Inside “The Bunker”: Twentieth Century Fox’s Futuristic VR Innovation Lab

Pubblicato: 21 novembre 2015 in illusioni digitali

In a nondescript building in L.A., Fox’s “three amigos” are helping to define Hollywood’s VR future.

Fast Company knows you’re curious about VR, but probably still have a lot of questions. That’s why we are launching a new column where our own Daniel Terdiman will answer all of your questions about the new technology. 

In the middle of what otherwise appears to be a standard-issue ritzy Los Angeles movie industry office complex—complete with a multi-story parking garage, a tall office building, and meticulous landscaping—a narrow walkway abruptly ends at a security gate so forbidding that it rivals many military installations in conveying a very clear message: Don’t even start to think about coming in here.

If you happen to make it through the gate, the martial dynamic melts away and the scene quickly becomes bucolic: a nicely tended lawn, colored sun umbrellas shading outdoor tables, and small groups of people eating happily or walking around with relaxed purpose.

Finally, you arrive at what could not be a more nondescript, low-slung two-story structure: Fox Studios Building 58, one of a small number of offices that together house the futuristic Twentieth Century Fox Innovation Lab.

 

Inside, amid a warren of small offices packed with VR gear and built around a narrow, central room with very high ceilings and no natural light, the future of Hollywood’s use of virtual reality content may very well be taking shape.

Welcome to The Bunker.

There’s little question that Hollywood has big VR ambitions. Already, a number of studios have released promotional VR projects. Fox itself released a short VR experience tied to Wild, and won the first-ever Emmy for its VR take on its TV seriesSleepy Hollow, while Warner Bros. released a Batman VR experience, Universal did VR for the upcoming fantasy adventure Warcraft, and just this week, Disney released a short clip from their Lion King stage adaptation. Of course, Disney was also the lead investor in a $65 million round of funding for the Silicon Valley VR production and distribution technology company, Jaunt.

Despite all of this, Fox still fashions itself as a little ahead of the pack when it comes to VR, especially in figuring out how to turn the medium into a new form of premium content.

“All the studios are doing good and smart things in VR,” says Ted Schilowitz, Fox’s futurist and, as his business card states, its “consiglieri.” “But if you ask around, the other studios and people within the industry would say that Fox started with a leadership position and has maintained that leadership position.”

With many previous efforts, studios’ VR projects were meant as marketing, just one more thing to try to draw in viewers to the larger project. What the Fox Innovation Lab is doing with VR, on the other hand, is meant to eventually be its own source of revenue—experiences that people will pay more than the price of an app to watch, much as they’ve paid to watch feature films.

 

 

Sorgente: Inside “The Bunker”: Twentieth Century Fox’s Futuristic VR Innovation Lab

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