WVRF Promotes VR with EBU at Cross Video Days

At the debut of autumn’s spookiest month, World VR Forum’s Ellen Kuo, Director of Market and Partnerships and Maria Guta, Content Manager along with European Broadcasting Union took off to Paris, France to attend Cross Video Days, a unique marketplace for innovators to share their high-tech content, to speak at conferences, to pitch their ideas, and to find investors during the three action-packed days of 2 – 4 October, 2017.

WVRF was delighted to pair up with EBU to promote Virtual and Augmented Reality on this tech-hyped occasion as we have collaborated since the start of the year, showcasing VR at EBU Digital Media Days in Lisbon in January, including an EBU panel at the WVRF’s Annual Summit’s second edition in Crans-Montana where the future of VR for European public broadcasters was discussed, and contributing a VR Glossary section to a VR-dedicated issue of the EBU Report.

Cross Video Days has been supported by the Creative Europe programme since 2013. This year WVRF and EBU participated with their latest head-spinning escapades of the 360° medium. The EBU contributed through VR presentations, a panel discussion at the conference VR in Public Broadcasting: Virtual or Reality? about the use of VR and AR by public broadcasters and encounters between EBU members and independent VR producers and an EBU-hosted workshop on the 2nd of October.

EBU Workshop

The goal of EBU’s VR Workshop was to continue discussing the role that VR plays for the EBU members, many of which were present, including: RTVE, DW, Yle, WDR, BBC, NTR, RTE, RTBF, RTVSLO, CR, VRT and RTS. Respectively, they presented ongoing projects in VR, and/or 360°, and provided a reality check (état des lieux).

As noted by EBU’s Head of Digital Strategy, Madiana Asseraf, “many public broadcasters in Europe are experimenting with 360° and VR content, so is there a future for VR in public broadcasting or not?”

Also during the workshop, the content that is best suited for VR as well as BBC’s audience VR content consumption habits also stirred up some steamy debates.

WVRF shared three exciting and up-to-date VR events during the month of September:

1) VR Island – at the first major film festival, at Biennale de Venezia Venice International Film Festival also the oldest of its kind, opened up to VR. Among the 22 official selections, Chinese content was very much present. This is quite a symbolic momentum for Chinese VR. This matches WVRF’s strong presence in China.

With its Swiss tag, WVRF was very proud to present the other two events which are very much of Swiss nature:

2) Leonardo Dicaprio has become a major investor and joined the board of MindMaze, a Swiss-based emotion-capture VR unicorn.

3) AMC, the world’s largest movie theatre chain poured $20 million in Dreamscape Immersive VR, whose technology is powered by the Swiss tech and arts foundation Artanim.

Pitching Sessions

In addition to panels workshops and conferences from some of the best known and relevant VR production companies around the world at the moment such as Felix & Paul, another amazing part of the event were the pitching sessions gathering developers, artists, broadcasters, producers and investors from all around the world. The pitching sessions were a great opportunity to discover the hippest new VR and AR projects in the making.

The one on one pitching sessions were super interesting, plunging you into a different universe each time. Basically, the artist or the producer had exactly 30 minutes to introduce you to their project and explain their concept, their goals and their needs,” said Guta, whose main goal at the event was to scout for the most impressive VR and AR projects for the next edition of WVRF’s Annual Summit.

Apart from punctually discovering what are the new VR and AR projects to enter the market in the near future, it was also a great opportunity for taking the pulse of what’s the industry cooking new, what are the main directions for 2018, what are the innovations, what is the new technology to be used or what is the new technology to be expected. The pitches give you a taste of the next VR and AR trends.

There were two kinds of pitching sessions: public sessions and one on one encounters. Also, WVRF had a booth which was the perfect networking spot, according to Guta. WVRF met some amazing teams and there is definitely a lot of great VR and AR to come to Crans-Montana next year.

While most of the teams were looking for funding or co-production opportunities, the event was also a great opportunity for actors of the VR and AR industry to just get together, discuss, debate or just to make new contacts.

WVRF was thrilled to see all the amazing work the VR and AR artists are doing and how the EBU members are putting efforts and facing challenges together.