Director Jorge R. Gutierrez On Why Hollywood Is Excited About VR

Writer/director Jorge R. Gutierrez saw his dream project become a reality in Hollywood, although it took 14 years from the time he released his CalArts animated student film on The Day of the Dead to the time the feature film starring Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana and Diego Luna hit theaters. With Guillermo del Toro on board as producer — his daughters were fans of Gutierrez’s Nickelodeon animated TV series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera — the film made $100 million at the box office and is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Gutierrez talks about The Book of Life VR experience and how Street Fighter influenced him in this exclusive interview.

Jorge R. GutierrezJorge R. Gutierrez

What would The Book of Life video game be if you were able to make it?

I would have loved to have been able to made one. The way the gaming industry is right now it was just too big of a risk financially to make a game without the studio knowing how well the movie would do. When we did the El Tigre video game I got to write the story and I helped design it. I created new villains for it, so I was all over that. So I was really excited about a Book of Life game where you could play Guitar Hero-stuff for the music and you could do the fighting stuff. There was God of War stuff and fantasy adventure type gameplay as well, but unfortunately it never happened.

Will there be a sequel?

We still don’t know if we’re going to get to make a part 2 or a part 3, because I always envisioned them as a trilogy. I had always imagined the first movie to be about Manolo, the second to be about Joaquín and the third one to be about Maria. I’m already working on my new film, which is a Mexican kung fu movie, so you’re definitely going to see a lot more video game influences in that.

What opportunities are digital and mobile games opening up for Hollywood?

I’m hoping with the success of The Book of Life I can entice gaming people to take that leap into video games because this thing is perfect for that. I definitely think gaming is changing with social media and cell phones. It’s a whole new world out there, so I’m hoping we get to do something really cool.

How did the Street Fighter video game franchise influence you as a director?

Street Fighter was one of those things where for me the idea was it’s not about fighting, it’s about what you’re fighting for. I implied all this moral virtue to the honorable Street Fighter. I took that really seriously. It kind of guided me as I grew up.

Were you one of those gamers who got suckered into buying every new version of the same game like Super Street Fighter II Turbo Edition?

I’m the guy who buys every version all the time. When the new version gets announced, I just throw my wallet at the computer screen.

And Capcom  just announced Street Fighter V.

Oh, I know. Believe me, I was like, “Oh my god, this is going to be amazing.”

Capcom did make a couple Street Fighter movies. Do you see potential there for you to direct a video game movie?

There’s never been a good video game movie, so I’m really hoping someone makes that transition too. But it just seems like games are about the user experience and movies are a narrative, and so somehow those two things don’t seem to connect.

What aspirations do you have outside of directing to get more involved in video games?

For me it’s all transmedia, so I would love to get my hands in there and work with a gaming studio. This is one of my passions, so I definitely would love to be a part of that world.

Guillermo Del Toro had a Pacific Rim virtual reality demo at Comic Con last year on Oculus Rift. What do you think VR is opening up for filmmakers?

Actually, Pacific Rim was done here in Texas as Reel FX and they did a VR experience for The Book of Life and it’s freaking amazing. I was shocked. Literally, you go into the Land of the Remembered as Manola, you look at your hands and they’re skeleton hands, you get on a horse . . .  it freaked me out by how amazing it looked. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I definitely think this immersive world is coming for video games and it’s going to be amazing.

Did you get to work on the VR demo?

Oh, absolutely. They’re literally 40 feet away from me right now, so I got to see all that stuff and I got to help those guys out. I’m telling you this thing is amazing. Video games are going to change for the better and it’s going to be so immersive. My only fear is that it’s so immersive people are not going to want to be in the real world anymore.

Where will people be able to experience The Book of Life VR?

They had it for the Consumer Electronics Show and Dell World. I’m not sure if they’re going to be doing that at Comic Con this year, but I know they’re doing a lot more VR for a lot more movies and a lot more brands. It’s exploding right now.

VR was everywhere at Sundance and SXSW this year.

It’s a way to literally take the audience into the world of the movie. I keep waiting for one of the big directors going to jump in and do something spectacular with it. It’s going to be amazing, and it’s coming.

Guillermo said that he wants to do a full VR game with the next Pacific Rim movie.

The Pacific Rim VR thing they did here was just again tip of the iceberg with all the potential. It’s just going to be pretty insane. Reel FX has an Oculus department that’s spearheading a lot of the stuff that they did for Pacific Rim and for The Book of Life, so I’ve been a fan boy going over there and asking those guys to show me stuff. There’s a lot of secret properties that they’re working on, but just getting a glimpse of all that stuff has been really exciting.

Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot ran on Unreal Engine 4, so they’re probably using a game engine for those projects.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what that is, but it’s crazy to walk around that area and everybody’s wearing the headsets and sitting there moving their hands.  It looks like the future.

Facebook Announces Free Analytics, Messenger As Platform

Facebook’s F8 conference delivered some big news today for mobile marketers as it expanded the scope of Messenger, debuted Facebook Analytics for Apps, and brought LiveRail to mobile. There’s a lot here that will take a while to sink in, and for developers to really enhance, but the prospects for Facebook as an advertising medium, a social medium, and even a business connection look better than ever.

The keynote, led by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, laid out Facebook’s major announcements for the show. One thing came across loud and clear: It’s time for Messenger to step into the limelight. The app has an audience of more than 600 million people, according to Zuckerberg, and Facebook is now opening it up as a platform for developers. Yes, you’ll be able to create apps that can be installed on Messenger, and you’ll be able to move right to app installs. This is huge news for games, as anyone who’s watched the massive success of messaging apps in Asia can tell you.

WeChat in China, Kakao Talk in Korea, Line in Japan — all are driving the top mobile games in those countries, and are directly responsible for billions of dollars in revenue for games. People live in their messaging apps, and broadening the utility of messaging into an app discovery should be a huge boost to games. This alone should boost Facebook’s reputation as the place for game marketers to find users.

Facebook’s plans for Messenger are ambitious. In the last year, Facebook’s worked to make Messenger become a really important communications tool, adding photos and videos, stickers, voice calling — and now mobile VOIP globally. Just this last week Facebook starting rolling out payments through Facebook. Now it’s looking to make Messenger an important business tool: “Mostly you call businesses today, ” Zuckerberg said. “How useful would it be if you could message a business instead ” Facebook is introducing this capability today. The examples showed how receipts can be sent through Messenger, allowing you to answer back immediately if you have a change in your order. Your entire communication history with a business is kept in the thread, making it easy to provide personalized service. The SDK is available today, at

There was plenty more of interest to marketers, with Deborah Liu, director of platform, showing off the new Facebook Analytics for Apps. “It helps you understand how people use your apps,” said Liu. “It’s people-focused, and cross-device.” That’s really critical in this age of screens everywhere, since now you can analyze how people are using apps across multiple devices. This capability is free, available today.

Liu also showed off LiveRail’s new capability to let you monetize and manage video across multiple platforms, including mobile. The benefits are increased ROI for developers, more relevant ads to people, and better monetization for apps. Who could argue with any of that More details on Facebook’s announcements and links to full information can be found here.

The [a]listdaily reached out to one of the leaders in the mobile ad measurement industry, AppsFlyer, to see what they thought about Facebook’s announcement. AppsFlyer’s CEO, Oren Kaniel, discussed the impact of Facebook’s announcements for us. AppsFlyer had an in-depth analysis of Facebook’s announcements today that you can find here.

Oren Kaniel

Why is Facebook’s new ad analytics tool important for app developers?

Facebook’s new tool validates the entire mobile app tracking industry and is incredibly important for any app developers that aren’t already using a similar solution. It will give them insights into their app install campaigns and help them understand how well their ad sources are working, which in turn will allow them to optimize their campaigns and have confidence that they’re getting a positive return on their investment.

How important has Facebook become for mobile app developers, and why?

Facebook is incredibly important for mobile app developers because it is one of the largest and highest-quality sources of new installs.

How is AppsFlyer affected by this announcement, and what does it means for marketers using AppsFlyer’s tools?

This announcement doesn’t have any effect on our partnership with Facebook, as we remain a close-knit partner in its MMP program. Nor does it have any effect on our current customers, as they can continue to use AppsFlyer the same way they always have. We feel Facebook’s new tool will be a great solution for smaller developers who are just using Facebook and maybe a limited number of other advertising sources, but for those larger and medium-sized developers that are advertising across a broader assortment of publishers including Twitter, Google, Yahoo and others, they’ll need an independent and unbiased solution such as ours in order to track their campaigns across the entire ecosystem.

Will Facebook’s importance to mobile app developers be increasing over the next year? Why or why not?

Yes, Facebook’s importance to mobile app developers will most definitely increase over the next year. Facebook has made a concerted effort to invest in mobile and to help app developers grow their businesses. This new analytics solution is just one example of that commitment.

How does Facebook work with Apple and Google — should marketers be concerned about friction between these huge companies?

There will always be friction among the biggest companies in the industry, and though it remains to be seen just how that friction will affect access to app tracking and analytics, we believe that it’s in the best interest of app marketers to have an independent, unbiased attribution firm they can trust.

F8’s Biggest Announcements Today

GIF Integration Into Facebook Messenger

Perhaps a little surprising that Facebook had announced payment capabilities within the Messenger app a week ago, but today’s big Messenger announcement went to the little image type that could: the gif. Why Because it’s fun.

