Don't get your hopes up for a virtual reality Star Wars movie | Techno stream

Don’t get your hopes up for a virtual reality Star Wars movie

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Star Wars’ Prototype Takes Virtual Reality to Tattoine.

Whether you’re familiar with the studio’s name or not, you’ve definitely been touched (and likely gobsmacked) by the computer-generated imagery in one of the blockbuster films to get the Industrial Light and Magic treatment.Lucasfilm demonstrated a prototype interactive Star Wars experience created by ILMxlab, the company’s unit for virtual reality and other immersive entertainment, Tuesday at the Oculus Connect 2 developers conference at Loews Hollywood Hotel.

LOS ANGELES — Someday, we’ll have the ability to step into the golden shoes of C-3PO as he and R2D2 attempt to escape a squad of Stormtroopers or jump behind the cockpit of an A-Wing Fighter to take out a AT-AT lumbering in the background — all in virtual reality.Earlier in the year VRFocus reported that the creators of upcoming Star Wars spin-off movie, Star Wars: Rogue One, had used virtual reality (VR) technology to pre-visualise some of the settings to shoot on.Rob Bredow is VP of New Media and head of ILMxLAB, the Immersive Entertainment R&D wing of Lucasfilm, and will be presenting the talk, entitled ‘The Force of Virtual Reality at Lucasfilm’ at 2:30pm PDT today (Wednesday, September 23rd). Unfortunately, that day isn’t in the near future, but if LucasFilm has its way, you’ll be doing all that and more with a set of new tools, one of which is dubbed V-Scout.

The technique is just one of many experiences currently being developed at the newly announced Industrial Light & Magic Experience Lab (ILMxLAB), which explores opportunities with new tech. Now, with a suite of virtual production tools, it’s poised to change the way we experience not just film, but also storytelling with an iPad and a virtual reality headset. In response to a question at the end of the conference about the focus of ILMxLAB, and the future of this VR technology, Bredow stated: “We have a dozen things in production right now. The software powering this potential breakthrough in interactive entertainment is known as VScout, a pre-production tool that allows filmmakers to virtually scout locations.

Bredow unfortunately didn’t go into further detail about what franchises these projects would be based around, or any indication of possible timelines for a reveal let alone a release. Bredow will be offering ‘a rare behind the scenes glimpse featuring work by the newly formed ILMxLAB’, referring to the newly-announced studio that utilising a number of new technologies and applying them across the Star Wars franchise.

VR and experiental entertainment is its own thing and should be treated that way.” For the time being, the division is looking to how to use VR to tell 5-10 minute stories; currently about a dozen projects are in house. However, both teams share the goal of transforming entertainment by using high-fidelity graphics merged with live-action scenes filmed with motion-capture equipment, rendering the results in real-time. After this, a VR button found within the app was pressed and an Oculus Rift Crescent Bay head-mounted display (HMD) was then used to step inside the scene.

But Bredow added that the company is exploring where storytelling can go, including the possibility of two-hour movies. “Today’s head-mounted displays don’t seem comfortable enough to want to be in them for two hours,” he said. “We are interested in finding the right length and right content for these opportunities. “We haven’t yet figured out the language; we haven’t solved all of the things we need to solve,” he added. “We are not there yet to say ‘we’ll make a two-hour experience,’ but maybe we’ll get there.” Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group is working on tools that could be applied to feature production or immersive entertainment such as VR. After some time showing these features, Bredow confirmed that users would also be able to bring the scene into VR, taking full advantage of the 360 degree video the technology provides. Using a Star Wars short as an example, Bredow demonstrated how viewers could use the software to go from watching a letterboxed version to adjusting camera angles — going from behind a stormtrooper’s head to being inside of it — or even deserting the main storyline altogether and following secondary characters’ narratives. Bredow shared some of them, including the company’s V-Scout, an iPad based application that allows the user to effectively “scout” virtual locations, as well as review digital assets, using VR head gear and an iPad for navigation. Using a 5-minute short film created for the demo, Bredow and an assistant started tweaking major details such as character point of view and camera angle on an iPad.

The company noted that it wasn’t yet using controllers for the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift’s own Oculus Touch, but made it sound as if this was a possibility for the future. To that latter point, Bredow replayed the “linear” scene, but instead of watching the stormtrooper, he tagged along with C-3PO and R2-D2, following them into a hut where they spoke with a Princess Leia hologram.

It also involved a custom real-time look development system. “This means we can dial in the materials (i.e. glass) for VR or films,” Bredow said.”We are able to paint and see the final result in real time.” “Once you have this realtime foundation established, we can use it for VR, augmented reality, interactive storytelling and other new systems,” Bredow said. “As we move to real time it opens up an array of storytelling oportunities.” According to Bredow, you can run the app “anywhere you can run Netflix.” The hi-fi graphics can be rendered in the cloud or from a host computer in real-time, meaning your Star Wars VR experience might only be a tap or a swipe away. Of course, this being a VR-focused event, Bredow even showed off a Rift demo that lets viewers fly the speeder bike around the desert and through AT-ATs.

I watched as Bredow utilized the tablet’s gyroscope to navigate around that crashed Star Destroyer, which has been featured prominently in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. Clearly, it’s early days for VScout and Bredow admitted as much, saying that the studio’s still experimenting to find the proper way to construct an experience with so many available narratives. Bredow demonstrated the ease of adding cutting room floor material into the demo by quickly rewinding to a point where the two droids appeared from a hut. Entering the darkened enclosure, the audience saw C-3PO conversing with a hologram of someone that looked suspiciously like Princess Leia, who told the droids to get to the extraction point. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you.

However, Bredow remains hopeful for that and the emergence of augmented and mixed reality technology to take film’s storytelling abilities even further.

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