Facebook's Oculus forms in-house virtual-reality film studio

Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:39pm EST
 
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's Oculus VR is getting into movies with an in-house studio dedicated to making virtual-reality films and will show its first short movie at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday, the company said.

Tapping talent from both Pixar, the animation studio behind computer graphics imagery (CGI) films including "Toy Story" and "Monsters Inc," and the video gaming world, Oculus' Story Studio will develop film content for virtual reality and advise other filmmakers seeking to try the technology.

Facebook bought Oculus last year for $2 billion. So far the business has largely focused on video games for its pioneering wrap-around Rift headset.

But virtual reality has recently been enticing Hollywood's filmmakers to expand into the 360-degree panoramic view offered by headsets.

At the annual Sundance Festival in Park City, Utah, part of the event has been dedicated to virtual-reality short movies by filmmakers including Chris Milk and Felix & Paul, to draw the independent film community.

"I think the (film) community has done a really good job about getting excited about VR and starting to work on things in VR," said Oculus Chief Executive Officer Brendan Iribe.

Oculus also hopes to explore VR film experiences in real time, which would allow viewers to interact inside the headset with objects and characters, he said.

"This is really tuning in to what a lot of people who are extending 360-degree film into VR cannot do yet. It's getting into the heart and soul and magic of VR."   Continued...

 
The sign outside the Oculus VR booth is seen at the International Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 6, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking