augmented reality

‘Expert Storytelling in XR’ panel at the 2nd Annual VR/AR Global Summit in Vancouver, November 1-2, 2019

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The 2nd Annual VR/AR Global Summit at the Parq Vancouver, from November 1-2, 2019, featured some of the leading brands in the broader XR space, including Apple, Lenovo, Viacom, Niantic, and Microsoft, among others. A diverse array of use cases and new solutions for VR training were demonstrated throughout the event. The event, produced by the VR/AR Association, showcased a solid representation from local Vancouver firms, validating Vancouver’s status as the leading visual effects and animation cluster in the world, a growing presence in the broader XR arena.

I produced and moderated a packed house for the ‘Expert Storytelling in XR’ panel on Day 2 of the event, November 2nd, featuring Srinivas Krishna, founder/CEO, GeogramMichael Owen, CEO, MediaCombo, and Amy Lou Abernethy, President, Creative Director, and Chief Learning Strategist at AMP Creative. Srinivas showed off his latest technology for virtual event production and promotion; Michael showed off his work in AR museum curation, and Amy Lou showed off AMP Creative’s work in VR empathy training.

Michael Owens, Srinivas Krishna, Amy Lou Abernethy, and Chris Pfaff, after the ‘Expert Storytelling in XR’ panel, November 2, 2019

Chris Pfaff, Srinivas Krishna, Michael Owen, and Amy Lou Abernethy, at the opening reception for the VR/AR Global Summit, October 31, 2019

Kris Kolo, executive director of VRARA, Chris Pfaff, and Michael Owen, at the opening reception for the VR/AR Global Summit, October 31, 2019

Chris Pfaff, Alan Smithson, and Michael Owen, at the opening reception for the VR/AR Global Summit, October 31, 2019

Alan Smithson discusses MetaVRse’s latest ed-tech work, while Sophia Loren looks on

Galit Ariel and Chris Pfaff, after Galit’s presentation, November 1, 2019

Group shot of attendees at the Vancouver Economic Commission’s VIP Dinner, at the Hawksworth Restaurant, November 1, 2019

XR in Theatre: Immersing New Audiences – Leading XR Theatre Producers Discuss Their Work at Verizon 5G Lab – 11.06.19

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The past five years have seen groundbreaking production of theatre and opera that have integrated augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) – or, as the industry term refers to all types of immersive technology, XR – to develop new kinds of live and virtual experiences. The Welsh National Opera, in 2017, combined ‘The Magic Flute’ and ‘Madam Butterfly’ for ‘Magic Butterfly,’ an experience that used Google Daydream VR to demystify opera for audiences, in a new venue. Commonwealth Shakespeare Company produced ‘Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit’ in the past year, working with Google’s AR/VR Lens team to create five seven-minute acts in VR.

Yet, some of the boldest work in XR for theatre is not surprisingly being produced in New York. An event produced by Chris Pfaff, and sponsored by the VR AR Association New York Chapter and Verizon’s 5G Lab, on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 featured some of the leading practitioners of XR in the theatre world who discussed their work and and their platform and technology choices, as well as how to shape narratives for interactive audiences in real-time experiences. Demonstrations of their work, as well as a guest appearance from award-winning XR production firm Felix & Paul Studios, were held prior to and after the main event, which was held in Verizon’s 5G Lab at the Alley powered by Verizon.

The entire event can be viewed at: https://app.frame.io/reviews/b04524d9-ce10-4ab7-94ad-27de9de713dd/79b0c049-369f-47a5-8fab-fff2a4d487e3

Brandon Powers, producer/choreographer of ‘Frankenstein AI,’ a piece that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, and producer/choregrapher of ‘Queerskins,’ discussed how he worked with the Intel Studios volumetric studio to use his choreographic and immersive theater expertise to move ‘visitors’ through the virtual space. ‘Frankenstein AI,’ which expressed our AI inhabiting a human body to communicate with the audience, and ‘Queerskins’ demonstrate ways for theatre producers to create new work with volumetric capture. In ‘Frankenstein AI,’ the human dancer performed choreography, which was created using a new choreographic notation that Brandon invented. The choreography was manipulated by an AI in real-time based on how the audience responded to the AI’s prompted questions, prompting the dancer to alter her performance for a unique live experience. Brandon is also developing a new episode in the VR experience ‘Queerskins,’ which involves an interactive choreographed duet utilizing volumetric capture which will give a unique experience for each user.

