NAB Show’s Immersive Storytelling Pavilion brings together a key group of companies that have made important strides in the rapidly evolving world of immersive storytelling. By focusing less on specific approaches such as VR, AR and 360-viewing and more on the overall experience that falls under these headings, the pavilion will provide attendees with a broad overview of the newest tools and techniques available.
“I like the name ‘Immersive Storytelling’ because that really refers to the challenge that everybody is trying to solve; it’s kind of the Holy Grail,” said Thomas Wallner, pavilion exhibitor and founder of Liquid Cinema. “VR is a very broad term. 360 video is not VR. 360 video involves VR headsets to achieve an immersive experience, but it’s not true VR.”
Wallner will be there with Liquid Cinema Inc., the company behind the Windows- based software platform/authoring tool set LiquidCinema, which is designed for filmmakers working in a 360 medium. Projects at companies worldwide make use of the LiquidCinema technology to help maximize the benefits, and remove the obstacles, of immersive storytelling.
Aspects of what we think of as “storytelling” are hindered when the viewer can look in any direction, sometimes 180 degrees away from the action most important to a story. Liquid Cinema Inc.’s tool, “forced perspective,” allows the author/editor to decide which part of a 360 landscape the user can see.
“You might see a 360-degree view of a vast outdoor area,” Wallner said, “but the most important thing at that moment is a small frog in the foreground. Without being obvious about what’s happening, this allows you to make sure viewers see that frog; that they aren’t looking somewhere else at that moment. This is something that sounds simple, but is very complex. We’re seeing wide adoption because it addresses something that’s been a very big issue for 360 storytelling.”
SGO is known to many NAB Show attendees for its Mistika finishing systems such as Mistika Ultima. Last year at the show, it also introduced Mistika VR, a subscription- based service for Windows and Mac platforms. This year, it will be at the pavilion, having seen Mistika VR put to real-world use.
“We are seeing lots and lots of different content being produced,” said Geoff Mills, U.K.-based managing director of the Spanish company. “There are lots of different uses of the content, and many different ways of viewing it. Obviously, what companies like YouTube and Facebook are doing in pushing the 360, and also the 180 sort of view, is driving this increasing need to create more and better content.”
SGO will be in the pavilion showing how Mistika VR and Mistika Ultima can work together to handle finishing and stitching duties within a single platform. “But we won’t just be there to show off Mistika,” Mills said. “We also will provide a bit of education too. It will be well worthwhile for anybody at the show who’s interested in the exciting world of immersive storytelling to spend some time in this pavilion.”
Israeli company HumanEyes Technologies has spent 16 years in multiple businesses, including 3D printing, computer animation and 3D graphics, and the past four years applying much of its efforts toward immersive viewing technology.
Jim Malcolm, general manager for North America, talked about the original Vuze VR camera. The company, he said, is highly invested in creating image capture systems such as camera and playback tools like the HumanEyes zone, a mobile VR platform for making and hosting websites in VR.
“If you are a creator today, you are likely into going to NAB Show. You’re likely producing content for one of three screens,” Malcolm explained, “TV in the living room, a computer on a desk or a mobile phone. But there’s also the fourth screen — the VR headset — that’s becoming more and more important. Admittedly, there are only about 15 million of those ‘screens’ in the market right now, but that’s going to change significantly.
“So if you think of the VR headset as a destination device for playback,” he added, “there are certain tools, equipment, techniques, software, distribution platforms, that [content creators] will use when creating something for a virtual reality headset. We and the others will provide many of those answers in the Immersive Storytelling Pavilion.”