Monday’s TR-X Focuses on Virtual Reality
By Debra Kaufman
On Monday, February 20, 2017, the day before the official opening of the HPA Tech Retreat, a new half-day session dubbed HPA TR-X will delve into the life cycle of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Co-chairs Lucas Wilson, founder/executive producer of SuperSphereVR, and Marcie Jastrow, senior vice president of immersive media and head of the Technicolor Experience Center, collaborated to put together an event aimed at HPA attendees. “We want to encompass as many aspects of a commercial virtual reality production as possible, to make it relevant and useful,” says Wilson. “It’s an end-to-end day that will give attendees a quick but deep dive into the VR landscape.”
Virtual reality made a splash in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it was the arena of experimenters. Now, says Wilson, the major TV networks, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, MGM, Universal, Warner Bros. and Disney are all involved. “I think VR and AR are moving pretty rapidly out of a niche and into something that looks like it will be mainstream,” says Wilson. “As more and more facilities and post production professionals get involved, it’s a brand new area, with its own unique challenges. The time was right to bring the discussion to the HPA Tech Retreat attendees.”
Wilson says he and Jastrow reached out to industry leaders to create panels and presentations from those who are working in VR storytelling, live VR, audio, camera and other relevant areas. In addition to the day’s presentation, a demo room will allow attendees to see some of the VR rigs, cameras and other acquisition gear. Jaunt VR vice president of hardware Koji Gardiner, who is in charge of the team of engineers that build Jaunt’s cinematic VR cameras, will address challenges in developing high-performance imaging systems for virtual reality. “He has a deep base of knowledge of the technology of 360 acquisition,” says Wilson, who adds that Gardiner’s expertise includes a stint in camera design at Apple.
Another panel will focus on the business of virtual reality. “People have to know about monetization models,” says Wilson. “That’s the over-arching question: who’s paying for it and how will people make their money back.” Other speakers during the event include Ben Grossman, chief executive/co-founder at Magnopus, a “visual development and experience company,” and Jaunt VR senior manager of strategy and business development David Moretti.
Case studies will give attendees an opportunity to hear real-life stories of VR production and post. Among those presenting are RSA Films executive producer of branded content Jen Dennis and Subtractive chief executive/co-founder Kyle Schember, whose company does Dolby ATMOS VR audio. There will be a discussion on interactivity presented by The Mill, and Digital Domain will describe the production of live streaming virtual reality, with their IM360 group. Radiant Images will also participate in the presentations.
The event ends with a panel taking a look at the future of these new entertainment genres. “We’ll look at things that aren’t mainstream now but have a lot of resources dedicated to them,” promises Wilson. “Topics including volumetric capture, lightfield photography, Magic Leap, the HoloLens are areas that are getting a lot of attention but aren’t mainstream.”
TR-X registration is independent of or in addition to the HPA Tech Retreat.