Kiira Benzing, from Double Eye Studios, the renowned producer of ‘Loveseat,’ a VR theatre piece that was featured at the 2019 Venice Biennale, in which two lonely, ordinary people are drawn into a reality show competition to win the love of a Perfect Partner (who looks an awful lot like an empty chair). Part-story, part-interaction between virtual and real worlds; the performers intersect realities in this comedy. Performed simultaneously to virtual and real world audiences. Kiira also discussed her work on ‘Loveseat’ and her more recent work on ‘Runnin,’ which was shot at Intel Studios in Los Angeles. ‘Runnin’ is currently available through the Samsung Gear app through Oculus Quest. Her work in designing virtual worlds has led her to ask ‘what is a stage?’ and ‘what is an audience?’ when audience members are represented by virtual beings and avatars.

Maciej Wisniewski, 99 Center Opera founder, and producer and composer of ‘Edelweiss VR, Act 1,’ or EVR1, the first original VR opera experience, discussed and demonstrated his work in creating a music-driven narrative that enables viewers to unlock hidden aspects of the story. Maciej’s work includes blockchain for encrypted messages that will be retrieved by the players of the EVR1 game, to unlock content. The story of EVR1 takes viewers through an interactive VR story in five acts, based on a true World War II experience of his great-aunt escaping a prison in Poland and becoming a Resistance fighter. Maciej’s work involves breathing light and texture into scenes based on music.

David Rodriguez, founder of Zanni, the first Audience Experience Design Studio, demonstrated the firm’s XR tools, Ovees™ and Zanni™ AXD, for both immersive audiences and theatre producers. David’s work with the Metropolitan Opera led him to consider how opera, and theatre, could evolve through VR and AR tools for both audience participation and narrative extensions, as well as how to enable immersive workflows for theatre/opera producers. Ovees is an XR take on stereoscopic opera glasses – and Zanni AXD – a mixed reality design tool that creates space to view stage production elements, reducing design process time and enhancing stage experience planning for design teams. Zanni is a new company, and the event marked the public debut of Zanni.

The panel discussion delved into how traditional theatre producers, directors, lighting designers, choreographers, and actors themselves are moving to expand the medium through immersive technologies. The group discussion yielded the overarching understanding of theatre being gamified and moved into a new genre altogether. The panelists discussed how technologies are rapidly evolving to meet demands for creative decisions. Kiira Benzing discussed how difficult it was to mount ‘Love Seat’ in Venice, with a massive point cloud that could, at any time, crash. The shared experience of theatre, in a live setting, pushes the boundaries of technical production for real-time communal energy.

Chris Pfaff welcomes the audience at ‘XR in Theatre: Immersing New Audiences’ at the Verizon 5G Lab, 11.06.19

Chris Pfaff, Mikael Chagnon, from Felix & Paul Studios, and Brandon Powers

Maciej Wisniewski (foreground) and Kris Ramanathan (rear) showcase their EVR1 musical interactive VR piece

Brandon Powers discusses his immersive choreographic work on ‘Queerskins’ and ‘Frankenstein AI’

Kiira Benzing discusses ‘Runnin’ and ‘Love Seat,’ her interactive VR theatre pieces, and her work with Intel Studios

Maciej Wisniewski, from 99 Cent Opera, discusses his use of blockchain to unlock content in the interactive VR musical narrative

David Rodriguez, from Zanni, discusses his use of immersive tools for theatre and opera

The Q&A session for ‘XR in Theatre: Immersing New Audiences’ 

The 100+ audience at ‘XR in Theatre: Immersing Audiences,’ at the Verizon 5G Lab in New York, 11.06.19

David Rodriguez; Brandon Powers; Chris Pfaff; Kiira Benzing, and Maciej Wisniewski, after the ‘XR in Theatre’ panel

VR/AR Association New York chapter members Chris Pfaff, Cindy Mallory, Michael Owen, and chapter president Gordon Meyer

Maciej Wisniewski, Linda Aro, and Kris Ramanathan before the ‘XR in Theatre: Immersing New Audiences’ event

Kiira Benzing, Chris Pfaff, David Rodriguez, and Brandon Powers before the ‘XR in Theatre: Immersing New Audiences’ event

VR/AR Association New York chapter member Chris Pfaff, chapter president Gordon Meyer, and member Gordon Yee before the event

 

 

 

Chris Pfaff and (VR/AR) Friends at Wharton Club New York – ‘Producing the Future’ – March 26, 2019

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Thanks to the inimitable Ben Weintraub, from Merit Software, I produced events on VR and AR producing at Temple Emanu-el and the Wharton Club in New York in December, 2018, and March, 2019, respectively. Both sessions were sponsored by the VR/AR Association’s New York chapter, of which I am an advisor, and current co-chair of the Storytelling Committee.

Michael Owen, CEO of MediaCombo, and Dex Smither, director of Verizon envrmnt, presented at Temple Emanu-el on December 16, 2018, and joined me again, along with Cortney Harding, CEO of Friends with Hologram, at Wharton Club New York, on March 26, 2019. The events, ‘Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Producing the Future,’ discussed various use cases regarding immersive experiences for brands, public institutions, and for the emerging 5G ecosystem, which Dex Smither explained flawlessly.

Many thanks to Richard Abeeku Mills-Robertson, from Greenberg Traurig, for hosting the Wharton Club New York event.

Ben Weintraub (seated) gets virtualized while (left to right) Chris Pfaff, Dex Yee, Michael Owen, and Dex Smither watch, after the ‘Producing the Future’ event at Temple Emanu-El

Chris Pfaff welcomes the audience at Temple Emanu-El, for the ‘Producing the Future’ event, 12.16.18

Chris Pfaff, Dex Smither, and Michael Owen, setting up for the ‘Producing the Future’ event at Temple Emanu-El, 12.16.18

Michael Owen demonstrates MediaCombo’s AR installation at the Morgan Library, at the ‘Producing the Future’ event at Temple Emanu-El, 12.16.18

Dex Smither discusses 5G, and its significance in the streaming AR and VR ecosystem, at the ‘Producing the Future’ event at Temple Emanu-El, 12.16.18

Dex Smither answers a question from the audience at the ‘Producing the Future’ event at Temple Emanu-El, 12.16.18

Dex Smither discusses Verizon envrmnt’s work at the ‘Producing the Future’ event at Wharton Club NY, at Greenberg Traurig, 03.26.19

Michael Owen, Dex Smither, Richard Abeeku Mills-Robertson, Chris Pfaff, and Cortney Harding, after the ‘Producing the Future’ event at the Wharton Club NY, at Greenberg Traurig, 03.26.19

Chris Pfaff, Ben Weintraub, and a guest at the Wharton Club NY event, ‘Producing the Future,’ at Greenberg Traurig, 03.26.19

 

VR/AR Association New York Chapter Celebrates 3 Years at RLAB

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The third anniversary of the VR/AR Association (VRARA) New York chapter was a positive snapshot on the growth of the immersive/XR industry in the greater New York area in the past few years. The event was hosted on Tuesday evening, May 21st, at RLAB (https://www.rlab.nyc), the massive space that NYU and its academic and City of New York partners opened in late-November, 2018. RLAB hosts several companies, including members of its XR Beta program, and is being built out as a larger facility for immersive innovation, including volumetric capture space.

Dex Yee (left), from VRARA, watches as Jason T. Jaslow signs in the VRARA NY 3rd anniversary

Chris Pfaff, VRARA NY Chaper advisor, welcomes the crowd at RLAB

As VRARA has grown globally, so too has its New York chapter, and this mirrors the broader focus on the XR industry in New York, which embraces enterprise and consumer firms alike.

Banu Ozden in discussion with Janice Brown, manager, education and outreach at RLAB

Robin White Owen and Michael Owen, the first XR couple of Brooklyn, at Rlab

Unseen Media demos its soon-to-be-released narrative AR game

Gur Arie Bittan, from Mantis Vision, demos for Banu Ozden and Jeffrey Ginsberg

More than 50 guests attended the mixer event, which featured demos from XR Beta companies, as well as Mantis Vision (http://mantis-vision.com), and remarks by RLAB’s Alexis Seeley and VRARA New York chapter advisor Chris Pfaff. And, of course, numerous demos of mobile AR experiences were shown by VRARA members as well.

Robin White Owen and Michael Owen listen to Tim Meyer, from IBM’s IoT group

Alexis Seeley, director of education and opportunity programs at Rlab, welcomes the crowd

Mantis Vision’s mo-cap installation, and some of its forthcoming collaboration tools, were a major hit at the event. Unseen Media ((https://www.unseenmedia.io), a narrative AR game developer, demonstrated its soon-to-be-released game, while echoAR (https://www.echoar.xyz), and AR-focused CMS and CDN provider, and SIY (Speak it Yourself – https://www.siyvr.com), a VR-based language instruction firm, demonstrated their solutions as well.

Chris Pfaff and Gordon Meyer, one of the Top 5 AR influencers in the industry

Chris Pfaff and Kate Specter, from Toonpack, at Rlab

Alexis Seeley and Janice Brown, with Rlab, prior to the VRARA event

 

VR/AR Association Brings ‘AR for Producers’ to The Alley in Manhattan

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Some of New York’s leading AR technology developers attracted a crowd at The Alley, Verizon’s 5G collaborative lab and work space in Chelsea last Tuesday, May 8th, at an event sponsored by the VR/AR Association’s New York chapter. ‘AR for Producers: How to Engage Audiences on Multiple Platforms’ was well-titled, as most of the audience was comprised of new media and television producers who are looking at AR for a wide range of production elements, including fan engagement, 2nd-screen extensions, and location-based entertainment.

