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CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: a celebration of Apollo 11

CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: celebrating Apollo 11 at homePut your Virtual Reality headset on and enter your own FREE planetarium in CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium, created to celebrate the 50th Apollo 11 Anniversary in July 2019.

Initially released in December 2019 and last updated in January 2020, CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium, from NSC Creative, is a FREE Virtual Reality experience that serves as introduction to a series of DLCs (downloadable content) that expand the original idea. Constructed to celebrate the launch of Apollo 11, NASA’s first mission to land humans on the Moon, the title transports the viewer to, as the creators say, “a state-of-the-art facility with the latest opto-mechanical starball, film projectors and the first ever holoscope!”

CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: celebrating Apollo 11 at homeThe VR planetarium, compatible with PCVR headsets like the Valve Index, Oculus Rift, the Vive family or the portable Quest, with the use of Link, is an easy way to get a glimpse of the catalog available from the creator of the title, NSC Creative, which is an award-winning UK studio with 20 years of experience in immersive media, and a specialist in immersive experiences for theme parks, VR, AR, MR, domes, 3D/4D, museums and science centres.

The planetarium in CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium is your mission control room. Take a seat behind the control desk and use your VR controllers to explore each console. Your planetarium comes equipped with the ability to watch eye-popping trailers and full-length immersive films which are out of this world, revealing some of the titles produced by NSC Creative. Using the VIDEO MODE, put a video tape in the player and enjoy the show!

CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: celebrating Apollo 11 at homeTake a seat and immerse yourself

Besides a series of activities to try, the app, which serves also as the base upon which the series is expanded, includes trailers for the following NSC Creative planetarium shows:

  • CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story
  • We Are Stars
  • We Are Aliens
  • Astronaut 3D

The STARBALL MODE opens a window towards the big sky. Everyone enjoys a nice relaxing tour of the night sky and your new star projector can resolve over a billion stars and has custom space race themed constellation artwork slides. Change the procession to see the cosmos roll past overhead. (Please note this is not a 100% accurate simulation of the night sky).

CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: celebrating Apollo 11 at home

The HOLOSCOPE mode is another key element of the experience offered by the app. No other planetarium in the world has one of these. Grab an object from your desk and place it on the transmogrification pad to project a holographic visualization into the planetarium. You can almost reach out and touch it! Hear about the amazing feats of engineering that took Apollo Astronauts to the moon and back.

CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium can be the start of a space adventure, as you take a seat and immerse yourself in one of NSC Creative’s 3D dome movies, explore the interactive planetarium controls to discover stars, constellations, holograms and lasers, celebrate the Moon landings, explore the wonders of the cosmos and take a tour of the International Space Station. If you want to take the experience further, there are three other Virtual Reality apps available:

CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story (Paid)

CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story is an award-winning planetarium film produced by the National Space Centre, UK that celebrates the achievements of the Apollo program and what it took to land the first human on the Moon. Screening in 100+ planetariums worldwide you can now watch it in the comfort of your own VR headset in the CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium. This DLC content gives you access to the full-length 26 minute, 4k 3D 60fps 360° film with English, French, German and Italian narration and subtitles.

We Are Stars (Paid)

We Are Stars is an award-winning planetarium film produced by the National Space Centre, UK that explores the creation of the Universe, our Solar System and the origins of life on planet Earth. Screening in planetariums worldwide you can now watch it in CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: celebrating Apollo 11 at homethe comfort of your own VR headset in the CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium.

We join the Time Master narrated by Hollywood superstar Andy Serkis, a Victorian gent with his very own time tent who whisks us off on a 13.8 billion year adventure. With expert input from leading scientists, cosmologists, astrophysicists, astrochemists, planetary scientists and astrobiologists we present humanity’s current understanding of where everything, including us, came from.

This DLC content gives you access to the full-length 26 minute 3D film with English narration and subtitles.

ISS 360° Tour with Tim Peake (Free)

ISS 360° Tour with Tim Peake is an educational planetarium film produced by the National Space Centre, UK that takes you through a narrated tour of the International Space Station. Screening in planetariums worldwide, you can now watch it in the comfort of your own VR headset in the CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium.

CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: celebrating Apollo 11 at homeWorking together with BAP (British Association of Planetaria), NSC Creative has produced a short immersive 360° experience which takes the viewer around the ISS (International Space Station) to see what it is like to live and work in space. Narrated by British Astronaut Tim Peake who has successfully completed his 6 month Principia mission. We also get to see footage of Tim shot onboard the ISS specifically for this project using a DSLR and Fisheye lens.

The project was supported by the UKSA (UK Space Agency) and ESA (European Space Agency) with additional support from Explorer Dome, Centre for Life and the National Space Centre.

This DLC content gives you access to the 15-minute film as a free addition to the primary experience.

CAPCOM GO! Apollo VR Planetarium: celebrating Apollo 11 at homeExpand your Virtual Reality library

The CAPCOM GO! series is available for fulldome experiences, iOS, Android, Google Cardboard/Daydream, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality. Although you can watch the content on a flat screen, virtual reality headsets offer, as expected, the most immersive experience, and one that you can explore from the comfort of home.

The two paid titles in the collection, We Are Stars and CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story can be acquired for less than $10, making the collection a bargain if you want to expand your Virtual Reality library with more titles related to space. We’ve previously suggested, here at ProVideo Coalition, titles as The Edgar Mitchell Overview Effect VR Experience, Space Explorers, the largest production ever filmed in space, or the Apollo 11 VR Experience.

World premiere at Tribeca: Breonna’s Garden AR experience

World premiere at Tribeca: Breonna's Garden AR experienceBreonna’s Garden, an AR experience created to honor the life of Breonna Taylor is one of the multiple innovative cinematic experiences at the Tribeca Festival that will take viewers to a new world.

