Preview of what our Storytelling speakers will be presenting in January as part of our VR/AR Association Online Conference with 1000+ people attending and 50+ speakers.
VR for Social Good - Davar Ardalan and Ben Kreimer, SecondMuse
Presentation: From the United Nations, to the World Bank and the Australian Aid program, development agencies are among the first out of the gate that have been experimenting with immersive VR/AR technologies. The purpose has been to build empathy and educate local communities as they work to improve the challenging environments surrounding them. Veteran NPR News journalist Davar Ardalan of SecondMuse and storytelling technologist Ben Kreimer talk about ways emerging technologies can be accessed and leveraged by individuals in developing nations to inspire positive change, and help create bridges between otherwise disconnected human experiences.
Davar Ardalan is director of Storytelling and Engagement at SecondMuse with extensive expertise in social engagement and new technologies. In 2017, she designed and implemented an immersive storytelling project around healthy eating in Tonga and Fiji funded by the innovationXchange of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The pilots will launch in 2018 and are geared towards tackling malnutrition and bringing back pride to traditional diets via VR, gamification and the future integration of AI. As an award-winning journalist for over two decades at NPR News, Ardalan’s real-time storytelling campaigns cultivated thought leaders across platforms and reached millions on Twitter and Facebook. Ardalan is a contributor to HuffPost, co-chairs the Stories and Audiences Committee of the VR/AR Association, and has been recognized with a 2017 NASA Team Leadership award for Space Apps, a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television and a shout-out in the popular comic strip Zippy.
Ben Kreimer is a Storytelling Technologist specializing in storytelling with drones, virtual reality, 360o° video, 3D reconstructions, and open source hardware sensor platforms. Ben introduced 360o video to BuzzFeed as the first fellow in their San Francisco based Open Lab, a media R&D space. He is also an adviser for the Drone Journalism Lab and African skyCAM, and has worked with academic institutions and organizations including Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Times of India, CCTV Africa, the African Wildlife Foundation, M.S. University of Baroda, and Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project in Turkey.
Branching Narratives in VR AR - Jeanne Kelly, A+E Networks
Presentation: Jeanne will discuss branching narratives and how they might be leveraged in VR and AR to give the viewer a sense of agency within the story experience. Jeanne will make an appeal for the use of design strategies and tactics in narrative development and present on the importance of clarifying decision points to offer affordances within story experiences.
Jeanne Kelly is the Director of Product Design and Experience for A+E Networks’ TechLab. An award winning designer and creative executive, Jeanne is a passionate creative technologist and communicator with over 25 years experience in visual storytelling.
Cinematic VR Documentary - Michael Owen, MediaCombo
Presentation: Michael Owen will discuss his firm, MediaCombo’s, recent AR and VR projects. These include an AR Tour for the Morgan Library and Museum in New York and a cinematic VR documentary about Lake Baikal in Siberia, the oldest, deepest, most voluminous body of liquid fresh water on earth.
Michael Owen is a principal at MediaCombo and producer of virtual and augmented reality experiences. Michael has been making documentaries, music videos, TV commercials and programs for digital platforms for over 30 years. Clients include the U.S. State Department, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Google Expeditions, the American Museum of Natural History, Amnesty International, the Museum of Modern Art, Prudential, Pfizer among many other clients and agencies.
Using AR as a Communication Tool for Climate Change - Micah Taylor, University of Georgia
Presentation: Micah Taylor, along with Brian Orland, professor of Geo-Design, and others from the University of Georgia are interested in using AR as part of a mobile application to communicate historical, cultural, and Environmental elements on the Coastal Georgia landscape to visitors and residents. AR will be used for visualizing largely unseen environmental effects of climate change based on historical and predicted data. This visualization is one component of a larger application that also provides narration to drivers and gathers feedback on what the individual 'values' in the landscape given the new information.
Micah Taylor is a first year PhD student at the University of Georgia's College of Environmental Design. His research interest are emerging technologies in environmental design and citizen engagement in planning. Past projects include using VR and AR for visualization of planning scenarios in Nashville, Tennessee. He comes from a strong GIS and Geo-Design background, and hopes to pursue this proposed project in the following semesters.
How to Create Engaging 360 Video VR Experiences - George Egbuonu, VR eCards
Presentation Topic: How to Create Engaging 360 Video VR Experiences. As we enter into the VR age with 360 videos, those that discover how to create amazing 360 videos and VR experiences will be able to differentiate themselves with highly desirable content creators.
George Egbuonu is the founder of VR eCards marketplace that provides you a WebVR Editor to create and share amazing 360 video experiences without any technical skills required. The 360 videos you create can then be shared privately or published on the marketplace as VR Ecards for other users to personalize. Prior to founding VR eCards, he was the CEO of Flat Pyramid - A marketplace for 3d model files. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree and Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
State of the Storytelling in Cinematic VR - Alina Mikhaleva, SPHERICA
Presentation: Alina Mikhaleva will share Spherica studio’s assessment on the state and current limitations for storytellers in cinematic VR, and discuss her studio’s recent projects that have experimented with making the 360 VR environment a more compelling space for creators. Spherica has been an innovator in the VR space for more than two years, constantly pushing the limits of what’s possible in VR filmmaking. In 2015, Spherica was the first studio to introduce fully stabilized camera movement that provides absolute comfort for the viewers. Alina will share the latest developments in the field as well as practical advice on how the freedom to move the camera can enhance VR storytelling techniques and make 360 experiences more compelling. Alina will also showcase some of the latest experiments in using camera movement in POV experiences to enhance the feeling of immersion and the sense of presence for viewers.