 

JR Dawkins welcomes the crowd to The Alley     Michael and Serge Doudy provide an overview of the VR/AR Association

Eric Schwertzel, head of business development for eyecandylab’s US presence, demonstrated the AugmenTV concept, in which TV content triggers experiences on mobile using an AR app. This is a long sought-after play, and should have traction in sports as well as episodic TV.

Eric Schwertzel discusses AugmentTV

Gordon Meyer, head of marketing for Lampix, demonstrated the company’s projector-based AR solution, which is ideal for retail and public venue experiences.

Gordon Meyer presents the Lampix innovation

JR Dawkins, head of business development for Envrmnt by Verizon, showcased the Envrmnt AR Designer tool, the industry’s first true drag-and-drop AR tool. The simplicity of the tool enables anyone – with no coding experience – to create AR triggers on physical objects, and more.

JR Dawkins presents AR Designer      Ryan Hilla assists with AR Designer demo

Far beyond what previous generations of AR solutions have provided, the presenters discussed the value that 5G will bring to AR, enabling seamless, low-latency experiences with greater connectivity levels.

JR Dawkins, Gordon Meyer, and Eric Schwertzel discuss the AR industry

Chris Pfaff, JR Dawkins, Gordon Meyer, and Eric Schwertzel during the panel discussion at ‘AR for Producers’

For many in the audience, it was their first time in The Alley, which opened last spring, and has gained a following among the technorati of the city.

Lampix demo at ‘AR for Producers’

Chris Pfaff and Ally Perez, event coordinator for The Alley, powered by Verizon

Augmented Reality for Producers Event Packs the House at NYU Data Future Lab

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The latest augmented reality (AR) technology, and some of its leading producers, packed the house at the NYU Data Future Lab last night in SoHo, at Chris Pfaff’s ‘AR for Producers: Bending the Arc in Real Life’ event, presented with the VR/AR Association, New York Chapter. The event was held at the end of the first day of Advertising Week New York 2016, and brought together technologists and producers alike for demos and discussions regarding AR’s application to multiscreen content.

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Ariff Quli, chief commercial officer, Americas for Blippar answers a question at ‘AR for Producers’ at the NYU Data Future Lab

 

A full house of more than 75 people crowded into the Think Tank at the lab, and witnessed a presentation of Provision’s Holovision holographic display unit, which is used by several leading consumer brands. Ted Iannuzzi, creative business technologist with design and development firm Ixonos detailed the product’s significance in the context of his long history in emerging technologies. Ixonos is currently working with Provision to design the next generation of the Holovision experience, which will incorporate the first ‘touchless’ touch screen.

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Ted Iannuzzi, creative business technologist with Ixonos, demos the Provision Holovision holographic projection kiosk, and discusses past visions of AR

 

Blippar’s US director of commercial operations, Ariff Quli, led off the event, showing how the Blippar app drives interactive engagement for brands including Spotify (a playlist driven by Blippar from a Coca-Cola can) and others. Ariff even pulled an audience member aside to draw a picture, which was then rendered elegantly using Blippar’s recognition technology.

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Ariff Quli demos Blippar; activated Spotify playlist, tagging physical objects, and bringing audience member’s drawing to life (a butterly!)

Diego Florentin, head of business development for Montevideo, Uruguay-based Squadability, showed some of his company’s industry-leading AR work for brands, including the Harry Potter exhibit at Universal Studios. He made a passionate pitch for producers to drive more content with AR tags and hooks, to enable greater development.

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Diego Florentin, from Squadability, inspires the audience with demos of AR work for brands and media companies

Futurefly’s founder and chief product officer Ozz Hakkinen discussed his career as a successful game publisher, who wanted to move into game development, and how that spurred his latest work, the RAWR app, which applies contextual content hooks to an avatar-based experience that enables a new kind of chat.

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Ozz Hakkinen, founder and chief product officer of Futurefly, demos the RAWR app, with contextual emojis for avatar chat

Much discussion ensued regarding the coming of Magic Leap’s platform; head-up displays (HUDs), including Osterhout Digital Group’s glasses, and the incredible impact that Pokémon Go has made on the AR industry. Much discussion took place around the latest developments in AR from the likes of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

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Chris Pfaff, CEO of Chris Pfaff Tech Media LLC, and Ted Iannuzzi, before the event

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Paul Wilford (gesturing), research director at Bell Labs, talks about VR as a Service (VRaaS) before the event

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Mina Salib, manager of the NYU Data Future Lab, welcomes the audience