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Facebook’s Oculus VR division and Kaleidoscope announced DevLab, a new initiative to support independent VR creators as they create new virtual reality experiences.
The collaboration will bring together 28 VR artists from around the world to incubate new work, explore new ideas, and create the next wave of great virtual reality experiences, the companies said.
The initial creators were selected for the inaugural DevLab class because they represent innovative artists who have either already produced important VR experiences — such as Arnaud Colinart‘s Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness and Ben Vance‘s Irrational Exuberance — or are first-time VR creators with established careers in cinema like Josephine Decker and Julio Medem.
Participants will work with advisors who have backgrounds in architecture, immersive theater, sound, and storytelling. Projects will be developed and prototyped through hands-on workshops, live performances, and round table discussions. Creators will then go off on their own to develop a working version of their project to showcase.
“VR is a convergence of creative disciplines and DevLab will bring experts from a variety of fields to help expand the creative potential of VR,” said Yelena Rachitsky, creative producer at Oculus, in a statement. “Big creative risks will push virtual reality forward, but to empower people to take those risks, we recognize that we need to provide support and encouragement to help an idea become a reality.”
“Our goal with DevLab is to support independent artists because they tend to break free from traditional ideas of storytelling and discover new ways to express the human condition with virtual reality,” said René Pinnell, CEO of Kaleidoscope, in a statement.
DevLab concludes on December 2 with a showcase event at Facebook headquarters, during which creators will present their projects for a chance to secure funding. Successfully funded projects will go into production in early 2017 and will be available on the Oculus platform. The team plans to expand DevLab next year and will open up submissions for the next class of creators.
René Pinnell and former Industrial Light & Magic technical director Michael Breymann cofounded Kaleidoscope in May 2015. Kaleidoscope showcases finished projects, helps secure funding for future projects, and host events around the world that explore the art, science, and business of virtual reality. In 2015, Kaleidoscope produced the first Virtual Reality Film Festival, and it has since produced more than 20 high-profile events for over 10,000 attendees.
Kaleidoscope is based in San Francisco. Oculus is based in Menlo Park, California, and Los Angeles. The DevLab event will take place in Los Angeles for an intensive two-day workshop, while the showcase event for potential investors will take place at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.
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