The Ability To Embed Video

Video is hugely important to Facebook this year as the push to get creators to upload video content native to the platform has the payoff of getting the reach and engagement Facebook can provide. While YouTube has allowed embedded video for some time, making their videos more likely to be distributed by publishers, Facebook is now embeddable too.

For marketers, Facebook video is no longer just relegated to the Newsfeed and can reach more eyeballs.

‘Spherical’ Videos

No regular ol’ videos will do anymore. As we prepare for the inevitable VR takeover, we suspect quite a lot of Facebook videos in the coming few weeks will take advantage of ‘spherical,’ more interactive video. We hope it has more longevity than Hyperlapse.

Facebook App Analytics

Facebook has been integrated into more and more apps lately. Now, a new free tool courtesy of Facebook will allow developers to better understand how users are using them and just how effective the marketing campaigns are. For mobile games, knowing how well your Facebook campaign is acquiring users is crucial.

The LiveRail Ad Platform Expands

LiveRail ads are no longer relegated to just the desktop anymore and are going mobile. This time, LiveRail will support display and native ads, too. Sounds just like another ad platform, Google

Stay tuned for news about Oculus tomorrow and what other interesting announcments Facebook has up their sleeves.
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Measuring Branded Video Success

What goes into making a popular branded video for social channels Even with a successful formula, there are certain factors to consider — like the fact that Facebook video performs in a different way than YouTube.

A new report from digital video analytics company Tubular breaks this down in the infographic below, explaining how performance differs between YouTube and Facebook’s video service, according to DigiDay.

One example of this is Air France’s “France Is In the Air” video, which is located below. It’s become one of the more popular ads on YouTube, with more than 17.8 million views since its debut earlier this month. Meanwhile, over on Facebook, a new clip from Marvel’s forthcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie was highly popular, with 9.4 million views from a single day of posting last week.

“There was obviously significant spend behind (the Air France Video), because you see there was only a tiny amount of (likes, comments and shares),” said Allison Stern, vice president of enterprise for Tubular Labs. Bigger paid promotion led to a smaller rate of engagement, according to the report.

Longer shelf life for promotional videos was also noted, with top examples — including Air France, along with Durex and Samsung — continuing to be popular. “On the YouTube side, you get repeat winners,” explained Stern. “You see longevity in the videos.”

Facebook ad campaigns are popular as well — and an interesting note in the report pointed out that the second and eighth most-watched videos for the week were for the social site itself. Promoting friendship through these ads could be a smart move for the site, since it relies so heavily on friends finding one another through it anyway.

There seems to be a larger engagement rate on Facebook than on YouTube, with the ability to not only like a video, but also comment on it and share it with friends. There’s a higher level of interactivity, compared to simply viewing and posting links from a YouTube-posted video, according to the report.

YouTube still has the lead in brand videos, though, with 30 percent of the top 100 videos for January 2015 coming from publishers, and 17 percent coming from brands, according to Stern. Facebook’s numbers are smaller than those, with 25 percent from publishers and a measly one percent from brands.

The infographic featured below breaks down the power of branded video across both sites. These include advertisements for Age of Ultron, as well as the premiere for the new film Pixels, Sony’s exclusive new series Powers, and other examples.

Here’s How Facebook Plans to Get More Creators to Upload Natively

by: Sahil Patel

It’s no secret that Facebook wants video creators to upload content directly to the social network instead of embedding third-party (YouTube) clips. The company has even made it so that those clips perform better on the social network.

Now, two companies are launching products that will make it easier for more video creators and publishers to easily publish natively to Facebook.

The first one is Fullscreen, which has unveiled the Fullscreen Uploader, a tool that will allow its creators to upload natively to YouTube and/or Facebook from one place. The tool will be available as part of the network’s Creator Platform. Fullscreen currently serves more than 60,000 creators.

Read more…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Vrideo Ready To Tackle Virtual Reality

With virtual reality ready to make a big splash on the consumer market this year, many video services are stepping up to provide content set to take them into the next dimension. Among these competitors is the L.A.-based start-up company Vrideo, who recently underwent a round of seed funding to push its service to the next level.

Re/code recently reported that Vrideo has huge ambitions, deeming itself “the home of immersive video” in the hopes of becoming the YouTube of the virtual reality market. With this service, interested parties can upload and stream content directly to the channel, allowing those with virtual reality headsets – or regular computers, via the Vrideo website – to view to their heart’s content.

Although the site recently just launched, Vrideo recently acquired $1.8 million in seed funding across various investors, including Lere Hippeau Ventures, Advancit, Betaworks and popular rap superstar Nas. That should help the company boost its video library over the next few months – just in time for when Sony’s Project Morpheus and Facebook’s oft-delayed Oculus Rift finally come to market.

