Deluxe Entertainment Services officially took the lid of Deluxe VR on Monday, announcing a dedicated creative services unit for virtual reality (VR) projects. Deluxe VR is being headed by Malte Wagener, who previously was VP at Deluxe’s Method Studios and Company 3. The unit will have its official coming-out at NAB next week, where it will show off two VR experiences.
Deluxe VR consists of a team of 35, but also taps into the existing resources of its parent company, including its network of 3,000 artists worldwide. Wagener told Variety last week that Deluxe had been looking closely at the VR space for more than three years. Last April, the company began to quietly assemble a team of specialists from both the world of visual effects and video game production.
Wagener himself also has a background in both, and argued that this is key to being successful in VR, which is new for the industry. Hollywood and the video games industry still remain separate worlds, despite much talk of both coming together. “This convergence really has never happened,” Wagener argued.
|One of the first VR Experiences Deluxe VR is showing off at NAB next week lets users explore a F14 fighter jet up and close.
Photo courtesy of Deluxe VR
That’s because ultimately, games and movies had very different production requirements: Games had to render at great frame rates in real time, and were often giving up production quality in favor of specs, he argued. Film studios, on the other hand, were using huge rendering farms to produce picture-perfect visual effects, and didn’t need to care about specs as long as the outcome looked great.
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“With VR, you have to watch both,” Wagener said. Not only do VR experiences have to render with 90 frames per second to work on headsets, but consumers are also expecting immersion in worlds that look just like what they’ve seen in major motion pictures. “That’s something that we have to pay a lot of attention to,” he said.
At the same time, Wagener acknowledged that it’s still early days. “It’s the start of an industry,” he said. Currently, a lot of VR startups do everything from rigging up their own camera to post-production. So how does a big industry player like Deluxe fit into the picture? By being ready for the next step, when studios want to produce experiences that aren’t just two or three, but 20 minutes long. And maybe not just as a one-off, but as a serialized production. “It has to be at an industrial scale,” said Wagener.