,” directed by science-storytelling whiz Eliza McNitt, narrated by Jessica Chastain, and executive produced by Darren Aronofsky.

A few days later, in the first sale of a VR documentary at Sundance, Dogwoof acquired “Zikr: A Sufi Revival,” directed by Gabo Arora​. “Zikr” is a 15-minute interactive VR experience that uses song and dance to transport four participants at a time into ecstatic Sufi dance rituals; in addition to location-based installations, the deal includes funding for an online version of the VR experience that allows multiple players to be networked at once.

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Headspace Studio Expands VR Sound Operations With New L.A. Office, by Peter Graham

Creative and technical sound services company, Headspace Studio (Inside the Box of Kurios; Jurassic World: Apatosaurus; The People’s House: Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obamahas today announced the expansion of its virtual reality (VR) sound operations with the opening of a new studio in Los Angeles, California.

The new Los Angeles office marks the first expansion for the Montreal-based company. The L.A.-based operation aims to further the company’s mission to provide VR producers, developers, and filmmakers with on-set and post-production audio solutions of the highest technical, execution, and creative standards and an end-to-end process pipeline for 3D positional audio production, post-production and delivery.

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Pimax’s massive 8K VR headset shows why comfort takes precedence over pixel count, by Nick Statt

Photo: Pimax

Pimax, a Chinese startup developing an 8K virtual reality headset, came to CES this year to show off its latest prototype, the fifth in just a year since the first version was unveiled at last year’s show. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, one in which Pimax raised more than $4.2 million and beat out even Oculus VR’s initial crowdfunding campaign, it’s working toward mass production of the consumer version that is slated to come out later this year after an initial shipment to backers.

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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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Lytro Reveals Immerge 2.0 Light-field Camera with Improved Quality, Faster Captures, by Ben Lang

Lytro’s Immerge light-field camera is meant for professional high-end VR productions. It may be a beast of a rig, but it’s capable of capturing some of the best looking volumetric video that I’ve had my eyes on yet. The company has revealed a major update to the camera, the Immerge 2.0, which, through a few smart tweaks, makes for much more efficient production and higher quality output.

Light-field specialist Lytro, which picked up a $60 million Series D investment earlier this year, is making impressive strides in its light-field capture and playback technology. The company is approaching light-field from both live-action and synthetic ends; last month Lytro announced Volume Tracer, a software which generates light-fields from pre-rendered CG content, enabling ultra-high fidelity VR imagery that retains immersive 6DOF viewing.

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