KEANU VR kicks off Warner Brothers Release

I recently co-directed a VR sketch for Warner Brother's home video release of Keanu with the team over at SunnyboyVR. Picking up where the Key & Peele movie left off, the sketch takes you into elaborate dioramas for a 360 view of a Keanu's first big time photo shoot. With over 4.5 million views to date it proves once again that you can't go wrong with kittens on the internet.

Watch it on Facebook360.

Blue Diamond Almonds 360 Experience with Olympian Matt Grevers

Back in May I had the pleasure of DP'ing a 360 experience for Blue Diamond Almonds starring Olympic swimmer Matt Grevers. Directed by Jeff Nicholas and shot at a training facility in AZ, the job presented significant logistical challenges. We needed three different rigs to achieve the final result. An above water crane rig to track with the swimmers, a POV rig to capture Matt's POV, an underwater rig to capture the below water action. We worked around the clock to prep for the various modes of shooting and shot the whole job in under five hours. Special shout out to key grip extraordinaire Josh Linkey and tech wizard Sebastien Hameline for their incredible support.

Link to YouTube360 version.

Returned from Ford Racing Job in Belgium

I just got back from an amazing week long project for Ford Racing and Hoonigan. We shot a WRX piece with two of the world's best racers. I worked with a combination of Nokia Ozo's and GoPro rigs to capture every story of the race. The finished project will debut in VR but also live as a massive projected dome experience at race venues around the world. I'll post links when it goes live in app, but for now enjoy this BTS action...

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The Conjuring 2 VR Released

Awhile back I hinted at work on a VR horror experience, well it's finally arrived. The Conjuring 2 360 3D VR Experience went live this week. The house from the film was meticulously recreated using LIDAR scans and mixed with live action actors from the movie. The work was done by Sunnyboy VR and features some of the best scares in VR so far.

The experience is meant to be viewed in a headset because it's has both 3D images and 3D spatial sound. Right now most links point to YouTube360 but it should be up on MilkVR and other 3D platforms soon. Here's some press about the launch-

Entertainment Weekly // Bloody Disgusting // JoBlo // MetroUK

Chosen as Mentor for Oculus' VR FOR GOOD Program

I'm honored to announce I'm one of the filmmakers chosen to participate in Oculus and Facebook's launch of VR FOR GOOD, an initiative that challenges Bay Area students to use next-generation technologies for real-world projects. I was partnered with two high schools in the Bay Area to mentor students in 360 video production. Over the course of six weeks they created 3-5 minute 360 films sharing what's special about their communities. The program will conclud with a film showcase to celebrate their efforts and highlight the top films.

Growing up in the Bay Area it was a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community and inspire young 360 filmmakers to find new ways to tell their stories.

Press about the program was picked up by USA Today, PC Mag, Yahoo, Engadget, and more.

Budweiser VR at SXSW

Earlier this month I directed and DP'd a VR experience for Budweiser at their facilities in St. Louis in a collaboration with The Uprising Creative. I shot it with a combination of rigs, one GoPro and one A7S for low light. The project will be premiering at SXSW in a 4D experience complete with the smell and tastes of Budweiser as you move through the virtual tour. 

After tasting freshbeer before bottling, I'm not sure I can ever go back. Needless to say, we did a lot of tasting shots "for rehearsal". Good thing I had my level on me or the shots might have been a little...wobbly.

Press from Sundance

I finally caught up on sleep from Sundance. We had an amazing time watching people experience the VR sketch for the first time. Rob and Paul were troopers and introduce the first three screenings and killed it on our Comedy VR panel.

Some press that covered the piece  --

CNET  //  Engadget  //  UploadVR  //  US Today

You can also watch the stream of our panel on VR comedy here.

KCRW launches VR Music Programming

I recently had the pleasure of working with local NPR flagship station and cultural trendsetter KCRW. I designed and built a camera system so they could capture their in-studio sessions in beautiful 360 3D, as well as directed their first VR project with indie band Death Cab For Cutie (currently up on Youtube). Since that project they've gone on to shoot a host of other artists on their popular Morning Becomes Eclectic show. The app launched today on the App Store if you want to check it out.

