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“On The Lot,” Hollywood’s Own VR Gathering, Joins the Augmented Reality Wave Too

On the Lot, the virtual-reality conference tied most closely to traditional Hollywood’s studios and visual-effects/post-production powerhouses, has announced its 2017 lineup for next month’s gathering, and this time, the conference is adding augmented reality to the show in a big way.

“We have long wanted to showcase AR professionals and their new technologies,” said Jim Chabin, who heads the show’s sponsoring organizations, the VR Society and the Advanced Imaging Society. “On The Lot allows us to bring them together with our VR leaders, along with the Hollywood creative community, and tap this collective genius to drive everyone’s success forward.”

On the Lot Conference VR ARThe show was called VR On The Lot last year, but has been slightly renamed to reflect the broader scope of the show.

It will run Oct. 13 and 14, with an entire track of AR showcases and discussions on the second day, a Saturday. The conference also will move to larger sound stages at The Lot (https://www.thelotstudios.com/about/), a recently updated studio facility at 1041 N. Formosa Ave, in West Hollywood, Calif., with ties to some of cinema’s early stars from nearly 100 years ago.

Beginning today, however, one of the newest entertainment platforms, augmented reality, kicks off in earnest, with the official release of Apple’s iOS 11 and its ARKit component, which provides the digital wiring that can power many kinds of AR apps. Within weeks, Apple also will  release powerful new iPhone models that are expected to provide a large and vigorous hardware platform for AR developers.

Further adding to the season’s AR hype, Google announced last month that it would soon  release its Android-based competitor ARCore. Facebook is pushing into AR for its 2 billion users, and Microsoft continues to push its closely related mixed-reality efforts. 

Among the featured speakers at this year’s On The Lot will be Robert Stromberg, winner of two Oscars for his art direction in Alice in Wonderland and Avatar. Other speakers include writer/director Jerry Zucker (Airplane!, The Naked Gun), Unity Technologies’ global head of VR/AR Tony Parisi, AMD Studios Roy Taylor and Dell’s Gary Radburn, among other speakers.   

The 2016 show on the Paramount Studios lot drew about 1,700 people from Hollywood media companies, hardware makers, visual-effects companies, videogame makers, VR creators and more.

Exhibitors this year will be considerably expanded, thanks to the AR track, and will include AMD, Barco, Create VR, Dell, Google, HP | Nvidia, Intel, Koncept VR, Legend, LOOT Interactive, Lytro, Positron, Sony Music, Technicolor, Time Inc., LIFE VR, Unity, Unreal Engine, VRC and DTS.

Unreal, which alongside Unity is one of the major video game graphics-engine companies, will premiere its The Giant: Michelangelo’s David in VR at the conference.

For tickets and more information, go to www.VRonthelot.com. The VR Society is offering several discounts, including for Oculus Connect attendees, members of all the entertainment industry guilds such as the WGA, DGA and PGA, as well as students and seniors. There’s a separate, cheaper ticket for just the AR Track as well.