Imagine standing in New York City and then instantly journeying to the bottom of an ocean with a marine biologist. Or walking through a moonlit forest inhabited by a monster. Or getting a tour of Barack Obama’s White House from the former president himself. Or crash-landing on an unknown planet 300 light years from Earth with only a robot as your guide.

World premiere at Tribeca: Breonna's Garden AR experience
Republique, the interactive movie

These unique experiences were all made possible thanks to the Tribeca Festival’s evolution in cutting-edge virtual reality and immersive storytelling. For nearly a decade, it’s become the premiere showcase for thrilling technology that allows creative thinkers and explorers to immerse and interact with the 360-degree world around them. All you need is the willingness to let go — and, on occasion, a headset.

Tribeca’s multimedia program ignited in 2013 with the introduction of the Storyscapes section, a series of five experimental works that capitalized on interactive, web-based, and cross-platform approaches to visual creation. A year later, acclaimed directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan introduced Possibilia, a non-linear film in which cast members made real-time choices onstage in front of a live audience. And in 2015, Jeremy Bailenson from Stanford University brought its Virtual Human Interaction Lab to the festival. For the first time, audiences could play quarterback for a football team and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

World premiere at Tribeca: Breonna's Garden AR experienceBreonna Taylor: a special tribute

That same spirit continues today, and the 2021 edition of the Tribeca Festival has launched an invitation to the public: take an adventure with a friend as they confront their fears through music, confront cryptic AI, and honor Breonna Taylor with a special tribute from her sister, Ju’Niyah Palmer. These cinematic experiences are all a part of Tribeca Festival’s immersive lineup.

With incredible stories from world-class artists, these immersive experiences push the boundaries of storytelling. Presented by AT&T, Tribeca Festival will celebrate cutting-edge selections with the Storyscapes Award, honoring artists who use innovative ideas to bridge the gap between technology and storytelling.

“2021 is the most dynamic year yet for Tribeca Immersive, especially as it relates to the diversity of experiences,” said Loren Hammonds, VP, Immersive Programming, Senior Programmer, Film & Immersive. “Attendees, both in-person and online, will experience everything from live AI performers and animated adventures to a location-based augmented reality memorial.”

The 2021 Tribeca Immersive Program will happen through outdoor interactive experiences. Outdoor in-person Immersive installations will be located at various locations throughout NYC; these experiences are free and open to everyone throughout the Festival. Those available virtually can be accessed via the Tribeca Festival website. Outdoor locations for each immersive experience will be announced on the festival’s website.

World premiere at Tribeca: Breonna's Garden AR experienceWe Are At Home, a VR installation

The lineup includes a world premiere, Breonna’s Garden, a 15 minutes long AR experience created in collaboration with Ju’Niyah Palmer to honor the life of her sister, Breonna Taylor. Part of Juneteenth programming, the cinematic experience Breonna’s Gard – She who plants a garden plants hope, has Lady PheOnix Ruach Shaddai as project creator with Stuart ‘Sutu’ Campbell as key collaborator.

The full list of immersive experiences includes 28 other titles, covering a wide variety of subjects, from Bystanding: The Feingold Syndrome, an immersive docufiction sharing the confessions of people who witnessed a kayak-rower drown for four-and-a-half minutes and did not jump in, to We Are At Home, a VR installation based on the poem The Hangman at Home by Carl Sandburg, which poses a single question to viewers: “What does the hangman think about when he goes home at night from work?”

Other titles present are JAILBIRDS, which ProVideo Coalition mentioned recently, or Republique, the interactive movie, which is, as the name suggests, an interactive film that plunges the participant into the emotions felt during an attack in the Paris Metro through three parallel storylines, letting you switch from one to another. There, are, in fact, experiences for a wide variety of tastes, a clear indication of how vibrant this section of the festival is.

JAILBIRDS VR: world premiere at Tribeca and NewImages

JAILBIRDS VR: world premiere at Tribeca and NewImagesJAILBIRD: Bwa Kayiman, is a VR narrative experience on a human scale, a fantastic tale about the prison system and human freedom. Discover how a comic book story was adapted to Virtual Reality.

Between virtual reality, comics and animation, JAILBIRDS: Bwa Kayiman, trilogy first episode, is a bittersweet tale about men freedom. In his work, Director Thomas Villepoux uses VR codes and interactive storytelling techniques in an innovative composition. This innovative drama relies on the viewer engagement by alternating objective and subjective points of view for the first time, creating a subtle blend of viewer movement and camera movement.

JAILBIRDS: Bwa Kayiman is a fantastic tale based on the visual universe of Philippe Foerster, Belgian author of black poetry comics (freely adapted from “Paulot s’évade” in “Certains l’aiment Noir” published by Fluide Glacial in 1985). How do you adapt a comic book with such a particular style in a medium that uses real time animation – that is, video game tools that have their own aesthetic?

Fred Remuzat handled the first work. He is an art director specialized in CGI, who can make a character exist in a pencil sketch and then translate it into polygons and vectors. Together, Fred Remuzat and Thomas Villepoux defined the visual style and the design of the characters. Then the animation studio The Pack created the 17 special “shader” that enables this “pencil drawing render”.

JAILBIRDS VR: world premiere at Tribeca and NewImagesA metaphor for virtual reality

Real actors were chosen to embody the characters: Thomas Lemarquis (Snowpiercer (2013), 3 Days to Kill (2014), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), Blade Runner 2049 (2017)) (Chief Warden), Barry Johnson (Felix) and Elliot Delage (Booker). A particular technical device was set according to three axes: same sound recording system for dialogues as for a shooting, filming facial expressions for characters animation, and filming body movements as an animation reference. An acting performance that gives strength and humanity to the characters.

JAILBIRDS VR: world premiere at Tribeca and NewImagesSet sometimes in a nightmarish prison, sometimes in beautiful landscapes, the experience makes full use of the assets of the VR medium as narrative tools. The story resonates strangely with the promise of virtual reality: a prisoner escapes each night as his eyes magically detach from his body and set off to discover the world that is physically inaccessible to him.

In fact, by using Virtual Reality as the medium to reach audiences, JAILBIRDS: Bwa Kayiman poses an interesting question: What better metaphor for virtual reality? In fact, our eyes escaping to discover the world while our body is trapped in the physical reality is very much what VR offers. In these troubled times it is an experience which finds a particular echo. You’ll need a VR headset to try the experience. Online access will be available with the MOR – Museum of Other Realities) application, which is available via Steam and Vive platforms.

JAILBIRDS VR: world premiere at Tribeca and NewImagesXR3 aims to fully democratize access to VR

JAILBIRDS: Bwa Kayiman will be available from June 9th on both platforms. The MOR app is available to users of the following PCVR headsets: Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality. Oculus Quest’s users can access it by using Oculus Link or Virtual Desktop application. Even if you do not own a VR headset, it will be possible to watch JAILBIRDS: Bwa Kayiman through in situ access, within the framework of the three events and also thanks to the network of partners “lieux satellites” deployed throughout the world and in which dedicated VR stations will be set up.

JAILBIRDS VR: world premiere at Tribeca and NewImagesJAILBIRDS: Bwa Kayiman won some prizes before: the Prix Wallimage – stereopsia du meilleur projet VR in 2016, le Prix Courant-3D – Nouvelle Aquitaine du meilleur projet immersif in 2017 and the Prix SACD du meilleur scénario VR au “Pitch projets numériques” du Festival d’Annecy in 2018. Now it will have its world premiere in two festivals. The Virtual Reality story will be shown to professionals and to the public during the two events, both international leaders in the immersive creation sector.

The world premiere of JAILBIRDS: Bwa Kayiman happens at a pivotal moment in which through an unprecedented partnership, NewImages, Tribeca and Cannes XR are joining forces to fully democratize access to VR and immersive creation. In fact, from June 9th to the 20th the three festivals will partner in order to produce a unique and VR dedicated platform available to everyone. All VR works in competition will be visible online via the virtual exhibition XR3.

Pioneer of a new exhibition concept and result of each event’s expertise in the immersive arts, XR3 will gather around fifty works among which several world premieres previews. All selections will be available inside the Museum of Other Realities (MOR), a virtual exhibition space with an inventive scenography specially designed for the occasion. Thanks to its hybrid dimension and its different modes of access, the XR3 platform thus offers the works presented to a worldwide influence and to all audiences.

 

 

 

 

 

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VR

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VRWhen Wyatt Roy visited Emma Webster’s first gallery exhibition, he imagined what would happen if all the paintings could come alive. That’s how Painting Life, the VR experience, came… to life!

Emma Webster is a Californian painter with an MFA in Painting from Yale School of Art (2018) and BA in Art Practice from Stanford University (2011). Wyatt Roy is a narrative designer – his words – with a BA Psychology with Honors from Stanford University… and he loves Virtual Reality. Emma and Wyatt are friends, and that’s how the story of Painting Life begins.

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VRWyatt Roy remembers well when he visited Emma’s exhibit at the Yale Art Gallery, how he felt about the experience. “Galleries aren’t known for being lively, but the utter stillness in this one was uncanny. Low hum of AC, no other people. Emma’s giant colorful paintings, dripping with life, seemed from a different realm. I thought to myself, ‘There has to be another way to interact with art.’”

The narrative designer was visiting his friend Emma Webster, a contemporary artist who was just about to graduate from her MFA program at Yale School of Painting. Her thesis works were up in the Yale Art Gallery – “big, emotional, paintings that were abstract yet based in something tangible” he recalls. “I felt like I could reach into them, and I couldn’t figure out how she did it. So we went to her studio. It was a big concrete box with a splatter-painted floor, canvases akimbo, and dioramas everywhere. I realized that she painted from life — a distorted, whimsical abstraction of life. Her paintings suddenly made sense, and felt even more lively than before.”

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VRCrafting narratives in new mediums

Wyatt Roy is a co-founder Maku XR, a San Francisco-based creative production company that crafts thoughtful film and photography for people who care about something. With Luis Zanforlin, the other co-founder, the team helps “translate our client’s stories into effective and moving visual media to inspire change in their audience” adding that “we sprint and crank and leap to weave a narrative that’ll take just a few minutes to watch but a while to forget.”

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VRPainting Life shows Maku’s philosophy at work and it’s a VR experience that you will never forget. But before we continue let me share with you a bit more about Wyatt Roy’s story, because it is important to understand how the VR experience Painting Life was born. The storyteller says that “when I showed my grandmother my first virtual reality piece, I didn’t know what she’d say. I watched her looking around in the headset, making a small “oh!” when she noticed a woman walking into the scene, or a “hmpf” when she disagreed with a line of dialogue.”

He was blown away with her reaction when she took the headset off and simply said “It’s a good movie Wyatt, but I hate the protagonist.” All the technology, production, and cumbersome gear had melted away, and what his grandmother mentioned was the story. “She didn’t happen to think this particular story’s characters were very lovable, but her emotional reaction told me I was onto something. If we can use psychology to nudge people towards better behaviors, if we can craft narratives in new mediums that learn, grow, and develop with the viewer, and if we can build new technology that powers it — the world may be a much kinder, equitable, sustainable place.”

