virtual reality

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 Event, ‘VR for Producers’ Features Verizon envrmnt, Littlstar, and Associated Press at NYU Data Futures Lab

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The first VR/AR Association New York Chapter event of 2017, ‘Virtual Reality for Producers: How to Create and Deliver for the New Content Frontier,’ took place last Wednesday night, February 15th, at the NYU Data Futures Lab, and it delivered not only a full standing-room-only crowd of 95 people, but some of New York’s finest producers working the VR scene.

You can watch the video of the event at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B58D21m9dOMOdFJJSGE1UWMzVzA

Kris Kolo, New York chapter head of the VR/AR Association, introduces the goals and benefits of the organization

As more New York producers learn the craft of producing in VR, the industry will grow concomitantly. Wednesday’s session was an ideal session for learnings from the likes of Paul Cheung, direct of interactive at Associated Press (AP); Alissa Crevier, global head of partnerships, at Littlstar, and Christian Egeler, director of VR/AR product development with Verizon envrmnt.

Chris Pfaff introduces the speakers and sets up the event

Paul Cheung guided the audience through his learnings with the almost dozen VR cameras that he and his team have tested. He discussed some of the work that AP has done with branded content partners, and how to adapt the standards of the AP (an organization that literally developed the journalistic standards known as “AP Style” over the past 180-plus years) to VR production. In other words, while shooting a scene, do you keep the DP and/or the producer in the shot, or matte that out? For AP, that choice is obvious: leave the production team in the frame. Cheung described some of the learnings in VR as they apply to the overall production work that his interactive has to deal with, enabling a smoother workflow scenario.

Paul Cheung discusses the range of VR cameras that AP has tested and and used

For Alissa Crevier, Littlstar’s work has grown to the point where the company is as much a platform for content as it is a stand-alone producer of VR content. This has created a new kind of channel for VR partners, and the Littlstar roster of clients includes the who’s who of major content distributors, including Disney/ABC, Discovery, Nat Geo, Showtime, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. Crevier’s experience with Spotify, and the music industry in general, have helped her navigate clearances and understand the vagaries of the live music scene, and live streaming, to understand the value of WebVR versus individual VR platforms, such as Oculus, Gear, or Vive, among others.

Alissa Crevier presents Littlstar’s productions and its content platform model

Christian Egeler took the audience through the Verizon envrmnt learnings, and how they have applied to the studio’s growth in areas that include their Social VR platform. The envrmnt cross-platform SDK has gained traction in the industry, including with the March, 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, which includes an AR app, a native app, and integrated envrmnt SDK so that trigger images are easier to recognize. Egeler also showed an Alpine Village demo with dynamic updates (first showed at the Amazon Web Services Invent and Nvidia conferences). He hinted at the possibility that envrmnt might release a “build your own” 3D engine later this year. A VR experience produced for Super Bowl LI was also demonstrated.

Christian Egeler shares learnings from Verizon envrmnt’s studio work, and showcases new work, including its Social VR platform

The audience, mostly comprised of producers, was intrigued by the experiences that the three presenters had. The lively panel discussion dove into issues surrounding the growth of an industry that still has yet to standardize areas of production and post-production, as well as the growth of WebVR, in the wake of a still-early headset market.

Paul Cheung during the panel discussion

Mina Salib (right, speaking), program manager at the NYU Futures Labs, introduces the audience to new opportunities at the Labs

Paul Cheung (rear of photo, against window), and Alissa Crevier (right front), address audience questions after the ‘VR for Producers’ event

 

Producers Guild of America New Media Council East event, ‘Virtual Reality for Producers: Through the Looking Glass,’ gathers the VR creative tribes at The New School

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The power of virtual reality (VR) platforms is now fully realized in the explosion of creative content that is being delivered to headsets, PCs and smartphones every day.

 

The producers who are delivering new experiences for VR comprise a profile that is part-pioneer, part inventor, and all storyteller. This encapsulates the panel that was convened at The New School’s Lang Auditorium on Tuesday, February 9th, as part of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) New Media Council (NMC) East salon series.

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datavized’s Caitlin Burns and Deborah Anderson prepare demos for attendees

 

With the recent introduction of the $99.00 Samsung Gear VR headset, the announcement of the Oculus Rift CV-1 headset, and the innovative apps that are powered by low-cost (as low as $10) VR glasses and Google Cardboard, VR is creating a new market for production companies. With customized camera rigs, stereoscopic lenses, and streaming applications, producers are creating new experiences for brands (Tommy Hilfiger); news organizations (Associated Press, CNN, The New York Times), and media companies (HBO; 21st Century FOX, NBA), as audiences prepare to dive into content in ways not felt, or seen, before.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) estimates that 1.2 million VR headsets will be sold in the US in 2016, and estimates that, by 2020, the overall VR market will be somewhere between $50-150 billion. As VR content moves onto mobile devices and cost-effective headsets at an increasing pace, producers will be in greater demand for new forms of immersive storytelling.

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Dennis Adamo (right), COO of daydream.io, demos his virtualizer platform for an attendee

 

Produced and moderated by Chris Pfaff, one of the founders of the PGA New Media Council, and a former national delegate to the PGA NMC board; former delegate to the PGA National Board of Directors, and head of consultancy Chris Pfaff Tech Media LLC, the panel featured Caitlin Burns, COO of datavized, a VR production company that has developed new forms of WebVR content; Shazna Nessa, director of journalism for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Marco Ricci, director of EdgeDNA, and Dennis Adamo, COO of daydream.io.

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Chris Pfaff welcomes the audience at the PGA New Media Council ‘Virtual Reality for Producers’ event at The New School

 

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Marco Ricci, director with EdgeDNA, prior to the event

The event featured a packed house of more than 180 people, mostly PGA members and guests, as well as many stalwarts of the New York 3D, VR, and immersive industry. Demos were provided for the audience, pre-show, by datavized and daydream.io.

PGA VR Event at New School, Bill Platt Photo, 02.09.16

Chris Pfaff leads discussion on the VR industry

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Marco Ricci, from EdgeDNA, presents

 

Caitlin Burns discussed the need for VR workflow and post-production protocols for VR, detailing how difficult it is to pull frames to conform to Samsung Gear VR headsets. Together with Prime Focus Technologies, she and her team have created what is one of the first VR post-production workflows in the industry.

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Caitlin Burns, from datavized, presents

Dennis Adamo showcased daydream.io’s virtualizer technology, which renders individual user’s smartphones as VR engines for their own content.

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Dennis Adamo, from daydream.io, presents

 

Marco Ricci gave what amounted to a tutorial on how to prepare for VR shoots, and what to expect from VR clients. The proverbial “I want the world…for $5,000” conundrum was discussed amongst the panelists.

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Shazna Nessa, from the Knight Foundation, presents

 

Shazna Nessa gave an in-depth look at how journalists are using VR, with an overview of how the Knight Foundation has nurtured storytelling from outlets that include the Des Moines Register, among others.

 

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Marco Ricci during the Q&A session

The Q&A session, always a staple of PGA NMC East events, included questions regarding the challenge of overcoming user nausea with VR; the New York State Start-Up New York program (from which daydream.io has benfitted), and the growth of New York VR production.

 

The number of attendees who represent VR production companies, or are working on VR projects, comprised at least half of the audience. With the vast majority of media buyers; agencies; brands, and media outlets in New York, VR should reflect a New York attitude, if it doesn’t already.