×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Slate Launches Weekly Facebook Live Talk Show Produced in Virtual Reality (EXCLUSIVE)

Slate is launching a new weekly Facebook Live show, with a twist: “Conundrums” is being produced entirely in virtual reality, with actors and other celebrities joining Slate Culture Editor Dan Kois in the virtual world with the help of more-or-less lifelike avatars.

First up Thursday is Carrie Preston, who is known for her roles in “True Blood” and “The Good Wife.” Kois will spend some 25 minutes quizzing her on a series of conundrums. Is it better to have loved and lost, or not loved at all? Should one fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?

Preston will have one minute for each of these questions, and the Facebook Live audience will be able to chime in with real-time comments. Oh, and there may be virtual beer drinking in a nod to series sponsor Sixpoint Brewery.

“Conundrums” is the first professionally-produced Facebook Live show of its kind to make use of Facebook’s social VR app Spaces as a production environment. Facebook officially launched Facebook Live streaming for Spaces Wednesday, initially billing it as a way for owners of the company’s Oculus Rift headset to reach more of their friends on Facebook, even if these friends don’t own VR headsets yet.

Slate editor in chief Julia Turner told Variety this week that the publisher had been thinking about using VR for a live show for some time. “We‘ve been looking at VR as a medium for journalism for the past several years,” she said. However, most VR journalism is focused on empathy-inducing documentaries, something that didn’t quite gel with Slate’s opinion-focused brand.

Instead, Slate was looking to do something closer to what it has done in the podcasting space, said Slate Director of Product David Stern. “What you get in VR is in many ways very similar to what you get in podcasts,” he said, arguing that both mediums could offer a direct and immediate connection to interviewers and their guests.

Initially, Slate was toying with the idea of building its own VR-based video production environment. But when Facebook first previewed Spaces last year, the team quickly realized that this would be a much better option.

Of course, one could conceivably also produce a show like “Conundrum” with a Skype or Facetime chat. But Turner argued that the result wouldn’t be the same without VR. “It creates a kind of intimacy that feels very different from a video call,” she said. “It feels like you are in a new space together.”

Facebook first introduced Spaces as a way for up to three friends to meet up with the help of their avatars in VR in April. Spaces users can look at videos together, teleport to 3D spaces, take selfies of their avatars and even scribble with the help of virtual pens.

Kois will make use of some of those features to keep his guests on their toes, and Turner said that the medium itself is supposed to keep the show playful and fun as well: “VR brings out the kid in everyone.”

More Digital

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Denies Report That It's Exiting Scripted Dramas, Comedies

    YouTube claims it is not pulling up stakes from original entertainment — denying a report by Bloomberg over the weekend that the Google-owned video service was cancelling plans for “high-end dramas and comedies” and had stopped taking pitches for “expensive” scripted shows. In a statement, a rep said, “YouTube denies the report” and cited its [...]

  • Apple to Launch New Apple TV

    This Is What Apple's New TV Service Will Actually Look Like

    Apple unveiled its much-anticipated video service at a press event in Cupertino Monday, promising a range of originals via its forthcoming Apple TV+ service as well as easy access to third-party video subscription services. But while many of the big names attached to Apple’s video efforts were known beforehand, one significant detail wasn’t: How are [...]

  • Apple Announces Gaming Subscription Service

    Apple Announces Gaming Subscription Service Apple Arcade

    Apple detailed its long-rumored gaming subscription service during a special event it held in Cupertino, California Monday. Apple Arcade is the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and living room, the company said. With a single subscription, you get access to more than 100 new and exclusive games. The games won’t be on [...]

  • Apple News Announcement

    Apple Unveils $9.99 News Subscription Service Dubbed Apple News+

    Apple unveiled a news subscription service called Apple News+ at its services event in Cupertino, Calif. Monday. The $9.99 service gives paying subscribers access to over 300 magazines as well as select newspapers and premium digital news services. “We believe in the power of journalism and the impact it will have on your lives,” said [...]

  • Katie Drummond - Vice Digital

    Vice Names Katie Drummond Senior VP of Digital

    Katie Drummond, who has worked as an editor in digital media and publishing for a decade, joined Vice Media as senior vice president of Vice Digital. Drummond comes on board to take over many of the duties of Ciel Hunter, who left Vice in January as global head of content for Vice Digital after more [...]

  • Apple Event: How to Watch Live-Stream

    How to Live-Stream Today's Apple Event

    Monday is the coming-out party for Apple’s Hollywood ambitions: After years of trademark secrecy about its plans to stream into video entertainment, the tech giant is set to pull back the curtain at a media event. The live program kicks off at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, on Monday, March 25, from the [...]

  • Google Stadia Is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia Is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content