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VRVirtual Reality could hold a key

That mindset is the base for the Painting Life project. After visiting the gallery and Emma Websters’ studio, Wyatt Roy had the chance to spend the night at Emma’s room, has she stayed with her boyfriend. He recalls that “her simple act of hosting me in her home changed the way I think about art forever. As I was falling asleep, I looked up at the pictures on her walls. Suddenly I noticed echoes of her paintings. I recognized certain features — eyes, postures, foliage — that had made their way into clay models. Moods and ideas that had buzzed around her head as she drifted off to sleep now swirled around mine.”

On his notes about the experience that led to Painting Life, he added “I realized that by going from the gallery to her studio to her bedroom I had done more than just change spaces, I’d stepped deeper and deeper into her mind. Her paintings danced inside me: they had backstories that I now knew! I was watching her art be freed of its frame, and seeing the humanity of its creator shine through. I wanted to figure out a way to share this epiphany with others. How could I let you into her work, into her world?”

He knew VR could hold a key, but it wasn’t clear how.  A month later, when Wyatt Roy went to a workshop at MIT on photogrammetry, which uses photos to make 3D models of objects, he discovered how it could be done. He remembers saying: “So the tools existed, I just had to learn them. I called Emma, asking if she’d be keen to collaborate on a weird and intimate VR “spatial story”. She said it would be no problem to have her entire life scanned. Two years later, it’s launched and publicly available on the Oculus Store!

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VRInside Emma’s studio, now six inches tall

Painting Life was launched on May 2020, only for Oculus Rift and Quest – and only at the Oculus Store -, which is a pity, because it’s the type of content that should be available for all VR platforms, as a good example of how artists can use Virtual Reality to share their work. In this case Emma Webster’s paintings. Painting Life is an exploratory story based on real life. Using photogrammetry and binaural audio, the developers captured a moment in time for Emma Webster, a rising American artist.

In Painting Life the user starts in the art gallery where she hosted her first solo show after graduating from Yale Painting School with an MFA in 2017. One of her paintings shifts as you look at it — and you can jump into it. Once inside, you find yourself in Emma’s studio, now six inches tall. One of Emma’s sculptures, a clay figurine called Noodle-Arm, guides you through the story as you go deeper into Emma’s spaces, her process, and her mind.

Painting Life: an exhibit that is very much alive, thanks to VRPainting Life is an adventure of discovery that feels a little bit like Alice in Wonderland. It’s an interactive experience, where you can not only go around and inside the paintings, but you also need to discover ways to climb onto platforms that, due to your small size, turn into gigantic obstacles. It’s, from my point of view, one of the most interesting modern experiences in Virtual Reality and one you should add to your library, along with the previous titles suggested here at ProVideo Coalition, from The Scream to Dreams of Dalí or Claude Monet, The Water Lily Obsession documentary.

Venice International Film Festival: a call for emerging filmmakers

Venice International Film Festival: a call for emerging filmmakersNow in its tenth edition, Biennale College – Cinema, the higher education workshop of La Biennale di Venezia, is calling for emerging filmmakers to develop their films for the 2022 edition of the festival.

The organizers of the Venice International Film Festival 2021 have announced the international call of the 10th edition of the Biennale College – Cinema is being launched on the website www.labiennale.org, inviting the participation of teams from around the world, composed of directors making their debut or sophomore films, associated with producers who have made at least three audio-visual works, or a feature-length fiction film, or a documentary, distributed and/or presented at festivals.

The Biennale College – Cinema is the higher education workshop of La Biennale di Venezia, created for emerging filmmakers to develop and produce microbudget feature-length films that will be presented at the Venice International Film Festival. Nine microbudget projects will be invited to participate in a development workshop from October 2nd to 11th 2021, along with the three projects selected from the Italian call (Biennale College – Cinema Italia) which was launched earlier, on February 15th, and closed on April 7th.

The announcement of the twelve projects selected for the educational workshop in October will be made during the 78th Venice International Film Festival 2021 directed by Alberto Barbera (1 – 11 September 2021). After that, the two separate sections of the tenth edition of the College Cinema programme, BCC-Italia and BCC-International, will move along the same track, leading to the selection and presentation of up to four microbudget feature-length films at the 79th Venice International Film Festival 2022.

Venice International Film Festival: a call for emerging filmmakersPromoting new talents

Here is a brief description of the goals:

  • To complement and enrich the Venice International Film Festival with works by new talents, sponsored by La Biennale di Venezia and developed and produced in an advanced workshop for training, research and experimentation that will admit, at the end of a selection process, young filmmakers from all over the world.  The workshop will cover the conception, development, production, direction, marketing, audience engagement and distribution of audiovisual works.
  • To further research into micro and low-budget productions, which in times of economic crisis have become one of the few opportunities for young talents to make the leap into directing feature-length audiovisual works.
  • To promote and support the production of up to 3 International audiovisual work longer than 60 minutes, following a year long series of activities.
  • To present the selected works at the 79th Venice International Film Festival of La Biennale di Venezia, and to stream them online on the Festival’s Sala Web virtual theatre, addressing one of the most sensitive issues in independent filmmaking today, visibility.

Biennale College Cinema has now reached the 10th edition: a strategic programme for training new filmmakers from all around the world, which was already operating in the Dance, Music, Theatre Section of La Biennale di Venezia. Biennale College fosters new talents, allowing them to work in contact with masters in order to develop new creations. Overall, since 2012, the workshop has awarded the Biennale grants to produce 24 feature-length films (costing no more than 150 thousand euro each), promoting new talents that have established their names nationally and internationally and were selected from over 2000 applicants from all around the world.

Venice International Film Festival: a call for emerging filmmakersBiennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality

Since 2016 there the initiative also covers Virtual Reality projects – the Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality. For the 2019/2020 edition six projects and six teams composed of a director and a producer were selected. These VR projects last between 10 and 20 minutes, and tutors and experts support them along the way through every aspect of the creative process, the production and the process of building an audience, identifying target markets and finding funding.

