people using VR headsets at South by Southwest Film Festival

Virtual reality is growing up, and South by Southwest continues to be a key player in the medium’s adoption alongside film festivals like Sundance and Cannes. SXSW 2018 reflects the popularization of nonfiction and journalistic virtual reality that we’ve witnessed this past year: the conference features workshops, screenings, and panels that highlight 360 storytelling. Read on for a preview of this year’s XR offerings!

360 Video and Virtual Reality Panels and Workshops at South by Southwest 2018

March 13, 2018

Convergence Keynote: Nonny de la Peña

The “Godmother of VR” will discuss her personal journey with immersive media, her work with Emblematic Group, and Reach—Emblematic’s new platform for content authorship. Titled “Reaching for Truth: Unlocking the Power of Human Creativity for Storytelling in Virtual and Augmented Reality,” de la Peña’s talk promises to be compelling and inspiring. Don’t miss this visionary’s address. Can’t attend SXSW? Tune in live here.

Cinematic Virtual Reality Meet Up

Meet up with fellow 360/VR creators to dig into the nitty-gritty of creating virtual reality today: facilitators plan on discussing volumetric live-action capture, post production tools and techniques, spatial audio, and storytelling in VR.

March 14, 2018

VR Storytelling for Filmmakers

Join VR Filmmaker Kiira Benzing and Producer Mark Sternberg as they discuss techniques and tools for creating cinematic virtual reality. While geared towards beginners, this session is aimed towards all creators seeking to delve into 360 media.

Empathy and Intimacy: Are We Really Feeling VR?

VR creatives, researchers, and reporters will share their findings on the psychological effects of virtual reality and propose their takes on how creators should channel VR’s emotional impact.

March 15, 2018

VR in Journalism: The Next Wave

This panel features journalistic VR trailblazers Francesca Panetta, Head of VR at The Guardian; Arnaud Colinart, Creative Director at ATLAS V; Jessica Lauretti, Global Head of RYOT Studio; and Marcelle Hopkins, Co-Director of virtual reality at The Times. Join the discussion as these industry leaders cover content monetization, nonfiction VR best practices, long-form documentaries, and more.

How Volumetric Humans Impact Storytelling in VR/AR

Join Steve Sullivan, General Manager of Mixed Reality Capture Studios at Microsoft; Ben Stein, General Manager of Studios at 8i; Peter Martin, CEO of Valis Entertainment;  and Cedric Gamelin, Senior Producer at Emblematic Group. These top creatives will discuss incorporating volumetric capture into 360/VR projects, exploring how such experiences push the boundaries of virtual reality’s narrative capability and what they mean for the viewer’s sense of presence.


SXSW Virtual Cinema 2018

Last year, South by Southwest launched its Virtual Cinema as a distinct project the first time: this year, the program features twenty-five 360/VR experiences! Sixteen of the works to be screened are world premieres – these are a few of the incredible films set to make their debuts at SXSW 2018.

We’re Still Here

Directed by Jesse Ayala

We're Still Here

Aiden ShortCloud is a Two-Spirit artist and historian in Boise living at a time in which few Two-Spirit elders remain alive. The product of a partnership between the Pride Foundation and the Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab, this 360 film document’s ShortCloud’s efforts to preserve and learn about his Native heritage.

One Eighty

Directed by Eren Aksu

One Eighty

Also part of the Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab, “One Eighty” tells the story of Kanhaiya Kumari’s quest to free his mother: Vijai Kumari spent 20 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. This film sheds light on India’s criminal justice system and the country’s practice of incarcerating people who have yet to be convicted of crimes.


Directed by Terrence Malick


We can’t wait to experience three-time Academy Award Nominee Terrence Malick’s new virtual reality film. With few details about the project on the web, we don’t know much about what to expect besides the fact that the experience will narrativize “the power of human connection.” With Malick involved, we can anticipate stellar cinematography and a dramatic, unorthodox approach— especially now that he’s working in 360 degrees.


SPIN Studio

Did you know it’s easy to use SPIN Studio to manage and play VR video on multiple headsets at film festivals? VR casting is the first-of-its-kind solution that lets anyone send up to 8K resolution 360 video, no awkward sideloading or app development required!


Filed Under: