Big Sean was four feet from me as I sat front row of his jam-packed concert. I could hear the fans screaming from different directions as I turned my head to look around the stadium. The sun was shining and the clouds were drifting…. This all felt so real. But really, I was inside of a conference room with an Oculus Rift wrapped around my head. When I experienced this Big Sean concert from Jaunt in California in March, I instantly knew this was a revolution in entertainment – and it seems like Steven Spielberg may have had a similar reaction…
Content will be king when VR succeeds, so we must applaud companies like Google, Jaunt, River and Oculus Story Studio for positioning themselves to satisfy this increasing demand. Thanks to a $35 million dollar capital injection, Jaunt was able to release their newest product “NEO,” a high quality camera with the capabilities to capture full 360 degree content using “light field” technology. This camera, and a partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment will help Jaunt progress forward the popularity of VR video content. As other film studios and theme parks, like The Void, become involved in the industry it is quite apparent the revolution is coming.
But as Jobs would say…. there’s one more thing. To further the point that VR entertainment is right around the corner a super team of Hollywood talent have come together under the name Virtual Reality Co (VRC). Led by Chris Edwards, director Robert Stromberg, producer Joel Newton, and executive Guy Primus, with an all star advisory board containing the likes of Steven Spielberg (who was just officially added to the VRC’s website) and VR pioneer Laurent Scallie, this LA based firm is yet another piece to the puzzle of the entertainment revolution. As Mr. Stromberg figuratively says, “I see several incredible concert halls being built, so we’re writing new symphonies.” Virtual Reality Co. (VRC) is headed in the right direction, they are raising $22.7 million in early funding and are sure to increase this number as they scale. Several VR headsets will begin to commercialize in early 2016, so VRC is loading their guns with immersive experiences as ammo.
For all of you 130 year olds reading this; I’m sure you remember quite clearly in 1896 when the Lumière brothers displayed one of the first ever footages of film to impact the public, “Arrival of a Train.” Legend has it, audiences watching this film were so fearful of the moving picture that they simultaneously panicked as the train came towards them. Even though the film was under one minute long, this moment acts as a reference point for where we are in the timeline of VR entertainment.
VRC has hinted at the upcoming release of a documentary experience that lets fans travel along with Jerome Bettis as he attends the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It is also worth noting that Spielberg is slated to direct a film adaptation of Ready Player One, which we previously reported is slated to have at least some VR tie in content. Speaking with sources close to Spielberg he is incredibly excited about the future that VR holds for film.
Famous filmmakers and NFL ceremonies… it would appear this technology has no boundaries when it comes to entertainment. Instead of releasing a typical teaser and uploading the video to YouTube, pioneering filmmakers are crafting different visions and promotions for their artwork using VR clips and VR experiences. It appears that folks at home should expect to begin experiencing this VR content via apps, Oculus Rift, other HMD’s, and movies in early 2016. Hope you’re ready.
UPDATE: A previous version of this article stated that VRC had raised approximately $23m, after speaking directly with the VRC we have corrected the article to reflect they are raising that amount currently.