During the 78th Venice International Film Festival an International Call will be launched to select 10 VR projects presented by teams of director and producer, coming from all over the world. According to the organizers, up to one team will receive a grant of up to 60,000 euros and the selected VR project will be presented at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in 2022.

The call now announced, Biennale College – Cinema, aimed at emerging filmmakers, will be open until 1 July 2021. To know more about the initiative read the complete official text of the Biennale College Cinema international call, where the organizers explain in detail all aspects related to the workshops, travel expenses and other important rules for participants.

The 78th Venice International Film Festival 2021 will be a return to some sense of normality, with the events taking place in Venice at Giardini, Arsenale, Lido, and in other venues in the city and the mainland, according to the organizers.

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: live entertainment is back!

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: live entertainment is back!Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Tribeca ushers in the return of live entertainment as the first major North American film festival to be held in person. But there will also be a Tribeca at Home version!

In a historic culmination of New York State’s statewide initiative, NY PopsUp, to bring live entertainment back, the Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, announced plans to transform prominent locations into an expansive 12-day multi-screen outdoor celebration. The event will take place from June 9-20 and will span all boroughs from Battery Park to the Bronx, the East Side to the West Side; downtown to uptown and from Brooklyn to Staten Island.

“The Tribeca Film Festival was born out of our mission to bring people together in the aftermath of 9/11. We’re still doing it. And as New York emerges from the shadow of Covid-19, it seems just right to bring people together again in-person for our 20th anniversary festival.” said Robert De Niro, co-founder of Tribeca Festival.

So, in partnership with some of the most iconic outdoor sites, festival-goers will safely gather together once again to celebrate live entertainment with their fellow New Yorkers as the festival welcomes back the entertainment community. The following venues have been confirmed to take part in the expanded footprint and innovative approach to screening films: Brookfield Place New York, Pier 57 Rooftop, The Battery, Hudson Yards (Manhattan); Empire Outlets (Staten Island), and The MetroTech Commons (Brooklyn).

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: live entertainment is back!
Brookfield Place New York in Battery Park City – Photo Credit: Overland Entertainment

The first mobile HD screens

In addition to the venues, Tribeca will host community screenings in all New York City boroughs including the Bronx and Queens using traveling 40-foot state-of-the-art LED cinemas, the first mobile HD screens in the country.

“After the 9/11 attacks, the Tribeca Film Festival helped set the stage for New York City’s incredible comeback – and helped spur a new golden age for film and TV production across the five boroughs,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “This year the festival is once again shining a spotlight on our city’s resilience and creativity, and just as we’ve done from the start, Bloomberg is glad to support this great tradition, which will once again help lift our city’s spirit.”

“It’s only natural that The Tribeca Film Festival will be among those leading the return of arts and culture, as it has consistently enriched the lives of New Yorkers since its inception, by celebrating and showcasing our city,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “This year’s festival at The Battery is just the beginning, as Lower Manhattan continues to develop as a new center of gravity for the arts.”

Since its founding twenty years ago to help revitalize lower Manhattan through the arts, Tribeca has created opportunities and championed emerging storytellers. The tradition will continue this year with diverse programming, immersive exhibitions, games, films, concerts and a commemoration of the Juneteenth holiday, which will fall on Closing Night for the first time.

“Our collaboration with Tribeca allows us to utilize our innovative technology, to connect audiences with underrepresented voices and storytellers,” said Patricia Jacobs, President – Northern Region, AT&T. “We’re thrilled to be able to share our platform, which is committed to amplifying the voices of the next generation visionaries, with a live, in-person audience again!”

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: live entertainment is back!
The Battery – a render of one of the selected locations – Photo Credit: Overland Entertainment

Public gatherings and COVID-19 protocols

“The story of the Tribeca Film Festival, like New York’s, is a story of resiliency and reinvention. The festival was born from the idea that we can mourn and heal through the power of storytelling and coming together as a community. Today, as we emerge from the worst of a horrific pandemic, it’s events like the Tribeca Film Festival that will give New Yorkers hope for a better and brighter future in the days ahead,” added Scott Rechler, CEO and Chairman of RXR Realty and Chair of the Regional Plan Association.

“The Battery Park City Authority is excited at the opportunity to partner with The Tribeca Film Festival for their 2021 Festival,” said George J. Tsunis, Chairman of Battery Park City Authority.

Tribeca Festival is working in concert with the New York State Department of Health to ensure all public gatherings are in full compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: live entertainment is back!Tribeca At Home: in the U.S. only

Although the Tribeca Film Festival is going back to its regular, in person, format, the recent experience with online festivals is not forgotten, and for the first time ever, the Tribeca Festival will have a virtual hub, Tribeca At Home, an online platform to offer audiences, unable to attend the live, in-person events taking place June 9-20 across New York City this year, a flexible option to join in the fun from the comfort of their couch.

The new Tribeca Online Premieres section will invite festival-goers from around the country the opportunity to share and engage in making the festival experience even more dynamic and accessible to everyone. With a robust lineup of exciting new films, shorts and documentaries planned, the hub will also include an immersive showcase of 14 VR selections, various podcasts and games programming. Tribeca will offer virtual audiences exclusive online premiere screenings to coincide with its live, in-person events.

Premieres include films featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, Billie Eilish and Chris Paul, and the Hopeful Future of Ferguson, MO. The carefully curated films will be exclusively available to online audiences in the U.S. only. Tribeca at Home virtual screenings are available for advance purchase at https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets.

Tribeca Film Festival 2021: live entertainment is back!

First Tribeca Online was in 2011

Movie-goers will also be able to purchase tickets to special online encore screenings of features and short films following their premieres at New York City venues. Exclusive virtual festival-style Q&As with the creators and cast will follow many of the feature films where online audiences can tune in to the panel discussions.

