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Virtual Reality: An Untapped Content Creation Market

Virtual reality is a term popping up with increased frequency in the past few years, but what is it exactly? And what does it mean for content creation?

What is Virtual Reality?

It is simply a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.

The History of Virtual Reality:

Not exactly a recent innovation, virtual reality (VR) has been around in some form for decades. One early example would the creation of American VR pioneer Morton Heilig (1926-1997), who in the 1960s prototyped the Sensorama, a working (but commercial failure) device that screened 3-D images designed to trigger all the senses, from tilting the viewer’s body to accompanying sounds and aromas. Many people unfamiliar with VR imagine crudely drawn computer-generated worlds, limited by technology at the time. But this is all changing.

Virtual Reality Now:

Built on years of research and experimentation with VR headsets, full-body suits as well entire VR rooms, a headset called the Oculus Rift emerged in 2010, offering users an immersive and responsive 90 degree field of vision. All the major tech players have become involved in the past few years. Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014, while Google introduced Google Cardboard, a cheap fold-out that transforms your cell phone into a virtual reality viewing screen, also in 2014. 10 million units of the simple viewer have been shipped to date.

The Future of Virtual Reality:

But this is just the start, with similar headsets popping up left and right throughout the market. VR’s uses are seemingly endless. Videogames can offer an enhanced experience to its customers in the comfort of their own home with specially designed consoles equipped with headsets. One example would be the HTC Vive, which retails at 799 USD, offering consumers motion tracking handheld controllers and sensors in addition to a headset that can transform a living room into a variety of different interactive scenarios.

If people want to engage in a more social form of this, VR cafes could soon spring up around the world, perhaps being absorbed by internet cafes or becoming a special niche of their own. Some prognosticate virtual reality could also be something that wildly changes the landscape of cinema, giving viewers an interactive experience transcending anything 3D-screens or IMAX can provide.

And just to have some more tangible numbers for this market, it is estimated to reach $41.01 billion worldwide by 2023, up from $147.5 million in 2015. Clearly, the content creation possibilities with VR are limitless. Developers and artists can create entire worlds for their consumers with this technology, which is no longer hampered by the constraints of the past. The major players have already claimed their stakes, but as with any new business, there’s always a niche to be found or created!

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YouTube: A Threat to Content Creation?

The fact that YouTube is one of the most massive websites shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. According to YouTube’s statistics, it has over a billion users, almost one third of all people online. YouTube accumulates hundreds of millions of hours of views every single day. And that’s the beauty of one of the most revolutionary forces in content creation in the past decade.

The advantages are clear to see: YouTube provides a content creator with essentially free distribution. Anyone can upload a video accessible to anyone else with an internet connection. Content creators can also monetize their videos, allowing them to reap the rewards of adverts placed before, during and after their content is playing. A person with a camera, time and dedication can now make a living, simply via this monetization of their YouTube videos.

Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, is the pinnacle of successful examples, earning $15 million in 2016 alone. How? By finding an audience entertained by simply watching him playing video games and vlogging, amongst other things. But Kjellberg found himself in a swirl of controversy in the past few months, accused of exhibiting anti-Semitism in a number of his parody videos. He had a major television show cancelled due to the media backlash, and the whole ordeal brought renewed focus on YouTube’s approach behind selecting what it deems as “advertiser friendly” (in other words, monetized) content.

Due to the countless number of videos being uploaded every day, it’s impossible to watch and vet every single one. YouTube relies on keywords and algorithms and user flagging to do much of the heavy lifting on this front. But YouTube’s approach has arguably done more harm than good. For example, completely harmless videos are often demonetized due to a potentially controversial word in their title, such as “Christianity.” Parody, satire and political videos are particularly vulnerable to this approach, seeing as they tend to cover touchy subjects even if they aren’t controversial themselves.

This has shed a light on a big problem YouTube has: how to properly manage what content is being played along with an advertiser’s commercial, without destroying the livelihoods of its content creators.

But what are the risks that YouTube and its content creators now face?

1. Creating only to appeal to advertisers

By giving advertisers the power to select what kinds of videos their commercials appear in, this means that content creators will be incentivized to make videos that play it safe and guarantee they won’t displease anyone. It’s a compromise many will find hard to make.

2. Workaround approaches work both ways

There are methods of avoiding getting flagged and circumventing YouTube’s system, for example, by removing potentially inflammatory keywords from the title and tags of a video. But this is an approach everyone will soon figure out, including those with legitimately offensive content.

3. The death of freedom of speech

This is a centuries old problem: how to make a living as a creator without censoring yourself? YouTube has a responsibility to not allow content creators to be silenced unfairly, even if the expense is exorbitant and unwieldy. Otherwise, true freedom of speech and expression on its website will quickly die.

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The Creativity Melting Pot

Creativity is a funny thing. We owe the heights (and sometimes the lows) of human civilization to it. We see its effects in books we read, films we watch, advertisements we try to ignore, in buildings we live in, cars we drive and on and on.

And yet, where creativity comes from doesn’t have a clear universal answer. Some people seem to have a knack for it while others get demoralized the moment they’re expected to do something out of the norm. But what stimulates creativity? Where does the spark come from?

There’s plenty of answers out there for those questions, and many a self-help book, seminar and video has been peddled around assuring its readers the solution is at hand. For those of you who wish they would just get to the point and not charge exorbitant prices for their troubles, here are five useful (and free!) steps you can follow to find your creativity.

