Technicolor, a 100-plus-year-old company who once upon a time was a Hollywood filmmaking behemoth, is applying a nascent system of storytelling—virtual reality—as part of its newest business strategy that aims on positioning them to work in tandem with brands and creators to curate premium content experiences.
The Technicolor Experience Center, a 10,000 square foot space in Culver City, California, is a hub for VR and immersive media for Technicolor and its brands. They work with filmmakers and production companies across movies, advertising and gaming to push the boundaries of immersive storytelling.
“We’re a community for technologists and creators to come and experience content, to get educated on what VR is,” Marcie Jastrow, senior vice president of immersive media and head of the Technicolor Experience Center, told AListDaily. “The whole idea is for us to build bridges, and by creating content, you learn where the gaps and bridges need to be made. We want to educate brands and the communities of creators.”
Gone are Technicolor’s days of highly saturated color processing—they produced their last frame in 2015. They are still, however, very much part of the color-science capabilities and image-processing pipeline. They still touch every aspect of film and broadcast—close to 70 percent of the movies made in Hollywood—and they’re now focused on advancing the content creation side of the emerging VR business.
Last week at E3, they partnered with Nokia, a company who is leveraging VR in a multitude of ways, to announce a VR content creation partnership around the Nokia OZO+ virtual reality camera and content creation tools. The two companies will collaborate on live-action, 360-degree projects and unveil a series of masterclass sessions for 360 filmmaking.
“If you’re working in a real-time game engine, it’s very different than what content creators have been building for the last 100 years,” says Jastrow, who in the last two months has secured deals with Vicon and Positron to further push the boundaries in the VR ecosystem. “VR gives you an incredible sense of empathy because you’re immersed in the experience. So if you’re a brand trying to connect closer to your consumer, they may want to use VR to get that connection quicker. It allows people to see the entire picture, and it allows you to move and interact with whatever content they’re trying to create.”
Technicolor also partnered with HP and NVIDIA for “Mars Home Planet,” a global project that unites engineers, architects, designers and students to design an urban area for a million people on Mars and bring it to life through VR.
“We’re really still at the birth of this industry and it’s going to take all of the partners to get together and really help build it and grow it and make it into something much larger than it is now,” Rick Champagne said in a podcast interview for journalists. “When you get together with a cross-disciplinary group of partners, and everybody’s looking at it from a different perspective, there’s so much knowledge you can gain from that experience. . . . Technicolor is a world-class technology leader and innovator through their research and innovation group, and universally known for their award-winning commercial work through The Mill and MPC. So, they’re an amazing partner really to help push the technology to its absolute limits.”
The Mill and MPC are Technicolor-owned advertising visual effects studios for branded content, advertising and marketing with such credits as the movie-inspired Alien: Covenant VR experience, and the VR/AR companion piece for the live-action short film Wonder Buffalo.
“What we’re seeing is the push for understanding VR and immersive media, and what would that mean to build those experience and push them out to the consumers,” says Jastrow, who manages a cross-functional team of artists, producers, engineers and technologists. “So we’re trying to help large brands understand how to use VR and push it out to the consumers.”
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