“Tribeca at Home allows us to bring the heart of our festival to even more communities around the country,” said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Festival Co-Founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “While we are excited to gather in person this year with our live screenings reaching every corner of NYC, festival-goers and the at-home audiences will have more access to a diverse lineup of storytellers than ever before.

“Tribeca first brought the festival experience into audience’s homes in 2011 with the launch of our Tribeca Online Film Festival, and again as the first festival of 2020 to announce virtual programming,” said Cara Cusumano, Festival Director and VP of Programming. “Now as we celebrate a return to in-person events in 2021, we are excited to also continue to cultivate our nationwide festival family with this new evolution of virtual programming into a permanent festival section.

This Unique Nikon Lens Can Capture 360-Degree Views With No Stitching

A designer duo has created a first-of-its-kind lens that can record 360-degree spherical video content that doesn’t need to be stitched in post-processing and can be used with any conventional camera.

Rob Englert and Meyer Giordano are two experienced industrial and interaction designers with a particular interest in augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and have worked with brands such as Bose, Chobani, KODAK, RIDGID, and others. Together, they founded the (sphere) optics brand under which they developed the unique (sphere) Pro1 lens, which can capture everything in full 360-degree view, and creates shooting opportunities that otherwise would not be possible.

What makes it unique is that this lens eliminates the stitching process normally found in spherical or VR content production that combines the perspective of multiple cameras and lenses together. Additionally, creators can also use their existing camera and workflow with the Pro1 as opposed to needing wholly separate equipment.

The idea for the lens was born out of personal experiences after Englert lost his young brother. This life-changing moment happened long before everyone had smartphones in their pockets, which left Englert with almost no memories captured of his brother in a video format.

This fuelled his drive to use all of his skills as an industrial designer “to explore different ways to capture moments in time,” which can later be revisited over and over again. He says that he would “give almost anything for just a couple more minutes” with his brother, and although that is not possible anymore, he hopes it can be made possible for others in the future.

Lens Design

Originally, the novel lens was developed as part of the duo’s ongoing work on AR and VR technologies, with the inclusion of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the project’s funding process. Both designers were producing 360-degree videos, using multi-camera arrays in a housing that they had designed and 3D-printed. The process was arduous because the content was recorded across several cameras and the final output needed stitching. They separated each video into frames, combined each set of frames into a panorama, and then recompiled it as a video. Even then, the final product would still have knit lines visible where the views were merged.

Both designers spent a lot of time reviewing how this process could be improved, which is where the idea of a single lens and single-camera setup originated. Instead of using optical design software, they created potential shapes as 3D models and then simulated the result using regular 3D rendering software, which eventually, after some trial and error, gave them a potential physical prototype. They still had to test it in a real-life scenario, which meant the prototype had to be made by hand. Once finessed, they began working with optics professionals to further refine the design and get one step closer to a finished lens.

To cover 100-percent of the environment with the lens, they started with a regular circular fisheye lens with a field of view of approximately 180-degrees and mounted a mirror that reflects its image downward like a periscope in front of it. Then, using the cross-section of this setup, they extruded it in a circle around the axis of the mirror, which ended up with several donut-shaped lens elements around a cone-shaped mirror, which then provided the 180-degree vertical field of view of the original fisheye design as well as a 360-degree horizontal view from being revolved around the center.

The current design of the lens has 12 elements: one reflective — the mirror — and 11 refractive, including twi torus-shaped elements that surround the mirror. Most of the elements of this lens are just as unique as the design itself and cannot be found in any other existing lenses.

The parts are made from specialist engineering plastics — using a family of materials called cyclic olefin copolymers — in a process called single-point diamond turning, which is the only way to generate the complex aspheric forms that make the lens design possible. These plastics have similar optical properties to glass, but are much lighter and easier to shape, and are used in top-end scientific applications, like space telescopes.

The duo chose to go with Nikon F-mount because it’s easily adaptable to most other common standards, making it easier for content creators to use the equipment they already have instead of investing in a completely new system while maintaining full control over the image at all times. The single-lens construction also allows capturing content that a standard VR setup couldn’t due to space limitations.

The lens has a fixed f/8 aperture and uses a 1mm focal length. It is 150 millimeters (5.9 inches) wide and 198 millimeters (7.8 inches) long and weighs 1.8 kg (4 lbs).

Currently, these lenses are produced extremely slowly. They are fabricated one unit at a time and assembled by hand, which makes the individual cost quite high. However, with a large order, the duo says that costs could be significantly reduced by molding most of the elements. The two believe that this lens can benefit a wide range of industries from film, documentary, gaming, and entertainment, all the way to engineering, military, surveying, and more.

Photo and Video Footage

For stills, the lens produces a circular image with a black void in the center. The area near the center of the image corresponds to the forward end of the lens, and the outer periphery of the image circle is the direction facing the camera body. In their words, “It looks a lot like the black hole from ‘Interstellar.’”

Converted equirectangular of same image, as above, shot in Big Bear CA.
(sphere) Pro1 lens was used to help NASA document the James Webb Space Telescope at Goddard Space Flight Center as part of its journey to space.

The circular image can be used as-is if desired, but most 360-degree video players use the standard equirectangular format. For this reason, (sphere) provides an ST map, which is an image that acts as a positional lookup table to tell the computer how to rearrange the pixels. This is also commonly used to remove lens distortion and internally is similar to what Adobe Camera Raw’s distortion correction does. The duo says that Adobe could add specific support for this if they desired.

Designers have also created 3D meshes that can be inserted into game engines, such as Unity or Unreal, to unwrap the image in real-time, “which is very useful either to act as a monitor for recording or to facilitate live streaming to VR headsets.” Overall, the process of converting (sphere) videos to VR experiences is simple and can be done on iOS and Android devices, the designers claim.

