VR Invades International Print Day 2018 at the UN

As leaves shed their swampy green pigment and shop windows blossomed with seasonal fake blood and cobweb displays, WVRF was invited by Adam Kane, Public Information Officer and Multimedia Content Specialist at the United Nations to showcase the most thought-provoking VR masterpieces carefully selected for the VR conference: Perspectives: Telling our Stories from a Different Perspective at the Collaboration themed International Print Day celebrating its 5th year at the Palais de Nations in Geneva Switzerland, on 16 October 2018.

WVRF immersed the UN employees into seven spectacular VR experiences on the Pico VR headsets at the Perspectives conference from 9:30 to 12:30 in Room XVI, on the 5th floor above the General Assembly Hall and also from 1:30 to 3:30 on the third floor of the E Building, where a week-long exhibition with digital, printed and other multimedia works produced by the Printing Section took place from 11 to 17 October.

UN employees immerse in VR at International Print Day 2018 at Palais de Nations.

Met positively by the UN crowd, the VR experiences included HOME/Aamir by National Theatre in UK about a a 22-year-old Sudanese refugee constantly fighting for survival in the face of aggression and rejection; Sun Ladies by Victoire Thevenin, Head of VR Content at mk2 Films, the empowering VR story of an all-female brigade fighting ISIS; My Brother’s Keeper by Brian Seth Hurst, President and Chief Storyteller at StoryTech Immersive, an immersive narrative of two estranged brothers who, fighting on opposing sides of the Civil War, unexpectedly reunite on the battlefield at Antietam; 700 Sharks by Ivan Maucuit, CEO and Founder of Neotopy Studio, an immersive documentary about the daily lives of  French Polynesian sharks at Fakarava; The Wall by USA Today Network, a short film about two undocumented children who attempt to cross the U.S / Mexico Border; USS Eisenhower VR by USA Today Network with the US Navy which transports the viewers into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on board the aircraft carrier during one of the biggest combat training exercises in recent Navy history1943: Berlin Blitz by BBC Northern Ireland and Immersive VR Education, which puts you inside a Lancaster bomber as it navigates through the most dangerous journey.

Journalists and VR professionals speak at International Print Day 2018 at Palais de Nations.

Simultaneously with the VR experiences, the audience had the chance to listen to an exciting panel about Virtual Reality storytelling and the extra-dimensional advantage that it has over its 2D counterpart as VR physically puts the viewer in the centre of the story into a non-physical space from the crème de la crème of the journalism world as well as the virtual world. The panelists were as follows: David Bradshaw, VR Producer at BBC Studios; 2018 Pulitzer Prize winning, Nicole Carroll, Editor in Chief of USA Today along with the Pulitzer Prize winning, Ray Soto, Director of Emerging Technology for USA Today; and Daniel Waisberg, VR Producer and Google’s Analytics Advocate who discussed data visualization techniques used to effectively uncover insights and communicate data.

Last but not least, Slalar Shahna, WVRF’s CEO gave a brief speech on the importance of VR, WVRF’s growing role as a networking and marketing platform for VR content creators, China as a very important VR market and a promotional video on WVRF’s Annual Summit in Crans-Montana produced for us by our good friends from Right Here/Right Now Productions.

"Many people say that VR is dead or that it might die soon, I do not agree as many of you have tried VR today, it just needs better marketing," said Shahna.

The conference was smoothly followed by a meaty Q&A session with questions on ethical dimensions and psychological aspects of VR. One of the most intriguing questions asked was if VR can be experienced by the visually or auditory impaired, to which Bradshaw replied that it can as long as one or the other of the aforementioned senses is intact.

Furthermore, the VR fun at the UN did not end with the International Print Day. Other VR activities from 11 to 17 October consisted of an Analytics presentation on 11 October and of a full day, hands-on, step-by-step VR Workshop for 20 lucky participants who have gotten to learn the tricks of VR film production directly from the industry experts completely for free on 17 October.