The South by Southwest (SXSW) conference provides opportunities and resources for attendees to explore the newest in entertainment, culture, and technology. With 2017 ramping up to be a big year for augmented and virtual reality, the SXSW VR/AR conference track, which just debuted last year, packs 46 panels and meetups into 3 short days during March 14-16. We are excited to see an abundance of sessions focusing on VR/AR storytelling, and we’ve compiled a list of highlights for XR (augmented, mixed, and virtual reality) creators working with 360 video.


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The Creator’s Handbook for VR & 360 Storytelling

March 14, 2:00 – 3:00pm


SXSW 2017 marks the three year anniversary of the Oculus acquisition by Facebook. But is content and subject matter maturing at an even clip? Panelists will discuss what makes for a story well-told in VR including the subtle nuances that direct user gaze; effective use of spatialized sound; POV, embodiment, and defining user existence; creative templates for spherical formats; and other techniques for developing and producing successful VR stories.


Hollywood Goes VR

March 14, 3:30 – 4:30pm

ROB LISTER (IMAX Corporation), PETER AKEMANN (Sony Pictures Classics), PHIL CHEN (Presence Capital and Horizons Ventures)

While many of today’s biggest technology companies race to launch their head-mounted displays, a simultaneous effort is being made by leading content developers to create more compelling, high-quality, interactive VR content. The “Hollywood goes VR” panel will take you behind the scenes with Hollywood insiders to examine the progress being made as well as the opportunities and challenges in turning their hottest properties into interactive experiences that not only compliment cinematic storytelling, but take it to the next level.


How Can We Make 360 Video Actually Compelling?

March 14, 5:00 – 6:00pm


A lot of what passes for quality 360 video these days may be technically accomplished (as it demands significant technical chops in post-production) but from a story/experience perspective – most pieces are not much more than narrated postcards. This panel will discuss Editing, Narrative techniques and UX – to move the medium of 360 video forwards we need to accept that what we are building are not just stories but interactive experiences.


Learning From the 1st VR Boom to be Successful Now

March 15, 11:00am – 12:00pm

LINDA JACOBSON (Set It Spinning), CHRISTOPHER STAPLETON (Virtual World Society / Simiosys), DAVID POLINCHOCK (Experiential Advertising), JACQUELYN MORIE (All These Worlds, LLC)

Experts from the early days of VR will present lessons learned with their relevance to today’s more affordable and accessible VR. We’ll use our collective history and examples to look at the future. VR creators must learn from the past, and build works to provide immersive experiences that bring us emotional resonance, and agency to form our own memories as a normal part of our everyday future lives.


Human-Centered Design in VR

March 15, 2:00 – 3:00pm

KAMAL SINCLAIR (New Frontier Lab Program at the Sundance Institute), MIKE WOODS (White Rabbit VR), SASCHKA UNSELD (Oculus Story Studio), MAUREEN FAN (Baobab Studios Inc)

Since the birth of film, we have sat and enjoyed experiences as they are projected on a screen before us. Virtual reality, however, takes us within the story, into an infinite number of immersive and responsive worlds. What do we know about the human elements of perception and emotion; how do these instinctual responses drive immersive theatrical experiences; and how can we best apply these learnings as we create and translate experiences for VR?






Virtual Reality and 360 Video Meet Up

March 14, 9:30 – 10:30am

RICKY HOLM (Chocolate Milk & Donuts), ANDREW CAVEN (Axon Virtual Health)

Whether you’re an expert in VR/360 or want to learn if VR/360 could help further your brand, this meet up is for you! So join us, make some friends, have a beer and try out some VR/360 gear!


Cinematic Virtual Reality Meet Up

March 14, 11:00am – 12:00pm


This meet up will focus on the issues unique to cinematic VR, or CVR, creators and will have conversations dedicated to the biggest problem areas: 360 rigs/camera comparisons, tips and tricks; spatial audio capture and output formats; stitching software; integrating upcoming toolsets like interactivity, scent and haptics; and monetization in the CVR industry discussion.


Empowering Art & Activism with VR Meet Up

March 14, 3:30 – 4:30pm

EMILY COOPER (Holor Media), KYMBER LIM (Holor Media)

2017 will be a pivotal year as consumer-grade 360-video live-streaming meets the greatest popular political resistance in the past 50 years. Join us to explore opportunities for entertainers and activists to provide access and energize fan communities with VR. Includes screening of Holor’s “Women’s March on Washington” VR short.



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