Get Involved

To fund the project and the ongoing development, the team offers high resolution, fully immersive VR moments as limited edition NFTs on Mintable. These moments were filmed using the lens and buyers can use their VR headset to virtually enter the place and time captured. The purchase includes the video in standard equirectangular format at 8K resolution for viewing via VR headset, along with the native circular projection of the (sphere) Pro 1 lens at the native 4,048 x 4,048 resolution.

Additionally, the company offers a token that can be exchanged for a physical copy of the (sphere) Pro1 lens as more units become available. You can also view a (sphere) gallery with more image samples here.

Space Explorers: the largest production ever filmed in space

Space Explorers: the largest production ever filmed in spaceNow that space tourism is the next big thing, accept the invitation made by Felix & Paul Studios and join eight astronauts on life-changing missions aboard the International Space Station, using VR.

There are multiple VR experiences that offer you a glimpse of the International Space Station, but Space Explorers: The ISS Experience beats them all. Still, if you’re curious about the subject check titles as International Space Station Tour VR, from The House of Fables, or Mission ISS, from Magnopus, to mention two of them, available for different VR headsets, which offer different perspectives and interactivity levels when it comes to the ISS.

In International Space Station Tour VR, you join astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from the European Space Agency (ESA) as you step aboard the International Space Station. Guided by the holder of the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight for a European astronaut you will learn about the inner-workings of the International Space Station. Moving between 8 modules you will uncover over 40 key areas of the space station that serve as the living quarters and science laboratory for an international crew of astronauts and cosmonauts.

Mission ISS is more of an interactive journey, inviting users to do things like dock cargo capsules, conduct spacewalks, and “perform mission-critical tasks” just like real astronauts. A virtual reality collaboration between Oculus and three space agencies – NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency – it was designed by visual effects studio Magnopus based on NASA space station models and conversations with astronauts.

Space Explorers: the largest production ever filmed in spaceThe largest production ever filmed in space

Space Explorers: The ISS Experience is different, starting with the fact that it uses real footage shot by astronauts at the Space Station, and it is the largest production ever filmed in space. It’s not a single app but an epic four-part immersive series that invites you to join eight astronauts on life-changing missions aboard the International Space Station. Shot over a long period of time with exclusive access to the crew, The ISS Experience offers an intimate take on the joy, wonder, and dangers of life in orbit.

Felix & Paul started its Space Explorers VR series before with two episodes about the new age of space exploration, which aim to shine a light on mankind’s most ambitious journey to understand our planet, our universe and our origins. The Space Explorers: The ISS Experience takes the whole concept of the Space Explorers series further. The previous episodes available are:

  • Space Explorers: The Journey Begins – Taking Flight
    Witness the camaraderie and partnership of private and public space programs from different nations, as they work together to unlock scientific and technological breakthroughs in the name of deep space exploration. Duration: 20 minutes
  • Space Explorers: The Journey Begins – A New Dawn
    In this new age of space exploration, immerse yourself into the exhilarating training of a select class of young astronauts as they navigate their trials and sacrifices in preparation for their first mission to space. Duration: 19 minutes

To these first explorations of the Space Explorers project Felix & Paul Studios added in recent months the two first episodes dedicated to the International Space Station:

  • Space Explorers: The ISS Experience – Advance
    Astronauts perform critical experiments that push the boundaries of life in space as three crew members prepare to return to earth. Duration: 33 minutes
  • Space Explorers: The ISS Experience – Adapt
    Astronauts arrive at the International Space Station and discover the joy, wonder and danger of living in space. Duration: 29 minutes

Two more episodes are announced, Episode 3, titled Unite, for the Fall 2021, and Episode 4, titled Expand, arriving during the Winter 2021. For the fourth episode a special camera was delivered to the ISS last October via the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft, the S.S. Kalpana Chawla. The Space Camera was needed to capture the first-ever spacewalk filmed in cinematic virtual reality as the culmination of Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, produced by Felix & Paul Studios and TIME Studios.

Space Explorers: the largest production ever filmed in spaceVisit the ISS from home for only $12

“An immersive series titled ‘The ISS Experience’ would not be complete without taking viewers along for the ultimate ride: a spacewalk outside the International Space Station side by side with two real astronauts,” said Félix Lajeunesse, co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios and Emmy-winning creative director of the Space Explorers series. “Our Space Camera, purpose-built to capture this historic event in fully-immersive 3D, brings us one step closer to our goal of taking billions of minds to space, and having them experience a spacewalk as if they were astronauts themselves.”

The four episodes in the Space Explorers: The ISS Experience series will cost you close to $12, a fair price to pay for a ticket to visit the ISS. If you’re willing to spend some more money, the Space Explorers: The Journey Begins two episodes might be the best way to explore the adventure of space conquer from the comfort of your home. There is also a special free trailer edition of The ISS Experience that gives you a taste of the whole experience and may just get you hooked.

The Space Explorers: The ISS Experience is not a CGI experience but real footage from inside the International Space Station. It’s best viewed as a seated, forward-facing experience that is comfortable for most people to watch. Felix & Paul Studios have evolved since their first VR experiences and the results are clearly visible. The next episodes will be interesting to watch, specially the one dedicated to the space walk. While this content may be experienced in different platforms, only VR gives you the full immersion perspective, making the experience unique.

Space Explorers: the largest production ever filmed in space

The only NASA-approved studio to film the ISS

The Felix & Paul Studios clearly know their way around VR by now. The EMMY Award-winning creator of immersive entertainment experiences, creating unparalleled, highly engaging and inspired virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences for audiences worldwide. Their portfolio now includes collaborations with world-renowned leaders and performers: NASA, SpaceX, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, LeBron James, President Bill Clinton, Eminem, Wes Anderson, Brie Larson, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray and many others.

