philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

15Jun/18Off

CEEK VR and Iconic Director Brett Leonard Announce Development of Scripted Virtual Reality Series and Movie “HOLLYWOOD ROOFTOP”

Hollywood Rooftop Virtual Reality VX360 Scripted Series by CEEK VR (PRNewsfoto/CEEK VR)

Hollywood Rooftop Virtual Reality VX360 Scripted Series by CEEK VR (PRNewsfoto/CEEK VR)

Taking the helm at revolutionizing and changing the face of storytelling through Virtual Reality, CEEK VR is in development with HOLLYWOOD ROOFTOP,  a multi-conceptual film including a 10 episode VR FragFilm and a 2D feature film.  The VR FragFilm (episodic content) will be filmed in Immersive Cinema VX/360, split into 10 fragments (Frags) while the 2D feature will be filmed simultaneously and serve as its companion, designed to stimulate the discussion of VR spatial storytelling and its connection with the language of cinema. As one of the original thought leaders in this discussion of VR content, producer/director Brett Leonard speaks all over the world on the subject.

Chronicling a group of young talented up-and-coming actors, and set entirely on a rooftop in Hollywood, each character is intertwined as they share their challenges, loves, failures, and successes as they all try to "make it" in Hollywood.  This will be one of the first truly dialogue-driven feature VR projects.

About CEEK, VR:

CEEK VR is an award-winning developer of premium virtual and augmented reality experiences. CEEK VR pioneered the notion of virtual reality concerts.   CEEK VR's mission is to make virtual reality experiences universally accessible and enjoyable.  CEEK VR offers the first blockchain enabled social experience and marketplace for cryptographically authenticated content, celebrity merchandize and voting.

See the full story here: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ceek-vr-and-iconic-director-brett-leonard-announce-development-of-scripted-virtual-reality-series-and-movie-hollywood-rooftop-300666937.html

14Jun/18Off

How Facebook’s new 3D photos work

3dphotos-640In case you missed the teaser, 3D photos will live in your news feed just like any other photos, except when you scroll by them, touch or click them, or tilt your phone, they respond as if the photo is actually a window into a tiny diorama, with corresponding changes in perspective. It will work for both ordinary pictures of people and dogs, but also landscapes and panoramas.

It sounds a little hokey, and I’m about as skeptical as they come, but the effect won me over quite quickly. The illusion of depth is very convincing, and it does feel like a little magic window looking into a time and place rather than some 3D model — which, of course, it is.

In their system, the user takes multiple images of their surroundings by moving their phone around; it captures an image (technically two images and a resulting depth map) every second and starts adding it to its collection.

In the background, an algorithm looks at both the depth maps and the tiny movements of the camera captured by the phone’s motion detection systems. Then the depth maps are essentially massaged into the correct shape to line up with their neighbors. This part is impossible for me to explain because it’s the secret mathematical sauce that the researchers cooked up.

See the full story here: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/07/how-facebooks-new-3d-photos-work/

14Jun/18Off

Is augmented reality the future of travel? Air New Zealand partners with Magic Leap

B6L246GAOFAHVNWJZ7VRZ2HVYAAir New Zealand is partnering with Magic Leap, a technology powerhouse pioneering augmented reality entertainment.

The airline says it is developing exciting new experiences with the United States company that will initially highlight the dramatic, diverse landscapes and activities that make the country a unique tourism destination.

Shareholders include Google and Alibaba, and Weta's Richard Taylor is on the company's board.

Magic Leap's lenses superimpose 3D objects on top of real world objects. The collaboration with Air New Zealand is a first for the Florida company.

The technology will debut this year and is part of a longer-term programme aimed at "redefining travel experiences.''

See the full story here: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business-travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=813&objectid=12070819

13Jun/18Off

VRstudios raises more cash to expand location-based virtual reality technology across the world

Dave-Busters-VR-Simulator1The Seattle-area startup reeled in another $2.2 million from investors. The company confirmed the new funding but declined to provide information about investors.

Founded in 2014, VRstudios is gaining traction with nascent VR technology by providing access to room-scale multiplayer VR experiences outside of the home. The location-based entertainment company has deployed 64 systems across 14 countries. Its latest installation happened this week at 112 Dave and Buster’s locations, where customers can play the new Jurassic World VR Expedition game.

VRStudios is one of many new up-and-coming virtual reality startups in the Seattle area. Others include PixvanaHaptXPlutoVREAL, Against GravityEndeavor OneNullspace VR, and many more. That’s in addition to larger companies like Microsoft, Valve, HTC, and Oculus that are developing virtual and augmented reality technologies in the region.

See the full story here: https://www.geekwire.com/2018/vrstudios-raises-cash-expand-location-based-vr-technology-across-world/

13Jun/18Off

People Are Paying Insane Amounts of Real Money for “Virtual Real Estate”

1_c06WLXQ3jkLDO-g5z6ovNg-1200x613Genesis City is a plot of virtual land, roughly the size of Washington, D.C., that investors can buy slices of for obscene amounts of money. Even a simple 1,100 square foot plot can go for as much as $200,000, according to Bloomberg.

The company behind Genesis City, called Decantraland, had its initial coin offering (ICO) in August of last year. The company offered interested buyers a chance to exchange their MANA (their own cryptocurrency based on the Ethereum blockchain) for virtual “LAND” (parcels of 1,100 square feet each or 10 by 10 meters).  Its ICO raised a whopping $26 million in just 30 seconds from private investors, enthusiasts, and VR companies. Like all cryptocurrencies, there’s a ledger for the marketplace as the “LAND” changes hands.