Or Visit www.KCRW.com/vr for more info.


The VR Report Launches On All Major VR Platforms

I'm excited to announce that the thirteen episode VR talk show I co-created and directed launched across all major platforms today. You can view it in VR on Samsung's MilkVR, YouTube360, Littlstar, and VRideo. The launch was recently featured on UploadVR, you can read the article here.

From our press release -- 

"Ushering in the next era of entertainment, The VR Report introduces a unique new talk show format featuring an immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience. For the first time, viewers have the opportunity to sit down face-to-face in a virtual reality environment with a variety of luminaries and pioneers in the rapidly growing VR industry.  Hosted on Milk VR, Samsung’s content portal dedicated to 360-degree video content, viewers can watch the show using the Samsung Gear VR and compatible Samsung mobile device. The series debuted the first three episodes on October 6, 2015, with subsequent episodes scheduled to release in the following weeks. 

The show is a stereoscopic experience where the viewer is positioned in a seat at a table with the show’s host David Oh, a video game veteran and current head developer relations at Leap Motion. Other key members of The VR Report team include Lex Halaby, an experienced director in the VR space with projects for Universal, ABC Digital, Tesla Motors, and Funny or Die; and Kevin Ping Chang, a feature film and television producer currently focused on creating narrative driven live-action and interactive VR experiences.

“The VR Report is a spontaneous open forum catered towards the VR community,” said show host David Oh.  “There’s no cue cards or FAQ lists, just open and honest conversations with a generation of pioneers who want to share their vision for the future of virtual reality and what inspires them.”

The guests featured on The VR Report represent a wide spectrum of functions within the VR community, including Tony Parisi (Futurist and Creator of VRML & X3D), Ben Lang (Co-founder & Executive Editor of Road To VR), Cosmo Scharf and Jonnie Ross  (Founders of VRLA, Founders of Visionary VR and Founders of Proto Awards), and Patrick Hackett  (Co-creator of Tilt Brush and VR Designer at Google)."

Please visit our website to view and download episodes at www.TheVRReport.com

Back To The Future x Tesla Motors

I was honored to be brought onto a project by Positron in support of Tesla Motors for Back To The Future day tomorrow. You can read about the project on FastCompany.

Oh, and here I am living out my childhood dream. If you look carefully you can spot where I rigged the VR camera.

VR Horror Project In The Works

Just wrapped a VR Horror project in support of a feature film release for Warner Bros. If only there was a better way to keep blood off my lenses and ghosts out of my hard drives.

Back from the UK

It's been a busy month so a lot of updates coming... I recently got back from shooting a secret project in the UK. I know, I know, "secret projects" are a ploy for attention, but I really would tell you if I could. This picture doesn't do the scope of the experience justice but it's the only one I can share right now. Needless to say, I'll be very excited to post when it's ready. It might be awhile though, there are over 100 camera setups... so yeahhhh.

ABC Digital Pilot Presentation

I just finished shooting an ABC Digital pilot presentation for a new horror series. Reactions have been great so far and it's currently fast tracked. I can't publish the presentation piece yet, but possibly down the line as things move forward. Very excited to see it move to the next level.


ASCAPE - "You Are Here"

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was directing a VR travel show pilot in SF. Well it's finally arrived! You can download the "Ascape" app on Android devices to experience it with positional sound.

You can also download the MP4 version of the show here --https://mega.nz/#!QddT0RaJ!HSkLwHpa_f6bzAC5F4PlWUwTaSP0ObSYw3iRgb_PY1w

On the show, Stuart Schuffman (from IFC's "BrokeAss Stuart") leads you through SF's lesser known attractions and gives you an insiders guide to the city that you'd never get from a postcard.

The show was accepted into the Kaleidoscope VR Festival, the first of it's kind. For dates and more information visit www.kvrff.com

PSA: Secure your VR camera on windy cliffs

I nearly lost an entire VR rig while shooting some tests for a VR travel show awhile ago.

We were up at Twin Peaks shooting a test when the wind suddenly gusted and nearly took down our entire rig. I don't have the fastest of reflexes but something came over me in the moment (thankfully). See below...

