It’s still very early days for virtual reality (VR) and the breathless predictions for its disruptive impact on everything from filmed entertainment to journalism need reining in. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to expect that VR will not repeat the failure
of stereo 3D.
JPMorgan Securities forecasts VR to be a $13.5 billion industry by 2020 mainly comprised of hardware sales topping 89.3 million units. Sales of consumer gear will only rocket if there’s content to watch but here too production seems to be growing at an astonishing pace.
IBC has made VR a conference theme reflecting its rapidly emerging impact on many points of media and entertainment.
Get yourself a primer with ‘VR and AR 101: The Masterclass’ (9 September, 16:00) as Solomon Rogers, founder and CEO of Rewind, takes a practical look at VR technology and how it can be used to produce content.
Broadcasters have spent the year road testing VR on everything from documentaries to talk shows with most of the development focused on live event broadcasts around
music and sports.
‘From TV to VR: A journey’ (9 September, 09:30) is Alex Mahon’s personal take. The ex-CEO of Shine Group and now CEO of technical boffins The Foundry, explains how traditional TV might move into the new world of VR
and special effects.
‘The Art and Technology of VR Storytelling’ (10 September, 11:45) is part of the IBC Big Screen Experience and examines the new medium from a creative standpoint asking how directors might guide a viewer through a scripted story and whether VR can be used to effectively create a cinematic experience? This will be followed by a lively discussion explaining the new cinematic vocabulary now being experimented with.
This idea of new visual and audio grammar is explored in depth in a Paper session led by Simon Gauntlett, CTO of the DTG. ‘Exploring New Ideas in VR & 360º Immersive Media’ (10 September, 10:45) tackles issues like how we might create an environment for live 360-video distribution and how can mixed reality AR/VR and plain vanilla 2D HD TV be broadcast?
There are those who think VR is a great way for sponsors and content owners to reach the TV-marginalised millennials. A Rising Stars session ‘Virtual Reality: The new reality’ (10 September, 15:00) features expert commentary from Alexandre Jenny, senior director of Immersive
Media Solutions, GoPro and Michael Ford, a 360VR producer at Infinite Wisdom Studios. For a look into the future of VR and a possible technology solution to the problem of stitching multiple images together without parrallax issues, then take a look at light field, in particular a new set of light field cameras being brought to market by Lytro.
The company’s head of light field video, Jon Karafin poses the question: ‘Light Field Cameras: Technology that is indistinguishable from magic?’ (10 September, 09:30) and it’s up to you to answer.