International Local Heroes of VR

The VR NOW understands itself not only as a platform for the best international producers of VR, AR, MR and 360 video. It’s also about the people who drive the diverse local community in Berlin and Brandenburg, mostly smaller companies who work on an large and international level and want to showcase their latest successful work. 

Sara Lisa Vogel and Daan Kip (VR Base) started the session on our second stage. Daan explained how he managed to create a 50 Mio Dollar fund – the XR Base fund – to support great early VR and AR entrepreneurship. He and Sara then pointed out the creative and business potential of companies and upcoming talents from Europe.

Pedro Lopes (Hasso Plattner Institute) showed the amazing latest research development in EMS wearables. With attached electric muscle stimulation gloves (and more wearable devices soon), objects and walls will be part of the haptical experience.

Peter Hu (Auctoreal Inc.) explained what it means to live from VR development in the world’s probably most interesting (and hyped) market – China. Susanne Dickel is co-fonder of INTO.VR, specialized in 360 journalism. Their holistic approach on production and storytelling is fit for all major platforms for VR.

Max Sacker and Iuolia Isserlis are the two heads of Anotherworld VR. Right before they came to speak on the VR NOW Con, they won the prize for Best Immersive Experience at the VR Core Awards in China for their Horror VR Experience Kobold. In 30 minutes they showed what it means to create suspense and horror without torturing the user.

Find these and more exciting talks on YouTube. 

With: Sven Bliedung (SLICE), Marcus Ritter (Interlake), Sönke Kirchhoff (INVR.SPACE), Gayatri Parameswaran (NowHere Media), Greg Louden (3rd Eye Studios), Pawel Gajda (Carbon Studio), Christian Glessner (Hololux), Gerda Leopold and Sebastian Endler (both Amilux Filmproduktion), Lina Reinsbakken (Nornstudio) and of course the fabulous Thomas Bedenk (Exozet) and his friends.   

Photo by Shane Pilon

What we gain (and divulge) in the new realities

In 2016 the VR NOW Con keynote of Alysha Naples was all about making VR for better human interaction. Make VR pro social, less commercial and anti-isolating, she said. Everybody was moved, everybody agreed. 

This year Ian Forester, CEO of VR Playhouse, hold a similar critical note. While we wonder what we in the new realities, with immersive video and another level of information that will guide us through the world, Ian asked what we divulge.

The keywords here are: #Big Data, #Subconsciousness, #Depth. Scary, isn’t it? In real life that translates into make societies drift away even further apart, with social engineering, manipulated elections, Facebook bubbles and presidential fake news bullshit bingo (I hate the term “fake news”, we use it too often and help the guy who claims to be its inventor).

But we also wanted to show off a little. What is VR capable of right now, why is VR such a great medium, how will it define our entertainment, gaming, storytelling, industry training and information in the near future.

Max Salomon (Black Dot Films VR) and Maria Courtial (Faber Courtial) showed how to produce high quality immersive content for the old media e.g. National Geographic and ZDF. Laura Jeffords Greenberg told us what content is popular on the LittlStar platform.

Dominik Kaeser is the inventor and team lead of Google Earth VR and gave an in depth look into the development process of one of the most popular and smoothest VR experiences you can get right now.

Gabo Arora (Lightshed) talked about using VR for making people empathic, sharing also uncomfortable experiences about wars, crisis and the people suffering from it.

Kristian Costa-Zahn (UFA LAB) and Oliver Schreer (Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute) shared how they are going to start with volumetric video, a major advancement in making films you can actually freely move in.

Marcus Kühne is Audi’s head of VR and has set up more than 100 point of sale experiences for Audi customers who can compile their own cars from scratch, as well as making fun experiences like Audi sandbox.

Our guests from China (Yiming Niu is president of the VRAR Association of China, Rebecca Liu is head of VR Core, China’s biggest association for VR creators) gave insights about the Chinese market, what content is wanted by the consumers, what content is produced by the creators.

Two roundtable discussions concentrated on the American market, especially Hollywood (with Chris Sibley from Phenomenon Media, Andrew van Wyk from River Road Entertainment and, again, the amazing Laura Jeffords) and the trinity of markets in Europe, China and the USA (with Chris Sibley from Phenomenon Media, Drew van Wyk from River Road Entertainment, Sven Bliedung from SLICE and Yiming Niu from VRARA).

Check out the VR NOW Con & Awards 2017 playlist on YouTube to see the talks you missed. 

Photo by Grzegorz Karkoszka