With titles as Traveling While Black, MIYUBI, the Nomads series, Strangers with Patrick Watson and The Confessional series, the studio’s content is available for distribution in a range of immersive formats including 360-degree mobile on 5G-enabled smartphones and tablets, 360-degree fulldome projection in domes and planetariums, fully-immersive virtual reality (VR) on Oculus headsets, giant screens, and life-scale immersive exhibits. Although

Felix & Paul Studios is the only media company in the world recognized as an “Official Implementation Partner” by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. What this means is that they are the only NASA-approved studio with the capacity to film in ultra-high-definition 3D, 360° virtual reality aboard – and outside – the International Space Station.  The Felix & Paul Studios’ experienced production team has significant shooting experience in Low-Earth orbit along with years of successful collaboration with astronauts and ground teams to articulate complex shooting schedules and requirements. All that know-how supports the unique perspective that you have when you put on your Virtual Reality headset and enter Space Explorers: The ISS Experience.

Along with The Edgar Mitchell Overview Effect VR Experience, this title from Felix & Paul Studios gives users access to all the excitement of seeing Earth from above. Even the free trailer from Space Explorers: The ISS Experience is a good addition to any Virtual Reality library, so please add it to yours. It’s a pity, though, that the Space Explorers series is only available for Oculus VR headsets when it comes to Virtual Reality.

Colette: how a video game company won an Oscar

Colette: how a video game company won an OscarCreated as part of a VR video game, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, the short documentary Colette is one unexpected winner at the most recent edition of the Oscars.

Marking the first time a video game company has been nominated and awarded an Oscar, Colette is directed by Anthony Giacchino and was originally featured in Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, an action-packed immersive VR experience set in World War II, where you step into the boots of an agent of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in war torn Europe during the Second World War. A deep single-player campaign takes you through historic events on land, air, and sea, sabotaging Nazi bases, subverting enemy plans, aiding the French Resistance, and much, much more.

Colette: how a video game company won an OscarThe Medal of Honor series, a first-person shooter video game, started in 1999, based on a story created by film director and producer Steven Spielberg. Developed by DreamWorks Interactive and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation. In real life, the Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States government’s highest and most prestigious military decoration that may be awarded to recognize American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, Space Force guardians, and coast guardsmen who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor.

The Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond continues that tradition in new and unique ways. Using interviews and 360° footage, the team responsible for the production had, as they note, “the privilege of capturing powerful first-hand stories from combat veterans of the war, using state-of-the-art technology to preserve their stories for future generations.” As part of that treasure trove of memories was Colette, a short documentary that follows the emotional journey of a 90-year old former French Resistance fighter who travels to Germany for the first time after World War II.

Colette: how a video game company won an OscarNominated as a documentary short

As Colette was being completed in 2019, the studios recognized the cinematic value and timely message of the film and decided to share it with the world before the game was released. The film premiered at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2020 where it won Best Documentary short, qualifying it for an Oscar nomination. That was the first of several festival awards. It also had a theatrical release at Maysles Documentary Center. In partnership with Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Oculus Studios, Colette was distributed by The Guardian documentaries, where it’s streaming worldwide. This is the first Oscar-nominated documentary produced by a gaming company and distributed by a news organization.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards, Colette was one of films announced in the category of Documentary Short Subject, competing against A Concerto is a Conversation, Do Not Split, Hunger Ward and A Love Song for Natasha. On April 25th Respawn went to Twitter with a note. “Colette is ready for the Oscars tonight, where the short film documentary that shares her name is nominated. Today is also her 92nd birthday.” The Night of the Oscars a new enthusiastic tweet from Respawn: “We’re over the moon about Colette’s Best Documentary (Short Subject) #Oscars win tonight! From Vince, Peter, and all of us at Respawn, we are humbled and honored. Thank you.”

“We could not be more proud of Anthony Giacchino and the team’s work in bringing Colette’s story to life as part of Medal of Honor, a video game franchise rooted in history and the retelling of veterans’ stories to generations for years to come,” said Peter Hirschmann, Creative Director at Respawn Entertainment, who wrote and directed the original Medal of Honor and returned to write and direct Above and Beyond. “As we continue to take steps towards further legitimizing the creativity and passion of those in the games industry, we hope this is the first of many Oscars for video game companies who have shown time and time again how powerful and impactful storytelling through this interactive medium can be.”

Colette: how a video game company won an OscarThe story of Colette Marin-Catherine

The documentary short follows, as noted earlier, Colette Marin-Catherine, one of the last living members of the French Resistance, as she returns to Germany for the first time in 74 years. Colette had refused to step foot in the country since the conclusion of World War II, but that changed when a young history student named Lucie Fouble entered her life and encouraged her to visit the concentration camp where the Nazis killed her brother. Prepared to re-open old wounds and revisit the terrors of that time, Marin-Catherine offers important lessons for us all.

“We originally met Colette while scouting filming locations in France,” revealed filmmaker Anthony Giacchino when the documentary was nominated. “It was imperative that we go beyond the use of archival footage because we’re running out of time to preserve these oral histories. Whether this documentary wins or loses, we’re fortunate to have heard Colette’s story and played a small part in bringing healing to one of the last survivors of the French Resistance and all it stood for.”

The rest is history: Colette has won the Academy Award in the category of best documentary short. If you want to know more about the whole project, read the interview with filmmaker Anthony Giacchino and producer Alice Doyard where they explain how a young history student persuaded Colette, 90, to visit the German concentration camp where her brother died. Also follow the links to other stories about the whole project and… watch the documentary. Have some Kleenex ready!