philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Magic Leap files 97 patents!

The secretive company has applied for 97 patents, providing a small hint at the futuristic tech it’s developing.

The group of patents, published between August 20 and 27, include devices and techniques for capturing and manipulating light and images. Several discuss “outside light,” which refers to the light from objects that bounces off the eye and creates what the brain interprets as an image. Glasses or a contact lens could interfere, and change what the eye sees. And because Magic Leap is in the business of augmented reality, it could use some of the technology it seeks to patent to dim some of the light from real objects to make the virtual ones it projects appear more real.

Also, as Re/Code notes, the patents discuss displaying light at different focal points.

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Marines Explore ‘Augmented Reality’

150805-N-PO203-143-300x206While virtual reality puts the user in a completely computer-generated environment, augmented reality superimposes computer-generated elements — say, a tank, a helicopter, or a building — on the real world. That lets troops go through the actual, physical motions of the skill they’re training for and build muscle memory, without restricting the targets and support units.

The system tested in Quantico, the Augmented Immersive Team Trainer (AITT), is primarily meant to train troops to call in airstrikes and artillery barrages. That’s one of the hardest kinds of training to do live. Real aircraft and artillery batteries are expensive and often unavailable when other units want to train with them. Real bombs, missiles, shells, and targets can be used only once. Augmented reality training replaces all these costly components while keeping the crucial one — the human being — with his boots on the actual ground.

AITT could be used for other training in the future. After four years of development and testing, the service will conduct “a large-scale demonstration [and] assessment” this October. The project will move from the Office of Naval Research to the regular Marine procurement system, which will decide whether to buy augmented reality in bulk.

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Iovine Academy breeds virtual reality innovation


Montana Reed might be in his second year at USC, but his major is still fairly new — both to him and the University. That’s because Reed is majoring in art, technology and the business of innovation with an emphasis on design and venture management, as part of the first class in the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for the Arts.


Reed’s emphasis on design and venture management is a result of his interest in running a small business to do design for products. This past summer, the sophomore had the opportunity to intern with Create Advertising in Culver City, entertainment marketing agency that specializes in fulfilling the creative needs of film, television, gaming and branding clients. Reed interned in the company’s virtual reality research and development department along with two other Academy students, Matt Stern and Evan Bovie.


Representatives of Create Advertising were brought in as guest speakers at The Academy to discuss the concept of virtual reality. They also talked about the production process, which resonated with Reed and allowed him to hypothesize projects and connect with them about the internship. He explained that he went into the internship not knowing exactly what to expect or how much he would end up learning.


During the latter half of the internship, Reed, Stern and Bowie were able to work on a 360-degree video shoot that was their own project. They had to familiarize themselves with areas of business to find cameras, rent out a location and build a crew.

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4DX 4D Movie Theater Planned In Chicago

cj_cgv_4dx_theater_-_h_2013Since debuting in 2010, 4DX now operates in 187 theaters in 34 countries including Brazil, China, Korea, Russia, UAE and the UK. It was launched in the U.S. at Los Angeles' AEG-owned Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 in June 2014. During its first year, the 104-seat 4DX auditorium generated $1.7 million in revenue. As previously announced, two Manhattan locations are slated to open later this year, at Regal Union Square Stadium 14 and Regal E-Walk 13.

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Disney XD by Maker will search for next-generation talent to create content for the Disney XD website with an eye toward traditional television series development.


Disney XD is looking to Maker Studios to help fill its ranks with up-and-coming talent.


The television network and Disney-owned digital network have teamed up to create a new initiative called Disney XD by Maker that will seek out and help develop a new generation of stars and filmmakers for the Disney XD website, app and cable channel.


Disney XD, a basic cable channel that airs programming for boys ages 6 to 11, will work with a number of YouTube creators in the Maker network including gamer CaptainSparklez and toy reviewer EvanTube to incubate their content.

"We're thrilled to collaborate with Maker and warmly welcome some of its brightest stars to the Disney XD family through Disney XD by Maker," said Disney XD general manager Marc Buhaj.

Added Maker chief audience officer Chris M. Williams: "The Disney XD team has incredible vision for embracing this new generation of talent and Disney XD by Maker is a significant commitment to the space. 

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Bringing Beethoven to the Masses with Virtual Reality

van-beethoven-vr3-1024x683LA Philharmonic is launching a mobile virtual reality orchestral experience tour utilizing the Oculus Rift in select locations around Los Angeles.

The entire VR experience on wheels is being dubbed the VAN Beethoven(because a van/truck) and will run from September 11th to October 18th.

The VAN Beethoven customized truck will give visitors an opportunity to experience the first minutes of Beethoven’s timeless Symphony No. 5, led by Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Concert Hall, in an immersive 360-degree environment.

Visitors will climb aboard the VAN Beethoven truck, complete with carpet and seating from Walt Disney Concert Hall, and put on an Oculus Rift headset connected to the Orchestra VR virtual reality app. Shot with binaural audio capture, users will get the full augmented soundtrack that adapts to the viewer’s perspective.

