first look at sansar [and yes: the marketplace is already here!]

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first look at sansar [and yes: the marketplace is already here!]

did someone say we must create a vr world where users like you and me [not only big game companies and experienced devs] can monetize their imagination?

just another meet-up in sansar

just another meet-up in sansar

something as freeing and economically empowering as second life, only with consistent framerates, higher visual fidelity and compatible with current vr headsets as well as mobile?

indeed someone did and i suppose that someone was a decision maker at linden lab sometime in the past - 2 or 3 years ago? -  and that goal was pursued, under the radar, quietly, thoroughly, ndas have been signed by content makers but now finally we can see a little glimpse of what is the start of possibly the impossible...

i shall now stop rambling onward in this semi-coherent flowery language and bring you a video that is 93 seconds long and may be followed by many others as the weeks move on:

make sure to check out sansar's website and sign up for creator preview will you? we need you and we need diversity and we need.....well: we need to calm down about the exciting future i suppose....

[thx so much to loz hyde and the little drax for letting me bug them with ye olde camera...]

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second life soon in 360?

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second life soon in 360?

What if there were a gigantic user-created virtual world where one could put down a virtual 6-camera rig and film action in real time for virtual sequences to complement RL 360 video?

filming myself saves costs for actors!

filming myself saves costs for actors!

As opposed to painstakingly construct CGI worlds, rig characters, code camera paths etc etc etc to achieve such sequences? And have fun to boot cause after all: avatars in SL represent real people who for the most part have fabulous acting skills!

The above thought prompted me to assemble a team and investigate the possibilities of getting decent resolution 360 Machinima from Second Life. 

And may I say that first tests have proven to be very very exhilarating!

Now: we are all pretty realistic folk: Arduenn Schwartzmann who created the simulated GoPro Rig in-world and the sync mechanism and Phil Thoma who is working on post production, trying to get a template going to cut down time for the painful stitching process [which is no fun in RL either btw!] however given the fact that Second Life with its beautiful diversity and breadth of content and activities is right there [in a persistent way if you will], the prospect of 360 videos to flood the YouTubes and show the vibrancy of SL in even modest resolution is very enticing.

I'd stipulate that what we have now is very competitive in visual fidelity to hobbyist footage coming from Ricoh Theta and Samsung Gear 360, so our SL stuff is nothing to be ashamed of.

Also, a notable side effect of our experiments: the mainstream tech press - which has been chasing the shiny new squirrel of VR all the while neglecting [unsurprisingly so] existing successful examples of empowering digital platforms that have not lost their validity - has picked up the story, possibly due to our pal James T. Reichert watching our 1920s Berlin test through Hololens!

In any event: onward and hopefully some kind of usable workflow or commercial service will come out of these experiments soon[ish]. 

Let's film and see!

 

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i don't blog enough but metube2 demands i do it now!

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i don't blog enough but metube2 demands i do it now!

i am aware that the lamest title anyone could use on their blog is something to the effect of "sorry i been away for a year/we had to raise 3 children/my internet was cut off because comcast hates me/i will vow to blog daily now unless my mom demands that i clean my room"...

in lieu of some such apologies i give you guys a gift instead: the online premiere of metube2 happened last weekend in vienna and now everyone can see this little gem - everyone on the planet with an internet connection, not just those elitist snobs from sundance.

staff pick on vimeo = not so shabby elfie....

staff pick on vimeo = not so shabby elfie....

the credit list is huge on this one, especially in the post departments and the emphasis of the film is of course on real wacky visual.

people in sport shorts cutting the official metube cake

people in sport shorts cutting the official metube cake

but you know what they say? "in a music video the music is actually more than 50% of the success" or something similar, i forgot the exact quote...or did i just make this up? mmhhhh...

in any event, frank zappa would have rolled his eyes at the prevalence of music videos as a means to sell artists in a crowded marketplace but metube is obviously a lot more than a promotional vehicle: it is the depiction - in an almost jodorowsky-type fashion of the life and times of the fictional character august and his mother elfie, the ongoing saga of a man-child if you will.

cheerleaders confuse the robo-cam as raoul looks on with utter calmness of a pro...

cheerleaders confuse the robo-cam as raoul looks on with utter calmness of a pro...

whatever people say: this is an actual artistic short film with orff's carmina burana functioning as but one protagonist in a multitude of crazy protagonists.

august loves the green - in all worlds....

august loves the green - in all worlds....

conductor oksana lyniv says "not like this my dear bavarians..." during recording session of "carmina burana" in munich

conductor oksana lyniv says "not like this my dear bavarians..." during recording session of "carmina burana" in munich

the orchestral performance is superb as expected from the bavarian state opera but the musicians and singers just as much as i producing the score had to blend in with the story to make it a integrated experience.

pianist thinks to himself: "why did i not become a nurse practitioner or a bus driver..."

pianist thinks to himself: "why did i not become a nurse practitioner or a bus driver..."

 

i am proud to have been given the opportunity to collaborate with this fine team, especially my partner in sound philip preuss, whose remix is simply rockin'!

it was extremely cool to hang with the team in vienna at tischtennis center and see them in person for the first time. check out actor raoul and his mad ping-pong skills beating nadja hluchovsky from the make-up department:

 

but now = watch metube2, enjoy, comment and share!

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we are going to sundance...again!

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we are going to sundance...again!

well, it is pretty darn crazy but it is also true: we are nominated for "best foreign short" again at this year's sundance film festival in park city utah.

out of some 10k submissions they chose our wacky interpretation of carl orff's "carmina burana".

elfie - star of metube 1 - again in a starring role...

elfie - star of metube 1 - again in a starring role...

maybe it helped that i went to carl-orff high school in the early 80ties? we shall never know because robert redford don't talk 'bout those things...

this logo was made in 1981 by students and they never changed it...

this logo was made in 1981 by students and they never changed it...

anyhow: i will be flying out there for 5 days and participate in panels surrounding our film "metube2" but also hope to see some mind boggling vr related content, because you guessed it: vr is a big buzz word at sundance this year just like everywhere else [nonny dela pena will be there as well]

scary just to think about it... can't wait to try though....

scary just to think about it... can't wait to try though....

i will report back on the drax files radio hour, collecting audio from all the major players as i go along...

another project by nonny together with bavc alumnus brad lichtenstein = to be showcased at "new frontier" @ sundance

another project by nonny together with bavc alumnus brad lichtenstein = to be showcased at "new frontier" @ sundance

 ...we will also all find out if palmer luckey wears flip-flops in the snow won't we? and khakis...or maybe something else....

ballet shoes? really?  

ballet shoes? really?

 

either way: i shall remind folks of a wonderful little giant virtual world that was once the hype at sundance as well [believe me i know because i was there on a sl-related panel in '08, talking virtual Gitmo, see video below, thumbnail featuring susana ruiz to my left]

...and so i shall talk people's ears off on that subject. wish me luck! i printed new business cards for the occasion [naturally!].

mmmmhhhh moo cards - they rock!

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halloween is over - so what?

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halloween is over - so what?

Second Life polymath [this moniker given by himself] Loki Eliot created a masterful creepy game within our vast virtual world and my completely biased opinion is that THE WELL: INFIRMOS proves that SL is a marvelous place to design and deploy immersive adventure games.

So yeah: the kids are done trick/treating but THE WELL is still around for you to play in SL right now. It took me about 2 hours of scares and fun to complete the game and get my little gift.

I streamed it too on YouTube Gaming and yes = did have some help from friends.

Enjoy:

Full disclosure: I did a bit of voice over for the game - won't tell you what character because that would be a bad spoiler. Also: a little boy who appears in the story has a voice that sounds soooo familiar to me....

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vr and kids

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vr and kids

On a recent podcast I had the opportunity to interview Rj Sampson and Reggie Millsaps from VR Kids, group of VR enthusiasts out of Las Vegas, who are bringing virtual reality experiences to children who are [often severely] impaired in terms of their mobility.

Think of VR what you will - an empathy machine & experiential learning accelerator or the end of all culture/face-to-face interaction, turning us all into passive escapists on a dying planet - RJ, Reggie and team do fabulous work for an underserved community of kids and their parents.

Take a listen and "see" for yourself what "therapeutic VR for kids" is all about:


 

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just such a fan of nonny...

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just such a fan of nonny...

It has to be said: we are big fans!

nonny dela pena = the godmother of immersive journalism

nonny dela pena = the godmother of immersive journalism

Nonny dela Pena who started dabbling with VR in Second Life with the "Virtual Guantanamo" Project back in 2007 is all over the media today and deservedly so as she is proving that immersive journalism will be here to stay. We worked on several projects with her including the "Cap & Trade" game among many others but "Gone Gitmo" still stands out as a project where immersion happens instantly, even without an HMD:

At last weekend's VRLA expo her Emblematic Group demoed the Trayvon Martin piece "One Dark Night" that puts you into the role of a witness of that tragic encounter between a black teenager and a [overzealous to say the least] neighborhood watch guy who ends up killing the young man, citing Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Listen back to our in depth interview with Nonny on the podcast and make sure to catch her work or possibly her physical self should you go to any number of international VR/AR conferences: she most surely will represent.

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linden lab's new sl ad

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linden lab's new sl ad

In case you have not seen [or have not been served via Google Ads] the current ad for Second Life, which was published July 20th,  I would urge you to check it out:

It is a great example of how visuals combined with the actual voices behind the avatar can tell the story of a user-centric world like SL really well.

And then of course there is Torley Linden's expertise in post-production.

I am honored that the footage I shot for various past Drax Files episodes found a way to serve the "cause" in this remixed format!

I am told more of these are to come.....

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