Thanks to Chris Colman and the folks at PIG China for the opportunity to further expound on China’s virtual reality industry. This interview was given last December, following my presentation on “The Art of Indirection” at the 7th International Conference & Exhibition on Visual Entertainment in Beijing.
Thanks to Toony Wu and the talented team at Jelly Monster in Beijing for hosting an iAVRrc salon yesterday afternoon, featuring my presentation on “The Art of Indirection”, and a few words from Nokia’s Jill Smolin on the creative potential of the OZO virtual reality camera.
The title may be a tad hyperbolic, but thanks to the folks at the MIT Technology Review for the piece on my VR activities in China…
The Beijing Film Academy has joined the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA), with International Animation & Virtual Reality Research Center Executive Director Kevin Geiger serving as the school’s IVRA council representative.
The IVRA was established by HTC and other leading enterprises and research institutes in the VR area, under the guidance of China’s Electronic Information Division of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The IVRA aims to enhance the development of the VR ecosystem by promoting technological innovation, formulating industrial standards and bridging hardware, software, content, platforms and industrial applications.
Mr. Geiger noted: “HTC and their partners, in cooperation with the Chinese government, has provided a great service to the VR ecosystem in the form of the IVRA. As China’s first and foremost film school, the Beijing Film Academy is proud to serve on the IVRA council and to contribute to the evolution of immersive media.”
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)
This afternoon I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote address on “The Impact of VR” at the 2016 Sina Future Media Summit in Beijing, streamed live with a residual real-time reporting log (in Mandarin) and related photos.
Welcome to the age of immersion.
I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: nobody wants to “use VR.” People want to be entertained, to shop, to assemble their furniture, to find a good place for dinner, to talk to their family, to create things. The technology is a means to an end. Transformative, perhaps, but a utility nonetheless. Fifteen years ago at Walt Disney Feature Animation, I was reminding our software engineers of this as we worked to develop tools for the traditional animators transitioning to CGI: “Nobody wants to use the computer for the sake of using a computer. People want to write, to draw, to animate, to edit. Our goal is to enable and evolve those activities.” Ironically, by reminding yourself that the technology is not the main event, you better position the technology to become ubiquitous.
VR hardware engineers and software developers must be mindful of this principle if they wish this third wave of VR endeavor to be the one that makes it over the wall. Aside from a vanguard of the few, most ordinary people don’t really care about VR, and… (full post on AWN)