So far, Vrideo’s library is small, and there are mild concerns when it comes to having the right bandwidth and storage costs required to keep it up and running. However, the company appears ready for the challenge that lies ahead.

Accessibility will be important to Vrideo as well. CEO Alex Rosenfeld has stated that video makers won’t be charged for uploading their content, and, for the time being, all content being offered on the site is free of charge. In the future, the company may likely introduce a program where content creators can sell certain clips, and companies could come on board with interactive advertising.

There will be plenty of competition out there when virtual reality finally hits its stride in the consumer market this year, but here’s hoping that Vrideo finds its niche and builds the kind of audience – creators and viewers alike – to make a hearty dent in it.

Image source

YouTube Reintroducing Live Service For Gaming, eSports

Based on its recently reported audience numbers, Twitch has grown into a juggernaut within the gaming community, with 100 million monthly viewers and many broadcasts ranging from specialty broadcasts to live tournaments. So, it should be no surprise that YouTube wants a piece of the action.

DailyDot reports that Google’s video service is set to relaunch its live-streaming service with an emphasis on gaming and eSports related tournaments, in the hopes of competing with its broadcasting rival. YouTube has been keeping a close eye on Twitch, and intends to pick up both content and talent that relate to the industry.

“Gaming and eSports in particular are going to be a big driving force for the new-look YouTube live,” said a source familiar with the project. “There’ll be huge opportunities for established streamers and organizations soon and I would say that the record number of eSports viewers are only going to grow when Google starts promoting and partnering with these events.”

At one point, YouTube was almost set to acquire Twitch for integration into its site (despite the protest of many of its users, fearing limitations), only for the deal to fall through and Amazon picking up the site instead.

YouTube is no stranger to livestreaming, as it tinkered with it back in 2010 with cricket matches from the Indian Premier League. Unfortunately, compared to Twitch’s programming, it simply didn’t compare, forcing Google to reconfigure its services for a more popular gaming demographic.

Thus far, YouTube execs have been putting together a good team for the project, bringing in 50 different engineers with expertise in streaming. It “is a pretty big statement of intent,” said another source. “The time is right as well, with Twitch moving into other areas such as music and so on. Google doesn’t want to be too far behind in the arms race.”

There are two things that YouTube needs to keep in mind with the relaunch, though. The first is gaining access to exclusive content that makes it the premiere service to tune in to. It has aired the League of Legends Championship Series since 2013, but so has Twitch, and many users prefer that channel due to accessibility.

The second thing is finding the right format. Previous live broadcasts on the YouTube site have been lackluster, with a smaller window than what’s offered on the Twitch page, and less accessible features in the chat. Here’s hoping the team finds a way to make it more user-friendly.

eSports are growing enough to be considered the future, and, done the right way, YouTube’s approach could grab a nice chunk of this audience. Done the right way, that is.

YouTube is expected to announce its official plans in just a few weeks’ time, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo event in Los Angeles this June.

Image source

New PS4 Update Will Introduce Hard Drive Support

The new game systems on the market these days are quite impressive, but both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have one hitch that’s hard to overlook – most of the games that are downloaded take a great deal of space, anywhere from 1GB all the way up to 50GB. And considering both of these consoles ship with a general 500GB hard drive, they can fill up very quickly.

However, Sony has recently introduced a solution that will work along the same lines as what Microsoft provided to Xbox One owners a few months ago – the ability to back up data on an external hard drive.

Sony detailed this update in a recent PlayStation Blog post, indicating that it will go live tomorrow and introduce the ability to use a hard drive plugged in to the PlayStation 4 system. Although specific sizes weren’t mentioned, it appears that hard drives anywhere from 1TB to 3TB can be used.

According to Sony, using a hard drive lets users “back-up and restore your hard disc drive data associated with users on your PS4, including settings, saved data, screenshots and video clips as well as games, patches and download data, to and from an external USB drive.”

This is good news for players who, up until this point, were forced to update the internal hard drive on the PlayStation 4 console, which only supports up to 1.5TB in size. With this increase in space, more games can be downloaded, including premium titles like The Order: 1886 and the recently released Bloodborne.

The free update will also provide a number of requested features from players, including the ability to suspend and resume games with the push of a button (even after turning off the system), being able to find friends easier through the “Yukimura” social tools, and improved Remote Play performance.

The hard drive support is the biggest deal, as it allows players to keep their game libraries intact, while making room for new additions. And with more new games, like Shovel Knight and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, on the way, it’s definitely needed.

More details on the update can be found here.

Now Hiring This Week: March 25th

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