Moral of the story - We all want a small footprint with our VR camera support, but keep a ton of extra bags handy and spread those legs wide on a windy day. Better to have extra post work than seven broken GoPros :)

VR CAMERA - Available For Rent

After shooting with a many VR  rigs the past year I decided to build my very own custom setup that combines the best of all worlds. I'm currently using it for my own projects, but also renting it out to other productions.

If you have questions or interested in renting contact me at -- lexhalaby@gmail.com

So why is this camera system better than most rigs available to rent?

First off, it can shoot either 360 stereo or mono. It's totally up to you and how you use the rig. In fact you can shoot both at the same time and decide later if you want.

NO MINIMUM DISTANCE - It uses eight GoPros with modified ultra wide angle lenses, each with a field of view of 180+ degrees. This means there's virtually NO MINIMUM distance a subject can get to camera. I've put objects just inches away and they maintain perfect stereoscopy while viewing. This is a huge advantage over stock GoPro systems. You can get in very tight spaces and never have to worry that your footage is unusable.

TRUE OPTICAL STEREO - There's been a few camera systems that claim to be stereo, but are actually post-processed stereo. This is similar to going to see a 3D movie that's been converted to 3D rather than shot in 3D. This camera actually shoots true optical stereo by using left and right eyes, giving the final image much more depth and a truer sense of immersion.

NO BLIND SPOT - Because the lenses shoot 180+ degrees horizontally and vertically it means there's no "black circle" under the viewer. You can look straight up and straight down without ever breaking immersion.

NO HORIZONTAL STITCHES - Many other rigs configure GoPros in all directions, causing stitch lines to criss-cross through your subjects. Not with this camera. Because of the 180+ lenses your subject can walk from the horizon all the way up to inches from camera and never once walk through a stitch or seam. Plus with only four stereo pairs it means only four stitches in your post workflow. Which brings me to...

90 DEGREE STITCH OVERLAP - There's so much overlap between cameras the stitching process has plenty to work with. In fact you can literally move the stitch line along with your subject. If you render out multiple stitch positions you can jump cut the stitch across your subject so they NEVER WALK THROUGH A STITCH. Almost no other camera system can do this because they typically have small overlap and force you to set your stitches in one place.

ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES - The camera rents with an extra GoPro with touchback LCD for live monitoring on set and choosing camera settings. In addition to the standard GoPro batteries it also comes with four Anker 10000mAh, each with dual USB inputs, allowing you to run and gun without worrying about battery charge. It also comes with a 10 port USB hub if you want to run wall power. I have a whole slew of adapters packed, including an 18 inch Ultralight arm with balljoints, babypin adapters, and light stand adapters. I even include a lightstand with low imprint and shot bag with every rental. However you need it mounted, it's packed in this case. Lastly, it comes with 8x 64GB cards and 8x 32GB cards, allowing over 3 hours of record time without downloading.

SHIPPING AVAILABLE - The whole rig is neatly packed in a Pelican case and can ship anywhere in the USA. It's fairly lightweight and works well for run and gun scenarios too.

TECH - The camera can rent with or without a tech. If you have experience in 360 production, the camera setup is easy enough to manage and relatively fool proof. If you aren't familiar with 360 production or don't know much about GoPro settings then I suggest you have a Tech with you on set. I can recommend people or come out myself if available.

RATE - Email me to discuss rate. I'm very flexible and know a lot of people are just getting into the game and may not have the big budgets yet. I'm confident we can find a rate much less than the standard rental houses are charging for inferior rigs.

I look forward to hearing from you - lexhalaby@gmail.com

 

Comic Con 2015 - Camera Test

I built a small portable stereographic 180 VR camera from two GoPros with modified wide angle lenses and took it down to Comic Con for some tests. It holds up really well with run and gun, keeps pace in interior/exterior changes, and maintained sync well too.

I cut together some shots to give you a flavor of Comic Con, but it's mostly meant to be test footage and proof of concept for the rig design. You can download the stereoscopic 180 MP4 video here. As always I recommend LiveViewRift for viewing on DK2--

https://mega.co.nz/#!ZNNHXboQ!aNgeBssR_Xp6Ms7D7MygZ4tqyRQ5XC1JHkg6Fes8AjE