Total immersion

By Li Yingxue| (China Daily)| Updated : 2018-07-06

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Audiences watch VR films at the recent Sandbox Immersive Festival, China's first immersive media festival, in Qingdao, Shandong province in June. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"The future of immersive media lies in the world of mixed reality, where devices become more logical, nimble and ubiquitous," said Paramount Pictures' Ted Schilowitz. "The next wave will be ... with you all the time, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed."

As the movie giant's first futurist in residence, Schilowitz was setting out his vision for the future of the virtual reality industry at the opening of the Sandbox Immersive Festival on June 25.

He was addressing more than 500 creators and professionals, technology experts, artists and distributors from every sector of the global immersive media industry, who had gathered for the event in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, China's first UNESCO Creative City of Film.

As China's first immersive media festival, Sandbox was set up to promote the immersive and interactive media arts-virtual and mixed reality, immersive theater and the arts, and location-based immersive entertainment-by screening over 40 VR works from all around the world.

Workshops on immersive storytelling, experience, design and art, and illustration were held at the event, followed by forums about immersive storytelling, technology and entertainment.

Event director Lou Yanxin says the aim is to build Sandbox into an international platform to allow various fields of the VR industry to come together and move this emerging medium forward.

"The VR industry has a long chain, where we not only need to focus on developing the latest technologies, but also to explore creating new content," says Lou. "We also need to build effective distribution channels."

The Sandbox awards ceremony was held on the night of June 26. As head of the jury, Schilowitz announced that The Day the World Changed, a VR work from the United States directed by Gabo Arora and Saschka Unseld had won the grand jury prize.

Produced by startup studio Tomorrow Never Knows in partnership with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, The Day the World Changed brings to life the harrowing experiences of the victims and survivors of the atomic bombings and nuclear arms tests through firsthand testimonies, data visualizations and the innovative use of 3D scanning and photogrammetry.

A work by Pinta Studios, Shennong: Taste of Illusion, picked up the award for best Chinese VR. The 12-minute film tells the story of the Chinese legendary figure Shennong, or "divine farmer", who explores a forest deep in a valley to collect unknown plants and sample their tastes and effects.

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