Using VR to create sustainable global events
This year, 2019, the 4th consecutive Sustainable Production Forum took place in Canada with 5 top studios participating including Fox, Warner, NBC, Disney and Sony. But as of today, the irony of this event is that a ‘global forum on sustainability’ still requires attendees to jump on planes and travel from all over the world to attend, still using copious amounts of effort, plastics, electricity, fuel, all of which is just the same as flying production crews around the world when making films.
Bring your ideas to the people, not people to ideas.
Let’s discuss making global events and productions lower impact.
I am sure the events organisers will scream about the events carbon offset strategy and it’s program of planting trees, but this is one of the biggest problems of the sustainability argument, carbon offsets are all well and good, but carbon offsetting is always used as an argument and reaction to what are unsustainable behaviour. We need to change behaviour and the Sustainable Production Forum is a big part of doing this and change takes time, ideas need to be shared face to face, adopted and implemented. But moving forward we see a much brighter future and answer for bringing humans together.
Providing the infrastructure for sustainable industries.
Mike Harris is the founder of SiFi Networks, North America’s leading privately owned open access telecoms company that funds, builds and operates fiber networks upon which service providers can deliver low-latency connectivity to millions of homes. As the company that lays the cables, Harris said “Building smart city infrastructures we are installing the technologies that enable events organisers to connect people and spaces and reduce the need for travel, creating smart-city connectivity, faster connectivity ultimately brings people and things closer together via remote means”.
How the events and production industry can become more sustainable.
Of course humans need to travel, eat meat, use plastics, power their cars electric or not, but as ever with ecology it is a matter of balance en mass. People will always want to meet face to face, share ideas in person, but the technology is here to couple this with virtual production. Spatial computing, fibre connectivity and the ability to build virtual social environments is just not being used to their full potential and more needs to be done to champion technologies as a powerful contributor to reaching sustainability.
These industries will be the first to adopt virtual production.
Surly the first early adopters of these new technologies should be the events, entertainment and production industries all of which can reduce the need to transport physical atoms in exchange for transporting bits.
But not everyone has a VR headset.
Agreed, the way we engage with virtual space today is still a stumbling block. But the benefit of the newly converged virtual production space is that everyone has a screen and therefore a way to engage in virtual spaces.
Today you don’t need a HMD (head mounted display) to see whats going on in virtual space, you just need your phone, a TV, a screen. Mixed media capture, virtual cameras and low-latency connectivity now enable us to create in virtual space and provide real-time windows using 2D screens, of which there are billions already in peoples hands.
Turning 2D screens into windows to the virtual world.
People who attend these virtual social events can be ‘all in’ they will create virtual avatars, using volumetric capture, or they may choose to be dragons, unicorns or pink haired VR creations, but in the beginning most people will attend these events viewing through a screen.
Event organisers can bring people together in local groups and share the global experience on a big screen. Earlier this year games developer Epic Games held a world wide event for the computer game Fortnight that did exactly this, millions of players joined from home online and locally at the event. It’s time the sustainability industry really looked at how they can take ideas to the people and not bring the people to the ideas.
All in is better and will drive technology adoption
The benefits of bing ‘all in’ will be apparent and attendees watching the action will be enticed to join in on the action. But to hang out after the talks you’ll want to be more physically represented in virtual space, but here’s the rub, this is how you introduce more people and draw them in to virtual worlds. Next year we’d love to see something so important as the Sustainable Production Forum look at how it can also take place in duo space, both in the real and digital world. Transformation takes time. To influence change and facilitate the exchange of ideas people still need to come together, but surely if you are an event focussed on promoting sustainability, then you should be doing everything possible to adopt ideas and technologies that support your goals.