CES: Hollywood Will Be "Huge" for Virtual Reality, Jaunt Exec Projects

Jaunt recently created VR experiences for 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' and Paul McCartney
Courtesy of Jaunt
Jaunt already has made a few concert VR experiences, including for Paul McCartney.

Hollywood and the music business could be “huge” for the emerging virtual reality market, asserted Scott Broock, vp content at VR-technology startup Jaunt.

While Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus have not yet hit the consumer market, VR is getting its start in the hands of consumers through systems such as Samsung Gear VR, which works with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, or Google Cardboard, which is smartphone agnostic. Broock is excited about the potential of these mobile systems, saying, “The quality [of the VR experience] will get greater and greater as new phones come out, and having a library of VR content in your pocket is really attractive.”

He believes this content will go well beyond expected killer app games; for Hollywood, he sees opportunities such as behind-the-scenes segments. At CES, The Hollywood Reporter tried out a VR experience for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, created by Jaunt at the request of Sky and Warner Bros. The viewer is effectively dropped into Middle Earth and can explore Hobbiton in 360 degrees; it was lensed in one day with Jaunt’s 360-degree VR camera system and posted in two days using its developing toolset. Sound for Jaunt-created VR content is currently recorded with an omni-directional mic and mixes in Dolby Atmos.

Broock said Jaunt is working with several studios on VR projects that will be released during 2015 and are currently in postproduction. “It’s more effective than an EPK or trailer,” he asserted.

The exec also projects that the music industry will benefit from VR; Jaunt already has made a few concert VR experiences, including for Paul McCartney and Jack White.

He said concerts are an “obvious application,” but other opportunities include a sort of backstage pass. “What about seeing the person getting ready for the concert? It gives you access to things you might not have access to, and it feels personal and it’s stereo 3D. And what if Rihanna was coming out with a new song and you could come inside the studio? That’s marketing but gives you access and you are invested in it.”

With Jared Leto a member of Jaunt’s advisory board, could his band 30 Seconds to Mars be next? “I’d love to find some time with Jared,” Broock responded. “We haven’t spoken to him directly, but he knows where to find us.”

With Leto set to play the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, Broock added that he’d love to see a VR experience with the actor getting ready for that role. “This is not being planned. I’m just saying it would be cool to see the process,” he said.

Jaunt also is experimenting with new technologies that could make VR even more immersive. At CES, THR tested a third-party haptic vest with Oculus Rift and Jaunt content. For the concert clip, the vest added the pulsing one feels at a large concert.

VR is still in its infancy but is a big topic this week at CES. As previously reported in THR, Fox is on hand with a VR experience for Fox Searchlight’s Wild.

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA