Zillah's 360/VR update. Strictly VR and Virtual Clinton

This week: 360 from the BBC: The Strictly VR Dance Routine launches this weekend.

Former President Clinton goes virtual – in a film about Africa made by Montreal filmmakers Felix and Paul Studios. They’ve created some amazing VR films such as Cirque du Soleil. If you have time the panel discussion on VR further down the page with HTC and Sony is also worth watching. And I missed this last week, but Felix and Paul Studios announced the launch of a sound division – Head Space Studios - a VR sound design and mixing studio – an indication of the growing understanding of the importance of sound for VR.

Google announced they’d be offering schools their classroom “Google Expeditions” kits for free (but that doesn’t appear to include the phones!) The teacher can control what the class sees via a tablet. There’s a nice New York Times piece here on a teacher who takes her class on a virtual trip to Verona while studying Romeo and Juliet.

There was a flurry of excitement about the Microsoft VR kit – including a colourful folding cardboard viewer – to be launched at a hackathon in Russia next month.

There were a number of announcements at the Oculus Connect 2 event, including a promise that the Samsung Gear VR will be in shops (in the US at least) by November. Twitch also announced that they’d be coming to VR to allow friends to watch together, though I don’t completely understand how.

Take a look at this from New Zealand company 8i – 3D video that you can move around. It’s alpha, but looks promising.

Here’s word of warning that anything we release has to be good. Emmy winner James Milward explains why bad content will destroy VR on BBC CLick

Five VR films you must see

The November edition of Wired featured the new Jaunt Neo Camera (see the picture below). Also a feature on VR as a new form of Storytelling. According to Wired, the five VR films you need to see are:

Clouds over Sidra – Chris Milk/Gabo Arora’s first UN doc following a 12 year old Syrian refugee in the Zaatari Refugee Camp ()

First Life – Narrated by David Attenborough – at the Natural History Musedum

Stonemilker – For amazing sound. Created by Rewind for Bjork’s recent MoMA exhibit, with sound by BBC R&D’s binaural expert Chris Pike

Henry – the second film from Oculus Story Studio featuring a hedgehog. (Requires an Oculus Rift)

Birdly – A VR bird simulator (with fan made wind) to fly over San Francisco

Zillah Watson, Editor, BBC R&D