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VRARA NYC Chapter Presents Narrative in VR: How to Create Compelling Stories with Virtual Reality

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The growth of Virtual Reality platforms in the past year has created bold opportunities for forward-thinking producers who have sought to bend the arc of the emerging technology toward new forms of storytelling. The work of such pioneers as Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël (F&P), whose ‘Miyubi’ stunned audiences at Sundance 2017, brings viewers – for 40 minutes – into a 1980s family, and Arnaudl Colinart, who produced ‘Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness,’ an immersive VR piece that chronicles theologian John Hull’s degenerative blindness, shows the power of immersive narrative with VR platforms. Efforts such as Randal Kleiser’s ‘Defrost’ series, an episodic experience that uses VR in a first-person point of view, cleverly shows new ways for TV-style cutting to benefit from VR’s immersive capacities. As audiences yearn for more than mere 360-degree landscapes, or static gaming situations, narrative structures will break down assumptions and audience preconceptions of how stories are experienced, and not merely viewed.


  • Brian Seth Hurst - a pioneering producer in the growing field of Immersive Storytelling. As Chief Storyteller and President at StoryTech Immersive, he drives the company’s mission to tell great stories that inspire, immerse and involve audiences. He mostly recently served as producer of ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ a cinematic Virtual Reality narrative for PBS Digital Studios, which premiered on HTC Viveport at Sundance 2017 and was inspired by the PBS Civil War drama, ‘Mercy Street.’ It is the first live action VR film shot at 120 frames per second, and includes innovation such as 180 framing and Bokeh inside the sphere. It is the most widely distributed VR film to date. Brian also served, during the 2016 U.S. election season, as a producer on Showtime’s ‘The Circus 360 Experience,’ a companion piece to the network’s ‘The Circus – Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth.’
  • Raheel Khalid - the chief technology officer of Verizon envrmnt, the end-to-end studio VR/AR studio created by Verizon Labs. Raheel works with a team that combines world-class research and development in VR/AR from Verizon Labs with the production and creative capabilities of AOL, offering brands, agencies, and rights holders unique immersive solutions that engage audiences. As one of the leading inventors in the U.S., with more than 140 patents to his name, Raheel has helped develop technologies and workflows that enable richer, more compelling VR experiences. He is part of a team that was awarded a Clio award for its ‘Virtual Gridiron’ VR experience for the NFL. Other recent experiences include an AR experience from Time Inc., using the Sports Illustrated cover of Mount Everest. Raheel presented a breakthrough workflow using Verizon technology, Nvidia Cuda and Nvidia VRWorks, at the Nvidia GTC tomorrow, in San Jose, where he showcased Verizon envrmnt’s Project Drive, a virtual drive-in theater where viewers can collectively watch 2D videos and interact with each other in real-time, while being exposed to to in-scene advertising. 
  • Caitlin Burns - the founder and CEO of Caitlin Burns & Associates. She is one of the industry’s leading transmedia producers and thought leaders, and leads Caitlin Burns & Associates, a New York-based firm that develops multiplatform strategies for brands and story worlds. Caitlin serves as a delegate on the national board of the PGA New Media Council, and is currently vice chairperson of the PGA New Media Council. She is co-chair of the PGA Women’s Impact Network (WIN). Caitlin was previously a producer and executive editor with Starlight Runner Entertainment.
  • Lewis Smithingham - president and partner at 30 Ninjas, a leading VR production company. He serves as a VR director, VR cinematographer, and VR editor for projects that incorporate intricate VR techniques for live production, as well as post-production workflows. He has delivered experiences for leading brands and media firms, including Conde Nast Entertainment, Discovery Channel, USA Network, American Express, Samsung, Warner Brothers, Vice Magazine, and Glamour Magazine.

Moderated by Chris Pfaff; PGA New Media Council/CEO, Chris Pfaff Tech Media. A former board delegate of the PGA New Media Council from 2006-2013; former PGA New Media Council vice chairman, and former PGA Board of Directors delegate, Chris has been a PGA New Media Council member since 2004. He leads a consultancy – Chris Pfaff Tech/Media LLC – that represents some of the leading service providers, audio/video technology firms, networking vendors, and media companies in the world. A veteran of the venture world, Chris helped launch more than 20 ventures from the Lucent New Ventures Group, including iBiquity Digital; Flarion; Lucent Digital Video, and GeoVideo Networks, among others. In addition, he has helped launch AT&T’s Internet businesses as well as Viacom New Media. Chris helped produce the first short films on a mobile device in 2003, and produced the first promotional DVD, in 1997. He helped produce the first ‘Twitter Wall’ in 2010.

Earlier Event: September 25
MEC Congress - Berlin