I am happy to announce that the long-awaited season 2 of the Metaverse Newscast has begun! For our first episode of the second season, I interviewed Jason Moore and Chris McBride of the MetaMovie project! We talked about their latest immersive theatre production, called Alien Rescue, which I had previously reviewed here (October 2021).
I’d like to thank Carlos Austin, my co-producer and director for this season, along with Victor Posa, who did additional camerawork. Oh, and I do apologize for my avatar in this episode! I used one of the mouth-enabled robots from the avatar setup room in Neos, to use with my Vive Facial Tracker, but I didn’t realize until after we stopped filming that my avatar’s tongue was sticking out a lot of the time! (Oh well, live and learn! I’ll probably switch to a different avatar the next time we record in NeosVR.)
The MetaMovie presents; Alien Rescue, an innovative project conceived by Jason Moore, in which the user embodies the starring role in a LIVE-performed Virtual Reality cinematic adventure. The project [was] selected by the Venice International Film Festival [which took] place online from September 2nd till 12th, 2020.
The MetaMovie project is an ongoing series of experiments exploring immersive, interactive storytelling inside the virtual reality metaverse. It combines cinema, video games, interactive theater, and role playing activities like D&D to create an entirely new way to experience a story: from the inside. In a MetaMovie you don’t just watch the story, you’re part of it.
As ‘the Hero’ you are the lead player. Your co-stars are played by live actors who lead you on an immersive and cinematic adventure and you have the agency to do or say what you want, and even affect the outcome of the story. Curious, but not exactly a hero? Experience the story as an ‘Eyebot’ without needing to interact with the other characters.
The world of live immersive work is upcoming. The Venice International Film Festival selected three of these projects for this year’s VR Expanded edition. Besides the fact that these experiences offer consumers live entertainment from the comfort of their own home, it also creates job opportunities for actors all over the world. Something that’s more relevant than ever since we’re dealing with COVID-19.
Here’s the two-minute teaser trailer for Alien Rescue!
And here’s the best part: you can take advantage of a special free offer to help iron out the last few bugs in performances of Alien Rescue before ticket sales to the general public! Jason Moore left the following message on the RyanSchultz.com Discord:
I’m Jason, the creator and director of the MetaMovie Presents: Alien Rescue. Alien Rescue is a live immersive asymmetric PCVR/Desktop experience that puts you in the middle of an action packed VR movie where you role play with five live actors. We’ve performed at the Venice Biannale VR festival and won a Special Mention award, and we are gearing up for our public launch in a few months.
Currently we are running preview shows to squash the bugs and I’m here offering free tickets for some upcoming shows! Please come check us out, give us your feedback, and help us bug test!
We run on NeosVR, which is available for free on Steam. The days/times of the shows are:
• Saturday August 28th, 2:00pm ET • Saturday, September 4th, 2:00pm ET • Saturday, September 18, 2:00pm ET • Saturday, October 2nd, 2:00pm ET
Click the link below to go to our website, where you can select the day of the show you want. Then you’ll get taken to Eventbrite and you can use the Discount Codes below to get your free ticket.
Please only take a ticket if you are sure you will use it. Please only take 1 ticket, not multiple tickets. And please note we are still working out the bugs…..
Discount Codes: • Saturday, August 28th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick2808 • Saturday, September 4th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick0409 • Saturday, September 18th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick1809 • Saturday, October 2nd, 2:00pm ET Sidekick0210
The original idea for a pre-taped interview show with the people behind social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse dates back to August 2017, only a month after I started writing this blog (here’s the original blogpost).
I would like to thank two key people, without whom the Metaverse Newscast never would have launched:
Tyler Scarborough (Dynamic Evolution in Sansar), who first approached me in August 2017 to discuss the idea of a news show, which I decided to call the Metaverse Newscast. Tyler also built our first studio, which we did use for several interviews in the early days, before we decided to head out and film our episodes on location!
Andrew William of Imagine That Productions, who really did all the heavy lifting: acting as main cameraman for our episodes, then doing all the digital video editing to make the finished product you can watch on the Metaverse Newscast page on YouTube. All I had to do was look presentable, host the show, and ask the interview questions! I think I had by far the easier job, or at least the role of host came easily and naturally to me. It hardly seemed like work at all!
