During the waning days of CES, Guido Voltolina seemed as tired as most everyone who works the annual tech convention.
Yet the head of virtual reality capture for Nokia, makers of the professional-grade Ozo VR camera and VR production ecosystem, still managed to sound excited about the state of the VR industry, and not just about what his company is doing in the space.
“The trend we’re seeing is the quality of content has become really appealing and entertaining,” Voltolina told B&C. “The fact is, there’s a business growing, it’s just not mature. [And] although virtual reality is new and novel, the availability and quality of experiences are becoming mature.”
To date, there’s been “lots of trying” and “lots of demos” for first-adopters of today’s VR technology, he said. But after everything he saw during a week at CES: “The [cinematic VR] content is really appealing and entertaining, and it’s [getting] better and better.”
Specifically, Voltolina pointed to what Hollywood studios like 20th Century Fox are doing in the VR space, with that studio debuting VR experiences for both its “Alien” and “Planet of the Apes” franchises. He noted that Sony Pictures has partnered with his company to produce VR content as well. And, to date, he said, VR had been treated as a marketing gimmick, something to tie into the intellectual property of franchises. “It was just a commercial, a marketing item,” Voltolina said. “Now it’s a complimentary piece to the content.
“It’s also after-market, after the film, where you already know the characters. That evolution goes into the revolution of being entertained in virtual reality, where you can be part of the movie. People want to see certain things they really like, everything available [around that content].”
Voltolina also acknowledged a new trend at CES: the availability of affordable, consumer-friendly VR cameras (the $1,000, six-camera Hubblo, and $800, eight-camera Vuze, to name two), that aim to rival what the high-end hardware players offer. Voltolina said those cameras will help with an important market, “addressing the needs of the potential VR user, giving them the tools to do interesting stuff.”
But that’s not what professional VR content creators need, he said.
“They’re [good for] experimenting, but not [something] in the hands of professionals,” he said.