The VAN Beethoven experience will be available as a free app called Orchestra VR in the Oculus and Samsung Gear VR app stores starting this September.

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Qualcomm Institute Convenes Conference on Future of Virtual Reality

WAVE_FutureofVRExperts from academia and industry will share their insights into the future of virtual-reality technologies and content at the first annual Future of Virtual Reality conference. The 2015 event takes place Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 8-9, in Atkinson Hall, the headquarters of Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute on the UC San Diego campus.

Funding for the Future of Virtual Reality conference is provided, in part, by a grant from the Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities (CSRO) program of the Qualcomm Institute.

The institute is uniquely positioned to be a partner for companies wanting to enter the virtual reality marketplace because of its cutting-­edge visualization and virtual reality laboratories, and its world­-class research activities in real-­time graphics and 3D user interaction. The Qualcomm Institute houses a variety of unique, gold­-standard 3D visualization systems, such as the StarCAVE, the NexCAVE, the TourCAVE, and the WAVE, all of which are equipped with 3D tracking systems to allow for the prototyping of immersive VR software applications.

The sessions planned for the Future of Virtual Reality conference reflect the breadth of open topics in the VR field, including display hardware, panoramic cameras, content generation, spatialized audio, user interaction, social applications of VR, and so on.   For university researchers one of the underlying issues is that VR applications can be very hardware dependent because they depend on the existence of specific types of input devices or display devices. Although VR applications are designed at the Qualcomm Institute to run on a variety of graphics cluster-based systems, including the StarCAVE, WAVE and even head-mounted devices such as Oculus Rift, they do not run on mobile devices.

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MTV VMAs media mix, including VR

moonman-vmas-jeremy-scottMTV will produce a live-streaming, 360-degree virtual-reality video experience for the 2015 “MTV Video Music Awards” red-carpet pre-show on Sunday, Aug. 30.

The cabler worked with virtual-reality studio and tech company IM360 on the VR project, which will lets desktop viewers use their mouse to navigate immersive scenes from the red carpet, while mobile users can download the IM360 app and watch the coverage from different angles by moving their device in any direction.

Other digital extensions for the 2015 “MTV Video Music Awards”:

  • MTV will grant exclusive access to the red carpet and show to top social influencers, including YouTube stars Connor Franta and Lohanthony, Twitter grandma comedian Baddie Winkle, and Laci Green, host of MTV’s “Braless” digital series on sexuality and other topics;
  • MTV News, working with online content platform Playbuzz, is launching Swiper for its VMA coverage that will let users swipe right for “like” and left for “disklike” (a la Tinder) for each post; and
  • MTV Style will turn over its Twitter Periscope broadcasting account to the women of Shop Jeen, an online clothing and accessories store, to provide real-time commentary on red carpet fashions. Additional influencers slated to broadcast live from the VMAs include Rickey Thompson, Danababy, Kinda Sarah, Andrea Russett, CyreneQ, Makeup by Mandy, Mahogany Lox and Josh Kennedy.

‘Two Bit Circus’ Can Sync Audience Experiences in VR, Tech to Debut at VRLA

two-bit-circus-GearVR-syncing-boxes-680x383Now, a company which describes itself as being “…at the intersection of technology and spectacle.” have developed a system that allows a “limitless” number of VR headsets to deliver a sync’ed 360 video experience to, potentially, a mass audience.

In much the same way that sensing others’ responses to traditional movies whilst at a public movie theater can enhance (or detract in some cases) your experience.

Two Bit Circus’ system is simple but seemingly effective. Take a number of Bluetooth-paired custom 360 video player (running on the phone attached to the Gear VR) and a central, wireless trigger system – capable of starting, stopping and resetting all connected devices simultaneously. The company claims that the system is designed to be portable and to be deployed quickly, making it ideal for onsite presentations and special events.

On a purely practical level, with the levels of interest in virtual reality as a marketing and presentation tool, Two Bit Circus’ syncing system is a potentially elegant and powerful tool for event managers and marketers. An early version of the triggering system has already been used at a 2014 Super Bowl collaboration with Wasserman Experience, Verizon and the NFL.

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Michael Bay is launching a range of ‘augmented reality comics’

451Although 451 hasn't revealed any titles yet, creators are already involved, pulled together from Hollywood's sphere of writers and artists. Currently announced are Con Air's Scott RosenbergSwordfish's Skip WoodsThe Wire's George PelecanosBlack Mass' Mark Mallouk, novelist Clay McLeod Chapman, and visual effects artists Peter and Paul Williams.

Rather than traditional paper based comics though, Bay's initiative will feature Touchcode, a "thinking ink" technology that unlocks digital content from physical goods. When used with comics, it could deliver additional story material, blend the narrative across mediums, or create mixed-media content bridging print and video.'s not hard to see 451 treating the graphic novel line as an IP farm. Hopefully, there'll at least be something worth reading in there, too.

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