1. Explore yourself.

This is both simple and challenging, but introspection is the most necessary step for a creative person. Each of us is different. Beyond the drudgery of life, we all get pleasure from a whole multitude of things. It’s funny how rarely we actually pause to ask ourselves what do we enjoy? What has enjoyed us in the past? What did we like about them? Ask yourself and you may be surprised at the answers.

2. Seek the different.

If you don’t know many things that excite you, that give you pleasure merely by the act of doing them, seek them out. If you don’t really read, read more. If you only watch action films, watch dramas. If you’ve never painted or played a musical instrument in your life, why not try both? You’ll never know what might spark you. Sometimes trying one thing ends up leading you down the path of something seemingly irrelevant. You won’t know unless you try.

3. Schedule time for creativity.

The key for steps 1 and 2 is to give yourself time to do them the same way you give yourself time to exercise, go shopping or watch TV. Even dedicating a small slice of time a day or during weekends can pay off.

4. Act first, doubt later.

When we try new things we’re not very good at, or that perhaps seem pointless in our day to day lives, it’s typical of us to give up. Doubts are normal, but surrendering to them all the time shouldn’t be. Parking those doubts away even temporarily can sometimes have the effect of making them disappear altogether.

5. Share and communicate.

Now that you’ve expanded your inner horizons, extending them outwards can have positive effects. In our global digital age, you’ll always find others who share your interests and ideas. You can bounce thoughts, concepts, arguments…etc. off of them and vice versa. You might discover what you might be able to do better or what you can focus your attentions on. Doing so will only enhance your own creativity and that of others!

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DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea
Playing: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 8:45 P.M.

Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s work tends to be emotionally wrenching, so viewers should be forewarned this won’t be an easy watch. Set in Massachusetts, the story begins when Lee’s (Affleck) life is thrown into upheaval after his older brother suddenly dies and he finds himself entrusted with the guardianship of his nephew.

manchester

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Check out the full preview here. Leave a comment to tell us what you thought of the movie.

Ali Amad (MoviePulse.me editor)

DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Voyage of Time

Voyage of Time

Playing: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 6:30 P.M.

“Voyage of Time” ambitiously covers exactly what the title suggests, charting the creation of our planet and the evolution of our species, utilizing extensive special effects and plenty of creative guesswork. The 90-minute Cate Blanchett-narrated version will be playing at DIFF 2016.

voyage-of-time

Read more on www.MoviePulse.me.

Ali Amad (MoviePulse.me editor)

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DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Ember (Kor)

Ember (Kor)
Playing: Monday, Dec. 12, 6:00 P.M. and Wednesday, Dec. 14, 5:30 P.M.

Turkish cinema has seen an incredible rise in recent years. Films such as “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” and “The Edge of Heaven” have offered starkly bleak and bravely truthful accounts of Turkish society, winning awards and international recognition. Writer-director Zeki Demirkubuz’s “Ember” is yet another endeavour in that tradition.

turkish-movie23

Read more by clicking on Tabeer’s MoviePulse.me. If you watched the movie, let us know what you think in the comments here on our blog or on MoviePulse.me

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Ali Amad (MoviePulse Editor) www.MoviePulse.me

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DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Layla M.

Layla M.

Playing: Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 P.M. layla-m-1

Most of the media coverage that promotes Islamophobia neglects the roots and causes behind why a tiny minority of Muslims become radicalized, offering the easy solution. What Layla M. seeks to do is unravel the myriad of factors that lead to people of all ages, backgrounds and upbringings to go down that route.

Read more on MoviePulse.me by clicking here. If you watched the movie, let us know what you think.

Tabeer, proud sponsor and official translator of DIFF2016.

Ali Amad (MoviePulse.me Editor)

(image copyright TIFF)

The War Show Preview

THE WAR SHOW

Playing: Friday, Dec. 9, 5:30 P.M. and Saturday, Dec. 10, 9:45 P.M.

As the Syrian Civil War tragedy spirals past its fifth year, the staggering toll on the country’s people continues to mount with no end in sight. Millions of refugees with communities destroyed and homes lost are spread across the world while their country is reduced to rubble.

Back in 2011, no one could have anticipated the Arab Spring that swept through the Middle East and toppled more than one despotic ruler. And no one could have anticipated the brutal crackdown of the Syrian regime on its own citizens.

Those early protests and the almost immediate retaliation of al-Assad’s army are the setting where “The War Show” starts. Years of home video-style footage were filmed by radio host activist Obaidah Zytoon and her friends, and shaped into this documentary with the help of Danish director Andreas Dalsgaard.

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What began with excitement, hope and optimism for what was always an unlikely future is challenged but not defeated as time progresses. This is the strength of “The War Show.” Hope is immovable from every moment of this film, as we leave the first protests to follow Zytoon on her travels across Syria to war-torn cities and her hometown of Al Zabadani to fully witness the ramifications of a full-fledged civil war.

This isn’t the first documentary to cover this subject and neither is it the most comprehensive. That being said, it offers a perspective missing in news coverage and other documentaries that focus on the combat while neglecting the younger generations who demand a better future, and who suffer the most in any war. This might not be the easiest film to watch in this year’s festival, but it is definitely one of the most important and timely.

TICKET INFORMATION AND MORE HERE.

Tabeer; proud sponsors & official translators for DIFF2016.