https://www.atxes.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Screen-Shot-2021-01-08-at-11.16.53-AM.png 1832 3268 Dave Leong http://www.atxes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/ATXES-Logo_Website-300x138.png Dave Leong2021-01-04 15:21:552021-01-08 11:18:33The xR Revolution: Making it Affordable for Live Events
The world of innovation is, by definition, always changing. This crazy year, in particular, has demonstrated the speed at which humans can take an idea, run with it, and produce it into a marketable product. From vaccines to the now hundreds of Virtual Event platforms that are on the market, 2020 has exemplified the human capacity to be creative and polish the proverbial.
As we settled into the final quarter of this year, we at ATX Event Systems and ATX Event Studios tried to wade through the noise and figure out where the future of our industry will be. This exercise is a helpful one for any business, but especially in the current climate, we have been doing this as an almost-monthly habit to ensure that we are bringing the best to our clients who are continuing to push the envelope.
We settled on Extended Reality (xR) as the big ticket investment for our R&D because of its potential to drastically change the event experience. But, what on earth is Extended Reality? Our Chief Creative Officer Dave sat down with Virtual Producer Mark Barrow whose credits include tours with Drake and Post Malone as their Media Server Programmer. Since tours ground to a halt, he is now focusing on creating virtual events for the Corporate and Entertainment world and has partnered with ATXES to produce some ground-breaking events for our clients.
Dave: First up, thanks for joining us and taking the time out of your studio to pause and reflect with us. For those of you not quite as nerdy as us, if you’ve seen the Disney+ show The Mandalorian, you’ve already seen these technologies! BUT, a blowout budget like Disney’s isn’t necessarily going to be needed to take advantage of some of these mind-blowing ideas. But, let’s start with the basics. First question: What IS Extended Reality?Mark: Extended reality (xR) is a group of technologies that allows you to blend virtual and physical worlds together using Augmented reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) in live production environments to create fully immersive productions and experiences.
Dave: You used the word “reality” about a thousand times, there, Mark. With one of the buzzwords of 2020 being our “new reality” it’s been interesting to witness how quickly we’ve gotten bored of it. But, you mentioned Mixed Reality. What is that and how is it different?Mark: Mixed reality (MR) is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. Mixed reality does not exclusively take place in either the physical or virtual world, but is a hybrid of reality and virtual reality.
Dave: Well, that sounds like some science fiction-y craziness. So, it would be like having a person interact with virtual objects INSIDE a virtual world. Okay, so what are the advantages to these technologies over more traditional ones like Zoom?Mark: The advantages of using MR and XR solutions over zoom is its outsized impressiveness vs cost coupled with flexibility and engagement. The ability to use an actual 3D space to engage your audience, present your brand, share your ideas and reveal your products just looks downright amazing – it’s polished, it’s elegant. That’s just something you don’t have in Zoom. The flexibility is in understanding the platform that you’re working in and what it can do. Seeing as this isn’t a physical world, we can make ANYTHING happen and it’s that flexibility that means that you can tell your story in new, unique ways.
Dave: It’s really sexy but it sounds expensive. How are you making it more affordable?Mark: We are trying to make it more affordable by using cutting-edge software like Notch and coupling it with more affordable production equipment. Bringing innovative thinking is the key to bringing this to life because, honestly, it could just look terrible if we threw something together. In order to get a higher quality product at a lower cost, we need the right minds in the room to polish the end product to tell the right story.
Dave: Yes, we’ve spoken at length about how we can bring these solutions to clients who don’t have blockbuster budgets. But, overall, why do I want xR as part of my next conference, concert or brand activation?I think companies and brands always want to do one thing: stand out from the competition. The way you do that is to create a unique, engaging, interactive, cutting-edge story that has your audience asking “How did they do that?” xR is the ticket to that. It can release your creativity into your experiences like no other tech.
Dave: I like to say that you can experience your ideas in ways that you’ve never seen before. We’re at the forefront of an exciting revolution in storytelling technology with filmmakers already moving entire productions into the xR realm. We’re working on realistically bringing this to the budgets, workflows and mannerisms of live events and their attendees. Watch this space because the next innovations that we’re working on are the application of these technologies to hybrid and live events. As Mark said, xR is already blurring those lines, but our next step is to help you bridge the digital chasm between your virtual and live attendees. Think two-way communication through an xR experience between a live guest and a virtual one. We’re calling them Hybrid Spaces and they’re what you should watch out for in 2021!Thanks for your time, Mark!
If you’d like to brainstorm on any ideas for Extended Reality or Hybrid Spaces, you can reach Dave directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.