Kicking off the second week of September with an introduction of the local VR scene to Geneva’s public, Virtual Switzerland hosted a highly informative and engaging mini conference, Réalité Virtuelle (RV) ou l’image autrement for 60 people on Virtual Reality with presentations and demonstrations from three different VR companies, Scanways, Imverse and Right Here/Right Now Productions at 105 Voisins Coworking Café in Carouge, on Tuesday evening, 11 September, 2018.
As the organizers of the event, Laetitia Bochud, Head of Marketing & Communication at Virtual Switzerland Virtual Switzerland and the Voisins team were the first to take the stage opening up the evening by briefly explaining what they are all about before welcoming the VR pioneers to immerse the public into their whimsical worlds of Virtual Reality.
The ultimate introductory session to the VR mayhem began with Scanways who shared the magic of their 3D scanning, BIM and VR technology which captures the interior and exterior spaces in architecture. One of their VR videos was a 3D capture of the 105 Voisins space, both on the interior and the exterior, it was a big hit with the public at the demonstration.
Up next was Imverse, with Benoit Perrin, Marketing and Communication Executive and Joaquim Bratschi, Junior Software Developer presenting their voxel technology for VR creators (based on reality capture). They explained their high tech for interactive movie experience which is created with Imverse engine for rendering and simulation and Imverse LiveMaker software (Imverse’s first software built on the core engine) transforming a single 360-degree 2D photo from any commercial camera into a volumetric and photorealistic room-scale 3D environment. Their demonstrative project achievements harnessing further the voxel capabilities of the engine include Elastic Time – a Mixed Reality interactive documentary about space-time narrated by astronomer Tony Stark at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, with controllers you bend space and time in the observatory room as a real-time hologram and To the Light (shown at World VR Forum’s Annual Summit last year), where the viewer is immersed into the room at Le Regent Congress Center where the headset is put on and discovers his way to the top of Crans-Montana when going to the light.
Third in the line-up, Right Here/Right Now Productions’ VR filmmakers, Jonathan Moy de Vitry and Thibault Bernard put the finishing touch on the compact VR lecture session by sharing the quirks and perks of VR storytelling with “Storyliving”, the evolution of immersive (VR) narrative techniques. They informed the public about their projects ranging from medical ones on psychological disorders, showing the world from a patient’s perspective; documentaries on various geographical locations – Faroe Islands, Chernobyl, Ukraine and Switzerland; a Google maps project on Geneva creating the most comprehensive model of the city; to fictional short films while enlightening the audience on the VR narrative techniques which are being utilized by today’s VR producers and developers.
"Unlike TV and cinema which is passive 2D entertainment, the human brain tends to perceive VR memories as actual real-life memories.VR immerses you both physically and visually, so, it’s not uncommon for viewers to report VR experiences as though they have lived through them,” said Moy de Vitry.
With detailed diagrams and videos, Moy de Vitry and Bernard explained sensory realism, immersion, presence, embodiment, linear VR vs. interactive VR, volumetric capturing and photogrammetry.
As a conclusion, Moy de Vitry showed a short and funny AR piece with a grumpy potty-mouthed stickman and some clips from The Enemy – a mobile AR experience by the photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa, which puts you face to face with 6 combatants from 3 different conflict zones: Israel-Palestine, Congo, and El Salvador who share their stories.
After a short Q & A session with the audience on the workings of VR, the presenters invited the public to try the best of their VR gadgets and projects. Last but not least, everyone headed off to the veranda upstairs for some wine and hamburgers at a networking apéro under the star-graced Carouge sky.