The only VR metric that matters

Raise your hand if you have a family member who uses VR every day. (article on AWN)

The only VR metric that matters

Mixed reality takes off in the Middle Kingdom

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Rick Garson is a unique figure in entertainment. A colorful, controversial executive and entrepreneur, Rick’s range of experience includes promoting Michael Jackson’s “Bad” tour as well as creating and producing the Billboard Music Awards. He career has also been defined by innovation such as his development and promotion of the Rolling Stones’ “Steel Wheels” pay-per-view music special, the first of its kind.

Rick first hit China’s radar in 2008, when he produced the Beijing Olympics’ “Divas in Beijing” concert TV series. Since then, he’s had his hands dirtied and his nose bloodied in the rough-and-tumble world of Chinese events and entertainment. Rather than turn tail and go home, Rick doubled-down and moved to China in 2013.

He’s now breaking new ground in mixed reality with his latest venture, VX Entertainment. VX Entertainment provides world-class content for the immersive media era, and features what may be the first high-end mixed reality showroom (at least the first of its kind in China) combining projection technology, virtual reality and holography.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Rick in his Beijing studio, experience VX Entertainment’s mixed reality showroom for myself (one word review: awesome) and ask some questions about where he is and where he’s…(full post on AWN)

Mixed reality takes off in the Middle Kingdom

SIGGRAPH Asia Macau musings

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Early last month in the gambling haven of Macau, I attended a SIGGRAPH conference for the first time in a long time. My initial SIGGRAPH experience as a student volunteer in 1993 was eye opening, and I was a regular attendee and occasional speaker for the next 15 years – including the very first SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore, 2008. As an outsourced event, SIGGRAPH Asia has always been a distant relative to “SIGGRAPH SIGGRAPH” (as many folks comparatively refer to the “real” conference), but the initial offerings in Singapore and Yokohama were respectable.

Cut to today. Scarfing down a plate of Doritos at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2016 opening reception is a far cry from doing shots off the back of an SGI Onyx at the Nixon Library in the heady days of 1993 (though perhaps an appropriate analogy for the austerity arc of the graphics industry over the past two decades). Twenty years ago, there was a palpable sense that “anything is possible,” even though much still was not. Now – at a time when anything essentially is possible – we seem to be holding back. These days, CGI is like Doritos: tasty but predictable. And the VR game-changer has yet to emerge.

I attended all four days of the SIGGRAPH Asia conference and decided to distill my notes into three key observations (I’m a big fan of The Rule of Three). The following takeaways are… (full post on AWN)

SIGGRAPH Asia Macau musings

The art of indirection

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The following is a transcript of my presentation on VR storytelling principles, “The Art of Indirection”, delivered on December 1st at the 7th International Conference & Exhibition on Visual Entertainment in Beijing.

I’m here to talk about the development portion of the entertainment workflow, specifically related to virtual reality. My own background focused upon production during the first half of my career, the 12 years I spent with Walt Disney Feature Animation. After moving to China in 2008, I shifted my focus to development. This development work began in traditional areas of film and television – which I have taught here at the Beijing Film Academy – and shifted to virtual reality over the past year.

Virtual reality requires a different way of thinking. I believe you’ve heard this already. There have been great comments made today on this point, not restricted to virtual reality, but related to any new means of storytelling. When Demetri Portelli talked about shooting at 120 frames per second in 4k, he said something obvious, but also easily overlooked: the director needs to think differently about how to direct; the actors need to think differently about how to act; everybody involved in the production chain needs to review their assumptions, to adapt and expand upon what’s possible in the new media environment. This applies to VR as well. It’s easy to bring your preconceptions and old ways of working into play. In this respect – and I’m not the first person to make this observation – the current state of virtual reality is very much like the early days of… (full post on AWN)

The art of indirection

“Future Trends In Stereoscopic Filmmaking & Virtual Reality” forum in Beijing

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The Beijing Film Academy, China Animation Association, and the International Animation & Virtual Reality Research Center present a forum on

FUTURE TRENDS IN STEREOSCOPIC FILMMAKING & VIRTUAL REALITY

December 12th & 13th, 2015 in Beijing, China

The creator’s toolbox has never been more powerful than it is today, with rapid advances in digital, stereoscopic & virtual reality technology, and compelling content options.  Yet challenges and questions abound on the cusp of this new entertainment era.  What will the content of tomorrow look like?  How will it be distributed?  Can virtual reality go mainstream?  What hurdles still exist?  How must directors and producers adapt for immersive media?  What does the future hold?

The mission of the Beijing Film Academy’s International Animation & Virtual Reality Research Center (iAVRrc) is to advance the art of animated and cinematic storytelling in China.  Through events such as “Future Trends In Stereoscopic Filmmaking & Virtual Reality”, we provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, approaches & techniques between international experts and Chinese talent.  Over the course of two days, this forum will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions and roundtable sessions on topics including content, distribution, hardware and business models.

To facilitate personal, high-quality interactions at “Future Trends In Stereoscopic Filmmaking & Virtual Reality”, the iAVRrc will invite a select group of 40 distinguished professionals from mainland China and overseas, including creators, engineers, entrepreneurs and educators: all of whom share a passion for the future of emergent immersive media.

Kevin Geiger
Executive Director
International Animation & Virtual Reality Research Center

“Future Trends In Stereoscopic Filmmaking & Virtual Reality” forum in Beijing