Hollywood Meetup Pulls Back Curtain on Cinematic VR

by David Weinstein

Virtual reality is taking Hollywood by storm.

From cinematic VR experiences based on The Martian and Wild, to new VR categories at major film festivals and awards programs, it’s clear VR is changing how content is created, distributed and enjoyed.

About 150 entertainment industry execs, content creators and moviemakers gathered last week at NVIDIA’s Cinematic VR Meetup, in Hollywood, at Gnomon, a school for visual effects, games and animation. The topic of discussion: how reality and simulation come together to create fully immersive cinematic VR experiences.

The day’s agenda included talks and demos from entertainment industry leaders.

DreamWorks experts talked about creating VR experiences that audiences want to relive again and again, creating stories that touch audiences emotionally. Their VR demo showed how motion capture is a great technique to do just that, allowing attendees to step into a virtual world where they could fly their own dragons interactively.

Dreamworks VR demo at Gnomon School
DreamWorks VR demo at Gnomon School.

Demonstrating how entertainment companies can help other industries tell great stories and create compelling VR experiences, Deluxe VR showcased how they helped GE develop its interactive GE Store experience.

Ted Schilowitz, an industry luminary and futurist at 20th Century Fox, spoke about the current state of VR, commenting that it’s much like trying to catch a tiger by the tail — demand is strong, but the technology is not quite ready.

Heavy head-mounted displays, tethered computers and cables won’t carry us into the future, he said. As technology advances, Schilowitz predicted that glass spectacles with projected optics will soon replace HMDs, and then we’ll see our first multi-hour, billion-dollar grossing production, likely in the form of a mixed reality experience. He believes eventually spectacles could be replaced by retinal implants.

NVIDIA cinematic VR meetup
Ted Shilowitz at a Q&A during NVIDIA’s cinematic VR meetup.

Driving Advances in Cinematic VR

NVIDIA has a rich history in entertainment. Our GPU technology has been behind the creation of every Academy Award nominated film for Best Visual Effects for the past 8 years running.

And for the past 15 years, we’ve been driving advances in the state of VR. Our goal: solving the challenge of combining reality and simulation with tools and technologies that allow content creators to tell their amazing stories.

Virtual objects that don’t respond to movements or directionally incorrect sounds can quickly take an audience out of the 3D world they’re immersed in. Our demos at the meetup showcased how our latest Pascal GPU architecture, Iray VR and VRWorks SDK bring a new level of realism to VR through sight, sound and touch.

Among them, NVIDIA VR Funhouse demonstrated the immersion and fun of bringing together great graphics, audio, touch interactivity and a fully simulated environment. Try it for yourself at https://store.steampowered.com/app/468700/.

Feature image credit: The Martian VR Experience courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC. © 2016 FOX. All rights reserved.