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New York Times Exploring the Possibilities of Immersive Reporting with Daily 360 Video Series

It’s especially impressive that The New York Times – a company so well known and respected in the “old media” world of newspapers – hasn’t hesitated to push beyond the written word and lead the news industry with 360-degree video. You might be familiar with the NYT VR app featuring well-made non-fiction films shot in immersive video.

But it’s latest and boldest initiative is The Daily 360 – a daily 360-degree video shot by journalists using Samsung Gear 360 cameras. The first video places the viewer inside the wreckage of a social hall that was destroyed in Yemen by a Saudi airstrike. But the NYT mentioned that other videos could include more light-hearted things like style and fashion, or even feature picturesque environments like sunsets on which viewers can meditate.

Here’s a taste of The Daily 360:

Read more about The Daily 360 from the NYT.

New FITC Event Puts Spotlight on AR & VR Creators

FITC (short for “Flash in the Can”) has come a long way since it began as a Toronto conference aimed at Macromedia Flash developers. In recent years, its events – around a dozen per year – have been widely embraced by the digital creative community and aim to deal with the latest technologies.

It’s unsurprising that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is the focus of their upcoming event – Spotlight AR/VR – on December 3, 2016.  Prices range from $59 for students to $149 for standard admission, and there’s a special early-bird rate ending November 13. Also, save 10% with the discount code “FITCNewsletter”.

Here are some of the presentations we’re most excited about:

Roomscale VR: DIY Dreamatoriums
with John Bolton, Globacore


Globacore Toronto is one of the first companies to experiment with untethered room-scale VR. In other words: they’ve built holodecks from the ground up. John Bolton, a senior developer at Globacore, will explain the technologies go into these experiences. He’ll also share some lessons such as never hold a drink while supervising a VR escape room. The drink always gets spilled.
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Getting started with the Microsoft HoloLens
with Mickey MacDonald


Microsoft HoloLens is a mixed-reality headset that lets users interact with holograms in the world – all while looking like a rad sci-fi boss. Microsoft “Technology Evangelist” Mickey MacDonald will cover some key aspects of the HoloLens, and he’ll discuss the considerations of building immersive mixed reality experience, walk through the workflow, and how to get started developing even without owning a device (the developer version is $3,000 USD). Mickey will provide an introduction to how high-definition holograms could bring your ideas to life.
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Monetization Strategy For The VR Industry
with Alan Smithson, MetaVRse

With every new medium, the issue of monetization is always a concern. It’s perhaps especially pertinent to content creators of whom many fund their own passion projects without necessarily expecting to make a profit. Alan Smithson will share some ideas on how to monetize a product or service within VR/AR – or at least how to hide out from creditors in virtual reality.
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Google’s Daydream View headset available in Canada starting next week

Daydream View, Google’s highly anticipated virtual reality headset and controller for Daydream-ready smartphones, will be available November 10th on the Google Store and at retailers across five countries including Canada.

Being soft and lightweight and with a modern design, the Daydream View is significantly different from phone-powered headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and its own line of Google Cardboard headsets.

The first compatible phones will be Google’s own Pixel line of phones which just launched last month. The headset will be available for $99 CAD through Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Best Buy as well as Google’s own online store where there’s a waiting list available. It’s also available in the US, the UK, Germany and Australia.

 

Google is positioning itself as a leader in the AR and VR space – facing rivals including Facebook-backed Oculus. In a series of strategic acquisitions, it bought AR and VR eye-tracking startup Eyefluence just last week.

The stated goal of Daydream – unlike more expensive hardware like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – is to bring high-quality VR to everyone.

What’s this “VR Co-Op” all about?

We believe that the future of content will include Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 360 video. And while this media shift is being enabled through technology, it will truly be driven by creators.

High quality, compelling content is at the core of what makes storytelling in this medium so exciting.

But one of the challenges is that this medium is new. And like any new medium, it’s difficult to find people who have the right skills and equipment.

So, we came up with the idea for a cooperative that would connect the VR community in Canada both virtually through an online database, and physically through shared office spaces (starting in Toronto) that provide access to VR equipment and workshops.

Our idea is based around three basic premises…

Being around other creators is the best way to get involved in VR

As a VR Co-op member, you won’t be delving into VR alone. You’ll have other people to provide motivation and mentoring. We’ll have bi-weekly learning sessions led by members that will focus on different aspects of content production.

Whether your background is in code, film, art, writing, sound design or game design, everyone has some expertise to offer and there’s tremendous potential for collaboration.

The VR Co-Op is all about leveraging the experience, knowledge, and creativity of our community. We’re also reaching out to the professional VR community to find mentors and instructors who can help provide guidance to those starting out in VR.

We’ll also help test our members’ apps, provide suggestions, and (respectfully) push each other to create better content.

A co-operative is the most affordable way to get involved in VR

As with many new technologies, the Oculus Rift and other headsets are expensive. PC workstations that have the processing power to develop 3D and VR experiences are even more expensive.

Most of us can’t justify spending $2,000 to $3,000 on development equipment, especially when starting out with no contracts in sight.

VR Co-Op is also an extremely cost-effective way of learning VR development. Alternatives such as college and university programs are expensive, and many can’t keep up with the rapid rate of change in the VR space.

It’s better to learn with other people and learn from their mistakes and successes. Plus, you get plenty of hands-on experience with top-of-the-line development equipment and resources.

NOW is the right time to get involved in VR

The first commercial Oculus Rift headset started shipping just at the end of March 2016. Other devices like the Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard, which provides a headset for phone-powered VR experiences are providing a low buy-in option for VR consumers. McDonalds is bringing VR to the masses with a Happy Meal box that turns into a Google Cardboard headset.

Analysts anticipate the value of the Augmented and Virtual Reality market to exceed $150 billion by 2020.

Traditional media outlets like The New York Times are producing VR content as part of their journalism. Still, VR content is in its infancy, and the next killer piece of content could be created in Canada.