Once again I am in Amsterdam for the VR Days.
4 days of discussions, lectures, debates, demos, live tutorials and much more related to the world of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
This year the event was much bigger than last year, which makes it all a bit more impersonal, but at the same time it has a lot more cool thing to see, share and learn.
Here we go
Day 01 –
Who opened the event was Amsterdam Deputy Mayor Kajsa Ollongren talking about the local government’s commitment to making the city a world hub for VR and AR production.
And this has already been noticed in one of the venues of the event, the Makerversity, where several companies linked to VR and AR are installed, and it is a government building.
That’s cool, to have the government also boosting a market still incipient, and with the potential to bring money and qualified professionals to the city.
Following the event, once again a lecture was given by Dr. Skip Rizzo, the psychologist who has been working with VR since 1996, treating soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress.
This time Dr. Rizzo came up with an explanation about the development of “Virtual Humans“, which help in the treatment of phobias, addictions and traumas.
Basically they are animations that learn over time and with use, or can also be a “mask” for a real human.
The idea here is to help with VR the doctor / patient interaction. Be a physician training to attend a patient, be a patient who needs some help and is afraid or ashamed to seek a real doctor.
An interesting link on the subject is the Simcoach, which is a psychological care center for the treatment of soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. Worth the visit.
Another cool site is Sim Sensei, which uses Kinect, microphone and facial recognition software to recognize traces of depression or any other problem the patient may have.
Watch the video here:
After Dr. Rizzo it was the turn of Gabo Arora, of the department of Virtual Reality of the United Nations.
Yes, there is a VR department in the UN.
And they do a pretty cool job of awareness for the humanitarian causes important to the Organization.
On their site there’s a link to download the VR application. You do not need anything too fancy, any cellphone/mobile solves.
What he said has a lot to do with what we see every day on social networks.
“Why do cute bunny or person-in-the-mud videos give more Likes and Views than something serious and important as a campaign to raise food for refugees?”
He does not have the explanation, but he has theories.
One is about our “immunization” or “numbing” against anything that is related to violence, pain or suffering.
At first we shocked, soon after we do not want to know.
And how to change that?
Not showing pain, violence or suffering as a way to shock people, but rather generating empathy.
Want an example? Humans of New York
The UN has a similar project in countries at war or with serious humanitarian problems. In Virtual Reality.
Then came Jarrad Vladich from The Mill in London.
The Mill made a cool project / documentary / VR experience based on 15 minutes of audio captured from inmates living in confinement.
From this audio they set up a solitary cell. With everything the prisoners said they felt.
Put the headphones on and play down here.
Steye Hallema, director of content creation at Jaunt VR told us about the difficulties of having an interesting storytelling in VR.
Among other things, the positioning of the viewer is key to this.
In general lines:
If it is in third person the material has to be interesting and engaging enough to generate and maintain interest.
If it is a second person storytelling has to generate reflection and a minimum of involvement of the concepts that the person shares, or make clear about what will be shown there. It’s much more engaging than a movie, for example.
And if it is first-person, then the whole system of beliefs and concepts has to be clearly demonstrated so that the person does not feel outraged, bothered or disgusted about what they are going to watch.
An example is the “Inside Trump’s Head” video.
It’s all first-person, you’re Trump.
Imagine. Or rather, watch.
Toby Coffey of the National Theater of London has been experimenting with VR to understand how theater can benefit from technology.
He even quoted the sensational film “The Lawnmower Man” (Jobe? Someone?). Well, this was probably one of the first films to quote VR for the masses.
Here again the whole concept of storytelling changes in relation to the “ordinary” theater.
An example of the path was the musical Wonder.land that they developed together with Damon Albarn.
The idea is that the story of Alice (that of Wonderland) became a game.
Barbara Lippe entered a panel on storytelling together with the speakers up to then and said something important.
That we should understand VR media, create specifically for the media, write, rewrite, and test incessantly until we find a new storytelling format that is relevant and make smart and complete use of VR or RA.
I fully agree with her, to create experiences rather than just a simple storytelling.
Adapt everything so that the RV is effective and fully used.
To situate, Barbara Lippe is from EntreZ VR, a producer specializing in VR, or rather, Drama for VR.
This is then the first Drama in VR.
Nvidia also went head-first into VR.
Whether it’s a computer you’ve got on your back, the XMG Walker, which eliminates that feeling of being trapped by the cables attached to a desktop (still needed for latency of images / sounds if via Bluetooth or something wireless).
Some interesting data that Dominik Escofier, an Nvidia speaker, told us:
–Playstation VR has more active users than Oculus and HTC Vive together.
–Google Cardboard is boring? He does not think so. The app has already been downloaded more than 4 million times on the App Store and Google Play.
–Samsung Milk VR? It currently has 1 million users.
The market grows exponentially.
Andrew Curtis of Force Field spoke about UI (User Interface) in VR and said that we will only remember the UI if it is bad. If it is good the thing flows normally.
In fact, Force Field comes with a multiplayer game that’s pretty cool. A Command & Conquer in VR with some modifications.
I played, I lost in an ugly way, but I had fun.
Tim Moerlard da Virtual Dutchmen also spoke on how to produce for VR.
Basically it is this:
And it makes perfect sense. It’s no use if the crew throb if you do not know how the product will work in VR.
Of course, guesses will happen anyway, but knowing how to filter and make the guess “VR possible” is a job that demands time, experience and testing.
Lots of testing.
Rob van Wingerden of the Royal BAM Group showed how the company already uses VR for its projects, optimizing time and production costs.
An assembly of machines inside a shed, the construction of popular houses, a giant lock and even an underwater tunnel use the VR for project development.
You’ve already seen this, right?
In addition to this, plus a lot of stop-motion scenes for Star Wars (and a lot of other movies) were created by this guy here, Phil Tippett:
He now does VR in his production company and told funny stories about how he and his team created a VR project for a Chinese construction group.
He gave some (many) tips, talked about the whole process of learning and understanding the culture and Chinese market, and then showed some videos of his company’s Showreel.
Here is an excerpt from League of Gods, a Jet Li movie.
There was also Edward Miller talking about the challenges of creating the next Pokemon Go.
Not only to make the joke more interactive, but also how the use of micropositioning can change the whole game.
Based on photos people take around the world, there is now technology that can recreate all of the 3D space, making it possible to create three-dimensional models anywhere in the world.
This is called “City Scale Augmented Reality.”
Imagine for a game that uses geolocation!
Let’s follow …
Nearly ending, we still had the porn actress Ela Darling, who is co-founder of CAM4VR (NSFW!!!).
Among other things, she said that when she started broadcasting in VR, she realized that viewers were not as aggressive or even stupid as when broadcasting in 2D.
The concept behind it is that the viewer actually feels in her room, so there is another form of relationship, something almost personal.
In addition, the Porn in VR also has a use in the treatment of inhibitions, taboos and alike. People do not just look for immediate satisfaction, but also have actresses who make Live Cam a confidante and a friend.
Summary of all this?
VR is a medium that is different from a movie, a game, an interaction.
The possibilities are huge and we have not even begun to scratch the surface of what we can do.
Worth testing, worth inventing, worth anything.
It is not only worth copying what has already been done and trying to adapt to the media.
All the best,