Max Geiger works at Wemo Lab, which is a content studio in LA that exploring gaming and simulation in VR, but also exploring panoramic VR capture and the software to make that happen. Wemo Lab is located in LA, and they have a number of award-winning special effects artists on staff for creating who are helping create various VR experiences.

max-geigerThey’re focused on bringing emotional investment into VR, and Max talks about the spectrum of cinematic VR storytelling ranging from computer-generated to captured material, as well as differing levels of interactivity within each of those. He says that we’re still inventing the language of VR, and that the most surprising applications and interactions for VR haven’t been discovered yet.

Max could neither confirm nor deny that they were collaborating with any specific directors, but being so near to Hollywood it would not be surprising if they were getting interest from the film industry. He also talked about how close-up magic, immersive theater experiences and haunted houses have lessons to teach VR in terms of how to direct and misdirect attention.

Finally, he talks about he doesn’t like to do too much speculation about VR either in the short or long-term because of Amara’s Law, which states that “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” While there’s a lot of VR hype train overestimation in the short-term, we tend to underestimating the long-term impacts because so many of the changes are so unpredictable.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro. Wemo Lab content studio in LA. Showing an immersive ocean simulator called Blue.
  • 0:35 – The Blue was an open platform to contribute fish to various environments.
  • 1:48 – Exploring gaming and simulation in VR, but also exploring panoramic VR capture.
  • 2:15 – Interested in writing software to make it easier for other people to make captured
  • 2:36 – Using off-the-shelf solutions at the moment, and investigating other proprietary solutions as well.
  • 2:52 – Looking at 360Heroes rig with Go Pros, Wemo Lab’s Dennis Blakey is a pioneer of stereoscopic video who created a rig with 84 cameras.
  • 3:50 – Presence is the real selling point of VR, and so Frontrow VR can help provide that sense of presence. Getting fooled by close-up magic within VR.
  • 4:50 – Tradeoff vs recreating it in 3D to be more efficient vs video capture. It’s getting easier to store and manipulate large quantities of data.
  • 5:57 – When would it be better to recreate vs. when would you need to create? You know how much a camera will bias things, and an editor can weave a story out of individual moments. Interested to see what Peter Watkins would do with VR, who used documentary format to explore fictional stories. Explores film create a world and expectation and biases the viewer towards certain things. The map of a film is the territory of the subject
  • 7:50 – Different interactions within VR and approaches to storytelling. 6-7 different levels of experiences spectrum between completely computer-generated vs. filmed and captured experiences. And adding interactivity to captured experiences. Still inventing the language. The most surprising applications and interactions for VR haven’t been discovered yet.
  • 9:00 – Getting interest from Hollywood directors at Wemo Lab? Neither confirm or deny working with any Hollywood directors.
  • 9:40 – What is Wemo Lab trying to do in VR? World Emotion is the goal. Bringing emotional investment to VR experiences. Combine emotions with physical interactions in VR.
  • 10:30 – Directing attention in VR experiences. Look at first-person games and how they direct attention, but also look at other arts of directing attention like how magicians will direct and misdirect attention. Breaking down the fourth wall in theater has lessons to teach us as well.
  • 11:54 – Sleep No More immersive theater experience is a high-brow, but there’s also a haunted house or a dark ride and there’s lessons to be learned from them all.
  • 12:38 – 3D audio. Not a lot of great solutions at the moment, but there’s a renaissance in that realm not. Binaural audio is a capture technique, and 3D positional audio is the post-production and mixing process involved.
  • 13:12 – Ultimate potential for VR – Tries not to do too much speculation, and refers to Amara’s Law of “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” Hype train overestimation in the short-term , but underestimating the long-term impacts.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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