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Immersive Cinema stories from the experiments underway at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB

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Immersive Cinema stories from the experiments underway at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB

October 28th, 2:15PM - Viewconference 2016, Turin (Italy). Rob Bredow, Chief Technology Officer at Lucasfilm, speaks to us about the experiments underway at the ILMxLAB, the laboratory of Lucasfilm that deals with immersive entertainment, focused mainly on virtual reality.

At the beginning that they are studying a many different solution and implementation of VR, but also by the Augmented Reality (AR) and MR (Mixed Reality), and the range of opportunities is very large.

For example, immersive experiences used to shoot the last Star Wars movie - The Force Awakens: they have developed an app for iPad and Oculus Rift, which was also used during the production of the film to find the right shots and camera perspective.

Through this app users can explore the scenes observing not only the sequence as it has been made in the film, but they can move through a wide surrounding area and observe what other characters are doing at the same time.

To find this app on the store, simply search “Star Wars Jakku Spy”, it’s an immersive app available for iOS and Android devices.

In addition to this, ILMxLAB is studying and developing technologies to “physically” immerse people in virtual environments, in a social manner: in a room are projected 360 ° images that can be viewed using standard 3d glasses; Rob shows us a video in which some people inside a room where on walls is displayed a video, giving them the experience to be immersed in a desert along with R2D2 and C3PO.

During their studies they had tried what it takes to really immerse a person in a virtual environment: recently have determined that today it takes about 45 seconds to "warm up" the user and bring it into an immersive experience.

For this research they have developed an app where the Millennium Falcon lands on a planet: the user is on the ground and, in radio contact with Han Solo, must perform some action to complete the maintenance of the ship.

This app is considered very important to them because it has allowed his Lab to learn a lot about what it takes to make the VR experience really immersive without becoming boring.

To do this, Rob explains how it is necessary simplify: the user must do only simple tasks, not too complicated, and the experience-makers have to simplify the well understanding of each tasks not only through visual references ("open the electrical panel by pressing the flashing red button"), but also letting the user to interact with virtual characters, such as developing a series of background voices explaining better what the user have to do: the makers must think to the user as a child, because using these new technologies has to be metabolised by users.

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