It all feels very much like a well-organized, crowdsourced game of Sim City — except that investors would hate if you called it a game. Instead, in forums on Github, Slack, and Reddit, potential users are already calling Decentraland a platform, not a game — it’s something you build on top of, and can basically be anything (it’s not a 3D space with a story built around it as a game would be).

To put those prices into perspective, Second Life — a virtual world that promises to give its users a second chance — sells private plots of 256 by 256 meters for just $600.

See the full story here: https://futurism.com/virtual-real-estate/ 

13Jun/18Off

The Biggest VR Games of E3 2018

teaser-10-mdThis article contains brief summaries of the games and a grid of the platforms that they run on.

See the full story here; http://www.virtualrealitypulse.com/edition/daily-htc-magic-leap-2018-06-12?open-article-id=8382994&article-title=the-biggest-vr-games-of-e3-2018&blog-domain=vrgamecritic.com&blog-title=vr-game-critic

12Jun/18Off

Oculus Go review: should you buy it?

 

Graphics

The Oculus Go features next-generation Fresnel lenses, 110° (diagonal) FOV and a fast-switch 2,560 × 1,440 LCD display. The refresh rate is 60Hz, but some apps can run in 72Hz mode. Technical stuff apart, the graphical quality appears as “good enough”.

Functionalities

I just want to point out one thing: the Oculus Go is a device with limited functionalities: I mean, it is just an improved version of the Gear VR, it offers a 3 DOF headset with a 3 DOF controller. It has no positional tracking, no mixed reality possibilities, no hands tracking, nothing. It offers the bare minimum functionalities for a VR headset to be enjoyable.

Anyway, they offer few functionalities but offer them very well: for instance, there are facilities to record video, stream them to Facebook, connect with your VR friends, etc…

User interface

The internal interface is almost identical to the one of Gear VR. I think that we have still to design proper UX for virtual reality and the current ones are far from perfect… but anyway, the Go internal interface is usable and does its job pretty well. There are various tabs on the lower part of the VR space that let you select various functionalities of the device: explore and run the apps (on the store or in your library), manage your VR friends and meet them, record or stream videos and set the various settings. In front of you, you can see the content relative to the tab you chose.

I found the UI very neat and I immediately learned how to use it. I guess that a first-time VR user would need some time to get used to VR selection process, but in the end, he/she could understand that easily anyway.

Conclusion

Buy the Go if:

  • You offer consultancies in VR, like me: for companies that want to make a showcase of their products in VR during exhibitions, the Go is fantastic. The customer has to pay only $300 for VR station, while with Gear VR it would have been $800 for a station, considering also the price of the phone. So you must have this device to be able to offer these solutions. In any case, if you are a professional, you should own at least a Go to show your customers;
  • You want to start developing for VR, but don’t have the money to buy other more expensive devices. In this case, I would tell you to consider the Go or Windows Mixed Reality tethered headsets, that are often discounted at ridiculous prices (like $200 for Lenovo or Acer headsets). Consider that WMR have the advantage that you can develop on a PC, that is much easier than developing for a standalone;
  • You believe in the Oculus Store platform and so want to target the Go with your products;
  • You are intrigued by VR and want a device that lets you try what it is without hassles;
  • You want to try VR, but you have very little technical knowledge;
  • You had this idea of buying a Gear VR: in that case, buy a Go: it is much better and most probably will substitute it on the long run;
  • You want just to immerse in VR once in a while and spend your time with casual gaming, social experiences, and 360 videos.

Don’t buy the Go, instead, if for you the more features the better.

See the full review here: https://skarredghost.com/2018/06/08/oculus-go-review-should-you-buy-it/

12Jun/18Off

Anne Frank House museum unveils virtual reality tour

920x920The Amsterdam museum dedicated to Anne Frank's life launched a virtual reality tour of the cramped quarters where the Jewish diarist and her family hid from Nazis during World War II, marking what would have been her 89th birthday Tuesday.

The Anne Frank House said the 25-minute tour means people won't have to visit the museum to see the annex where the Franks and four other Jews hid from July 1942 until they were discovered in August 1944 and deported to concentration camps.

See the full story here; https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Anne-Frank-House-museum-unveils-virtual-reality-12987208.php

12Jun/18Off

All 64 World Cup Games Will Be Seen On Virtual Reality For First Time Ever On Telemundo App

https---blogs-images.forbes.com-veronicavillafane-files-2018-06-Telemundo-Deportes-VR.jpgFor the first time ever, fans will be able to experience watching all 64 games via a virtual VIP suite through a super-wide angle feed and feel as if they are at the stadium in Russia. Two additional camera angles will provide a “closer look” at each game.

The virtual reality experience will be available live during the game. Telemundo will then curate key moments for later VR viewing. Of course, fans will have to get VR headgear to take it all in.

See the full story here:

12Jun/18Off

The state of virtual and augmented reality: Industry sees new reasons for hope amid the hype

Screen-Shot-2018-06-09-at-9.08.44-PM-1260x707Nice summary survey article

See the full story here: https://www.geekwire.com/2018/state-virtual-augmented-reality-industry-sees-new-reasons-hope-amid-hype/