Well, as you probably know, work on the Metaverse Newscast stopped after episode 8. What happened is that Andrew got some paying video editing work in real life, which has unfortunately taken him away from this project.
He is still at work on episode 9, an in-depth interview with Chris Madsen about the educational social VR platform ENGAGE, which has unfortunately been significantly delayed due to Andrew’s current real-life workload. Hopefully, it will come out sometime early this year. I do believe it is our best work to date, and I really do want people to see it! Here’s a sneak preview.
Andrew William and I have had a long talk about where we take the Metaverse Newscast from here. We have four or five shows which we had filmed, but the raw footage needs to be edited into releasable episodes. Andrew had originally found a volunteer willing to help him edit the remaining video (because we have no money to pay anyone to do the work for us, we rely on volunteers), but unfortunately, that arrangement fell through in 2019.
So finally, over the Christmas holidays, Andrew and I agreed that I would sit down and learn Adobe Premiere Pro myself, work my way up the learning curve to become a digital video editor, and finish all the episodes after the ENGAGE one. I had originally hoped to use some of my Christmas holidays to start learning, but of course other things got in the way (including my self-imposed extended break from Sansar, which I talk about here: Part I and Part II).
As time passes, the finished episodes of the Metaverse Newscast are becoming a sort of time capsule, a record of a specific time and place that future VR historians might find of interest.
I do find it rather ironic that, of the two social VR platforms Andrew and I have covered in the first eight episodes of the Metaverse Newscast, half were about High Fidelity (a platform that is effectively shutting down in 2020), and the other half were about Sansar (where I am completely burned out, and I need to take a break).
So, what am I saying? I am saying that I will need to set aside the first half of 2020 to learn Adobe Premiere Pro, using the raw footage Andrew shot of the unfinished Metaverse Newscast episodes to teach myself the basics of digital video editing. So (except for the ENGAGE episode Andrew is still working on), please don’t expect any new Metaverse Newscast episodes for at least another six months, and perhaps longer.
Also, I have approached someone who worked as an additional cameraman on a couple of the very earliest episodes of the Metaverse Newscast, to ask him if he would be willing to become my main cameraman, taking over from Andrew. Somebody needs to be behind the camera as I play the genial host and interview people!
And I am very happy to announce that Carlos Austin has recently agreed to come on board! Carlos is as active, engaged, and interested in the various social VR platforms as I am, and I am grateful to have him as a partner as we move forward on the Metaverse Newscast in 2020, and start filming new episodes. Thank you so much, Carlos! I am looking forward to working with you again.
So, while there will be a bit of a unplanned hiatus, I do expect that the Metaverse Newscast will continue. Please stay tuned for further announcements!
The Metaverse Newscast is branching out! All eight of the episodes that my producer, Andrew William of Imagine That Productions, and I have released so far have been set in either High Fidelity or Linden Lab’s Sansar. But we have decided to start covering other platforms as well.
Last Saturday Andrew and I, plus our new lead editor Joey Jonaitis, spent well over two hours recording footage in Engage, an innovative educational VR platform. I interviewed Chris Madsen, who is in charge of Business Development at Immersive VR Education (the parent company of Engage) in various experiences on the platform, including a hospital in Kenya and even the surface of Mars!
One of the many amazing features of Engage is the ability to record three-dimensional video, which can then be played back and viewed from any angle! Chris, Andrew, and Joey shot a lot of 3D footage (as well as regular, “flat” footage) which will be used in the creation of this episode. Andrew and I are grateful that we have Joey’s experience with video editing as part of our team!
Here’s a shot of Chris and I that Andrew took in a recreation of a reading room at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford within Engage (the face on Chris’ avatar was generated using a single front profile photograph, another cool feature of Engage):
Here’s a sneak peek at a segment that will form part of the final episode:
We don’t have a release date yet, and there are several other Metaverse Newscast episodes that are still in production, which will probably be released before this one. After spending 2 to 3 hours in VR headsets, we were all exhausted, and when I was done, I was covered in sweat! But it will be a great episode!