After ten years of successful career in broadcast media, Alina Mikhaleva moved to lead a VR startup Spherica. Spherica is an independent VR production studio based in Los Angeles. Founded by a small team of VR enthusiasts, Spherica aims to create truly engaging cinematic VR experiences for viewers worldwide. Spherica's proprietary technology demonstrates to the industry professionals the potential of virtual reality filmmaking when it is freed from the limitations of a static camera. Spherica has been working in VR industry with clients including HBO, CBS, RYOT, and many others on both fiction and non-fiction content, as well as developing and creating original VR content.
Storytelling Beyond the First-Person Perspective in VR - Christian Haniszewski, Hack and Paint
Presentation: As it stands, storytelling in VR is still in its infancy. What often happens when a new medium emerges is content creators initially try to bridge the gap between the new and familiar by applying existing techniques towards the new. Examining how filmmakers point cameras on stage to film the action of scenes, we are now applying the same existing techniques to photos and videos hoping to find relevance in the early stages of VR However, as time and technologies progress, we will discover new innovative ways of storytelling unique to the medium of VR. VR offers a groundbreaking level of immersion, choice, and viewer control that sets it apart from any medium before it- opening doors to vast uncharted potential in the future of storytelling. I’m excited to explore storytelling beyond the obvious first-person perspective in VR. At Hack and Paint, we are currently experimenting with putting VR viewers in the director’s seat, giving them the potential to switch between cameras themselves and empowering them to move through our story from new unique perspectives.
Christian Haniszewski is currently one of the founding partners at Hack and Paint, but prior to that, he has been working for over a decade, prominently in the Feature Animation and VFX industry including; Pixar, Blue Sky Studios, Framestore, Aardman Nathan Love, and 4mm Games. He’s credited for his incredible work on globally recognized films: “Brave”, “Monsters University”, “Epic”, “Rio 2", “Peanuts”, “Ice Age 5", “Ferdinand”, and “Salt” -just to name a few. In 2009, Christian graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Computer Animation and Visual Effects.
Presentation: Kathy will share her experiences creating VR/AR storytelling content for the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), partnering on immersive news stories with the Boston Globe, and building an international movement for Community VR to grow the VR/AR industry from the grassroots up, using community-based storytelling, artist residencies, partnerships with government, libraries, non-profits, schools, and storytellers to provide increased accessibility, content, and training in VR/AR.
Kathy Bisbee is the executive director of Brookline Interactive Group (BIG), a community media arts center, and the co-founder/director of the Public VR Lab, the first publicly-funded Community VR organization in the U.S. Kathy is an award-winning, multidisciplinary storyteller; producing international documentary films, collaborating on immersive news stories with the STAT journalism team at the Boston Globe, and creating customized VR global air pollution project for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Recently she presented on two panels to advocate the use of VR & Storytelling to world leaders at the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) event in Nairobi, Kenya on Art, Storytelling & Creating Change, and on Can Virtual Reality Help Save Reality?
Perspective is Vital to Impactful Immersive Storytelling- Chris Bedyk, Perspective Films
Presentation: Since 2013, Chris has been developing 360˚ cameras, production gear and immersive experiences with a goal to help connect people to each other, the planet and to themselves. His focus has always been to help increase human advancement by producing experiential content for the sports, health, education and entertainment industries. Immersive technology has the potential to be the most effective and powerful story telling medium humans have ever seen. At the peak, our senses can be stimulated with such resonance, transparency and realism that our brain is tricked into believing a simulated experience is real. The level of presence we experience is relative to the quality and quantity of the stimulation. The body will provide feedback to the experience that can be felt physically, mentally, biochemically and maybe even spiritually. Camera resolution, placement, and height are some of the factors creators need to consider when inside an immersive canvas. Chris will discuss what he has learned over the years producing content for the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions and his travel series VR Wonders of The World. Hopefully, this talk provides a deeper insight for creators to go beyond the spectacle of immersive technology and further understand how contextual perspective is the gateway to enhancing a stories impact on the viewer.
Chris Bedyk is a Cinematographer, Immersive Filmmaker, Teacher, and CEO of Perspective Films. Since 2000, he has worked on every type of TV / Film production as a traditional Camera Operator. In 2013, he started developing immersive production gear and experimenting with the technology. After attending the Oculus conference in 2014 and 2015 he started the transition from traditional to immersive storytelling. In 2016, he helped create the Vancouver Canucks first 360˚ experience and a key partner in establishing the BC Lions EXP app which captured behind the scenes moments on and off the field during the 2017 season. His immersive series VR Wonders of the World was created for the launch of the Idealens headset and received "Official Selection" at the 2017 Vancouver VR film festival. It is currently being distributed with JauntVR. In 2016 he established Mastering360 which provides workshops and courses for future 360˚ filmmakers.
More added soon.