By Evan DeSimone
There’s a feeling in the air when it comes to virtual reality and immersive content. VR technology has been a part of the popular imagination for decades, but ask any video industry pro and they’ll tell you that 360-defree video is on the verge of a major mainstream breakthrough. KaleidoscopeVR is on the forefront of that revolution, working with independent VR creators in working in VR formats to build and promote both the medium and the content that will supply it.
We caught up with Kaleidoscope CEO René Pinnell to talk about his company, his vision of the future for the virtual space, and the film festival he’s curated to show the world what virtual arists and creators can really do.
You’ve lead and been a part of several different start-ups. What attracted you to the VR space enough to make it your next endeavor?
What attracted me to the VR space is the fact that it’s a perfect blend of my two greatest passions, technology startups and cinema. Before I got into startups I was a filmmaker for 10 years. So when I first discovered virtual reality a light bulb went off in my head. I could finally combine my two loves.
There’s a perception among consumers that VR content is still a novelty. By presenting the festival along with VRideo are you hoping show audiences virtual as a fully realized art-form?
Virtual reality is by no means a fully realized art-form, but that’s what makes it so exciting. It’s like the dawn of cinema over a century ago. We don’t know what will work and what won’t. The independent artists we’re featuring in the festival are just beginning that exploration. As a company, Kaleidoscope’s mission is to empower these artists by promoting their work and helping them in any way we can to produce original work.
What qualities were you looking for when curating creators and films for the festival?
Our strategy for curation was simple: find artists who inspire us. We looked for visual storytellers who took risks and showed us something different. We put a special emphasis on originality and craftsmanship. It was also important for us to highlight independent artists — folks who largely work on their own without the backing of a big company or studio.
What’s one trend that creatives working in virtual formats should be watching?
Right now there are two main modalities for creating cinematic virtual reality experiences: live-action 360 videos & real-time animated experiences. The production pipelines are radically different between the two so it’ll be important for creative to follow which becomes the dominant approach.
Which digital platforms have been the most forward-thinking when it comes to supporting virtual reality content?
I think Vrideo, WEVR and Samsung’s Milk VR have all been very engaged and supportive of VR filmmakers.