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Festival Fervor: This Week’s VR/AR News

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Will Destination VR Help or Hurt the Medium?
TVREV — Cortney Harding

VR has been branded as a special occasion experience as opposed to something you do every day. Sure, plenty of other mediums started out that way, most notably movies and games. But it took a very long time for both to become in-home activities.

Virtual Reality, Apps Add Interactivity to Music Videos
Fox Business — Kristin M. Hall

More musicians are using new technology, including 360-degree cameras, virtual reality musical experiences and vertical videos, to reach the smartphone generation of music fans who are discovering new music on their phones and tablets. Pop singer Ingrid Michaelson made a music video using only Snapchat filters and the electronic band Gorillaz released a six-minute VR music video that was the most successful VR video debut on YouTube with over 3 million views in 48 hours.

HP Moves Into VR and AR with Investment in Venture Reality Fund
VentureBeat — Dean Takahashi

HP has become an investor in The Venture Reality Fund.The VR Fund has invested in a number of early-stage startups developing infrastructure, tools, platforms, content, and apps for the mixed reality ecosystem.

Visual Effects Powerhouse Digital Domain’s New App Aggregates VR Content–No Matter Who Made It
Fast Company — Daniel Terdiman

Digital Domain, a leading visual effects house, announced an app that aggregates VR content that it’s created itself, as well as created by others.

A Devastating Holocaust Documentary Proves VR Filmmaking Isn’t Just a Gimmick
Gizmodo — Christina Warren

The Last Goodbye, a Holocaust documentary which debuted at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, got VR film-making right. Still, distribution challenges persist preventing the medium from becoming more mainstream.

How Live Theater Could Reinvent Itself With Virtual Reality
Vocative — Alejandro Alba

Virtual reality experiences usually consist of short films and gaming that transport us to crazy worlds, but London’s National Theater is reinventing the narrative by combining a live-action actors’ performances with 3-D animation.

The Best Virtual Reality From The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival
The Verge — Adi Robertson

The Tribeca Film Institute has developed a full-fledged interactive art section known as Tribeca Immersive, where all but one of this year’s 30 experiences involve virtual reality.

NAB: Consumer-Ready Holograms Move Closer to Reality
The Hollywood Reporter — Carolyn Giardina

Light Field Labs is currently fabricating a small 3×5-inch prototype, which he said would resemble a flat-screen display but if you look at it, the hologram would appear in the space in front of the technology. He hopes to show this prototype in early 2018. By mid-2018, Light Field Lab hopes to be accepting orders for development kits, which it wants to make available to content creators and other partners in early 2019.

NAB 2017: Broadcasters Urged to Give VR a Whirl
Multichannel News — Jeff Baumgartner

Nicholas Whitaker, training and development manager at the Google News Lab, recommended execs at NAB “to start experimenting now” despite some of the questions that are swirling around emerging VR platforms, including the underlying business models.

AT&T’s AdWorks Unveils Media Lab, Touts Cross-Screen Addressable Advertising
MediaPost —  Tobi Elkin

AT&T’s AdWorks unit unveiled its Media Lab, packed with interactive technology demos including connected TV, smart home appliances, and a virtual reality experience. Located at Rockefeller Center in New York, Media Lab is a place to bring clients and partners to demonstrate how consumers are diving into cross-screen experiences and the advanced targeting capabilities addressable TV, among other ad technologies, can offer.

Why Beauty Brands Are Betting on Augmented Reality
Econsultancy — Nikki Gilliland

Sephora is the latest brand to introduce AR into its app, with its ‘Virtual Artist’ feature allowing users to ‘try on’ different looks by overlaying make-up onto photos. A tutorials feature also demonstrates exactly how to achieve specific looks.

Take a Trip Inside Coachella’s Psychedelic 120-Foot VR Dome
Wired — Charley Locke

After each eight-minute showing, a camera in the center of the dome calibrates the projector feeds, adjusting the sequences as needed to create the blends. Using a camera to automatically calibrate means they can adjust based on minute changes to the shape of the dome.

How Adobe Wants to Turn Flat 360-Degree Videos Into True Virtual Reality
Variety — Janko Roettgers

Adobe’s head of research Gavin Miller is going to present new cutting-edge technology at NAB in Las Vegas this Tuesday that could one day be used to turn flat, monoscopic 360-degree videos shot with consumer-grade spherical cameras into fully immersive VR video, complete with the ability to lean into the video.

VR headsets are Putting the ‘Real’ in Real Estate
New York Post — Lois Weiss

Startup VirtualAPT has used its unique camera and proprietary software to create videos and 360-degree tours for brokerages Stribling and Forest City to show off residential apartments. Eastern Consolidated has also used its technique for retail spaces.

