Business of Entertainment: New reality of entertainment is virtual – The Business Journals
Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the blending of physical and digital worlds into “mixed reality” bring profound changes to entertainment for fans, performers and industry executives. These new technologies also alter the way that the talents and techniques of artists are expressed now and preserved for future generations.
This is the main message from the panelists of Atlanta Business Chronicle Business of Entertainment’s panel, “The Future is Here: VR, AR and Mixed Reality.”
The event is scheduled for Dec. 7 at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points.
Recently, panel member Jim Barber, a music industry consultant and manager, used motion capture technology to film a performance by Kevn Kenny, guitarist and vocalist for Southern rock band Drivin N Cryin. Wearing AR headsets, fans could then “walk up to Kevn and look at his fingers on the fretboard,” Barber explained. “They can see how he’s picking the guitar and then walk around, look over his shoulder. They can see musicians performing their craft in a way that’s impossible with a 2D film of a performance.”
The uses for these technologies are endless, he said.
“How this will be integrated into public spaces is in the process of being developed,” Barber said, adding that the key is capturing these performers now to preserve their work for the future.
In music, technology already is transforming live concerts. For example, Swedish pop band ABBA launched its “Voyage” tour with a London concert using digital avatars of individual members. Performance capture techniques employed 160 cameras and hundreds of artists and technicians. Every motion and expression of the four-member group was captured as they performed on a sound stage over a five-week period.
ABBA’s digital concert experience included a pre-recorded performance with band members in their motion-capture suits while the10-piece band accompanying the virtual avatars performed remotely in real-time.
“I think you’re going to see a lot more of that,” panel member Nick Rivero, co-founder and CTO of immersive entertainment and media company MEPTIK, said.
Barber agreed. Motion capture works in areas including sports, movies and film, and education, he said. “There are a lot of studios based in Georgia who need this kind of motion capture work done,” he explained, adding that since motion capture can be used also in industries such as medicine and aerospace, studios can capitalize on their expertise. “We’ll probably be a commercial facility for that at first as well.”
Another new area in entertainment is the metaverse, generally viewed as a shared 3D virtual space. Visitors use VR headsets to interact in real time.
“What I always say about the metaverse is that what we think it is now is probably not what it will be 20 years from now,” said Rivero. The metaverse will allow “our physical and digital lives to intersect more closely and more in depth,” he added. “In the next few years, we’re going to see how the digital world mirrors layers into everything we do in daily life.”
Atlanta is becoming a center for these new developments because of “the immense rich history that Atlanta has and the crazy struggle that the city has overcome,” said Mikey Cosentino, chief technology officer at RiTE Media and another panel member. “You’ve got this crazy eclectic group of super talented artists. You’ve got really smart engineers and technical people, financial technologies and things like that. And then I think the right people stepped in at the right time that recognized there was fertile soil.”
Panelists also mentioned prior to the event that two issues that will continue to be top of mind are workforce and cost of these technologies.
“It’s very expensive still, and how do we bring [costs] down,” Cosentino said. “How do we make [VR, AR, motion capture and other technologies] accessible? Who’s making the investments to do that and what is the payoff?”
His company “recognized early on that every industry uses these tools,” Cosentino said. “They all have a story to tell. It might not be a narrative that’s like Cinderella or a superhero, but it might be.”
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.