Variety Produces First Virtual Reality Red Carpet Coverage

Jaunt VR teams with magazine for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' premiere video

Variety became the first news outlet to produce virtual reality video coverage of a red carpet premiere Monday night, teaming with VR technology provider Jaunt to capture highlights of Monday’s Hollywood preem of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

David S. Cohen of Variety and Tara McNamara of ThatWasSomething.com co-hosted the coverage. Kenneth Voelker of Jaunt operated the VR rig. For the record, the first thesp to be interviewed in VR on the “Guardians” carpet B.J. Britt of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Also interviewed were: From “Guardians,” helmer James Gunn and thesps Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker; from “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Chloe Bennett, Elizabeth Henstridge; and author/blogger Chris Hardwick.

Jaunt’s virtual reality rig uses 14 small HD cameras to capture a 360-degree, stereoscopic view of the action around it. Viewers who view the VR video with Oculus Rift goggles will be able to see the entire scene as if they were there, including the throngs on jam-packed Hollywood Blvd., the marquee of the El Capitan theater and its video screen showing standard video red-carpet coverage, and the press gaggle.

Selected clips from the “Guardians” red carpet are expected to be ready for viewing within a week.

“I think everyone’s still figuring out how to use virtual-reality video for event coverage,” said Cohen. “When it works, it has the potential to let millions feel that they’ve been to places few people ever get to go: A red carpet, a seat next to Jack at a Lakers game, you name it.

“It’s still early days, though. I think VR is about where TV was in 1938. But with the muscle of Facebook behind the Oculus Rift, I think VR is going to take off in the next few years. I wanted to try it and start learning, so when that happens, we’ll be ahead of the game. And it’s always fun to be first.”

Variety is adding more video coverage as part of its Artisans initiative, which focuses on below-the-line talent.

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