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Monday, October 1, 2018

VIFF Immersed - Notes from the VR story telling conference

Attended my first VR event at the Vancouver International Film Festival - Immersed event. They brought in some great speakers from studios around the world which was pretty impressive. I was pretty surprised being able to meet Kent from the Voices of VR amd the co-founder of Scatter who created Zero days VR. I was most impressed with Navid from inkStories and local Vancouver talent Paisley Smith who created Homestay. Here are the summary of the key points I took away from the conference.

State of the industry - Based on Green Light Insights Presentation
  • How many years away do people in the VR industry feel VR is from mass adoption based on twice a year survey. 40% feel it is 3-5 years away and another 40% feel there is still 5 - 10 years.
  • We are in the trough of disillusionment
  • Venture Capital funding is still very much wild west. Most VC interest is in enterprise apps and Augmented reality. Funding has slowed. Seems like investors are waiting to see how things turn out.
  • Still very early on for VR since we are dealing with 1st and 2nd gen tech.
  • Surveys show that ~50% of organizations have only made 1 or 2-3 VR apps and not many are above 4+
  • VR tech is getting better with more 4k displays hitting the market.
  • Location based exhibitions ( The Void  or VR Arcades) are still dealing with the challenge of getting repeat monthly customers
  • Social interactivity within VR is of high interest to Millennial(80%) and Gen Z(75%). 
  • Monetizing is still a challenge for VR cinematic content - not very many advertisers have created 360 ads 

Distribution and finding an audience for your VR cinematic content 
Samsung VR app & Littlestar
  • Samsung VR - For people publishing VR cinematic content, this is a platform that you should upload to as well. Cross platform across Oculus Go, Gear VR with the other VR platforms coming soon. They plans to implement monetization for creators in 2019. Has analytic and heat map tracking to see where people are viewing in your video. Also, your account provides you with 100 gig video cloud storage. 
  • Littlestar is also another place to upload that is cross platform

VR Story telling tips
  • Ask yourself, why should this story or experience be told using VR. Think about why VR makes this a better experience and  how its different from other platforms.
  • One of the unique key strengths of VR is the ability to interact with the world and other characters. Not all choices given to the player need to effect the main story plot and make the story branch. Give choices to the character that allow the player to emotionally connect to the main character and get invested in the story. 
  • Audio was reiterated as being super important multiple times and viewers dont realize that 50% of the time for why the experience is good is because of audio. 
  • Use Twine to help with story boarding for nonlinear stories.
  • Google team's tips - Reward curiosity, Google have things to view even in the back of a 360 viewing experience. Don't try to punish viewers for not looking where the main action is. 
  • Beginning of the game experience is hardest. Need to give the character a stimulus or something new every 15 seconds to keep them engaged. Challenge is to make the choices or stimulus interesting without it being redundant for the sake of keeping them engaged.
-Stevie Vu

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