How VR can Crack Open Movies and Video Games — For The Better
CNET — David Priest

The immersion related to player experience combined with the input of their decisions makes VR fundamentally different from the movies and games that have come before it. These features allow for increasingly complex storytelling with the depth for multiple play-throughs.

Apple Hires NASA AR Guru to Help Run Its Own Efforts
Bloomberg — Mark Gurman

Jeff Norris joined Apple earlier this year as a senior manager on the company’s augmented reality team. Norris founded the Mission Operations Innovation Office of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, where he led efforts to create new ways to control spacecraft and robots in space with virtual and augmented reality.

Digital Domain Reveals New Solutions For VR Broadcasting And Publishing
UploadVR — Charles Singletary

Including a new spherical camera, new production tools, and a cloud-based distribution system, Digital Domain is aggressively tackling virtual broadcasting with a new suite of hardware and software.

Mark Zuckerberg Wants to Kill the Smartphone so Facebook can Control What Comes Next
Business Insider — Alex Heath

As Google and Apple make most of the mobile phones used to access Facebook, moving into VR/AR is an opportunity for Facebook to create its own line of hardware products and thusly have more control over the experience it provides its users.

Augmented Reality: The Disappointment is Real
USA Today — Bob O’Donnell

The problem is that the acceptable bar for what can, or should, be considered augmented reality is dropping quickly. Lately, it seems almost anything that puts silly images over pictures or video is now being (unrightfully) elevated to the status of augmented reality. Because of that, I’m concerned that the real value or impact of the technology is going to fade, leading to a level of disappointment that could set the market back for some time.

The Reality of M&A for Augmented and Virtual Reality
VentureBeat — Tim Merel

Digi-Capital’s Augmented/Virtual Reality Report Q1 2017 tracked $1.5 billion investments in the last 12 months to Q1 2017, there was only $600 million of M&As in the same period. That dynamic of investments outstripping M&As is typical of early stage tech markets, when deal-making is all about investment for growth rather than consolidation for dominance or cost.

Infographic: What Consumers Really Think About VR
Adweek — Emma Bazilian

Many consumers are holding off buying a VR headset in the belief that prices will drop, devices will improve, and the overall proposition will be better. Some consumers also seem to perceive difficulty in finding content or are unaware of what is available.

Developers See Endless Possibilities and Pitfalls With Social VR After Testing Facebook Spaces
Adweek —  Marty Swant

At F8, Facebook gave a detailed glimpse of Facebook Spaces, the company’s first social VR platform. The software—still in beta but now available to anyone with a Facebook account and an Oculus Rift headset—brings users far beyond the news feed and into a world that at times feels like a cartoon and at others like a pixelated documentary.

Oculus Taps ‘USA Today’ For VR Experience
MediaPost — Erik Sass

USA Today used Facebook’s VR platform to create an immersive tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, which the newspaper showcased at the F8 developer conference this week.

StartApp Intros VR Mobile Marketing Tool
Mobile World Live — Saleha Riaz

StartApp launched a virtual reality (VR) service for mobile marketers to create immersive experiences and ensure their brand is visible in VR apps and content. The system covers design and distribution, as well as providing analytics needed to track VR metrics.

Live OTT Viewing Expected to Eclipse Broadcast TV in Five Years: Survey
Multichannel News — Jeff Baumgartner

Viewing hours of live OTT video is expected to overtake traditional broadcast TV, according to hundreds of industry pros who participated in a survey/study by Level 3 Communications, Streaming Media and Unisphere Research. Nearly 70% believe that OTT will cross the threshold no later than 2022.

SpotX Partners With OmniVirt to Bring Scale to 360° VR Advertising

SpotX and OmniVirt announced their partnership in powering 360° virtual reality (VR) advertising for brands. This partnership will bring OmniVirt’s 360° VR technology across all media owners on SpotX’s platform, giving marketers the ability to distribute their 360° VR content at scale.

Nokia Updates VR Ecosystem, Enables Mixed Reality For Advertising

Nokia has announced the launch of OZO Reality – an updated set of technologies for supporting the delivery, creation and end user experience of VR content. Nokia is hoping to propel uptake of its OZO camera, a $40,000 piece of kit with eight sensors and eight microphones, by bundling in its updated software packages to provide producers with a tempting all-round tool set.

Sony’s Crackle Greenlights Shows From 50 Cent, Smosh’s Ian Hecox; Renews ‘Snatch,’ ‘SuperMansion’
Variety — Todd Spangler

“Snatch” Season 2: Heist-comedy series loosely based on the 2000 movie of the same name will return for a second season in 2018. In addition, Crackle announced plans to release a “Snatch” virtual-reality experience on PlayStation VR this summer.


Each week, we bring you the most relevant stories covering the business of virtual and augmented reality, which we produce with our partner Vertebrae, the native ad platform for VR/AR.