×
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

  • Love Nature Teams with Arte, BBC,

    Love Nature Teams with Arte, BBC, Smithsonian on Natural History Series ‘Stormborn’

    Love Nature has greenlit “Stormborn,” a wildlife series about animals living in the wildlands of countries on the edge of the North Atlantic. The three-parter will bow on Love Nature’s 4K linear channel and streaming service and then play on Arte in France and Germany, BBC Scotland and Smithsonian Channel. Love Nature is the natural [...]

  • john-farrar-joins-barcroft

    Barcroft Studios Hires John Farrar as Creative Director, Ups Two Execs (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Farrar, whose credits include “The Imposter,” has joined U.K. producer and digital content specialist Barcroft Studios. The company has also upped two senior staffers, with Alex Morris elevated to chief creative officer and Caspar Norman to chief operating officer. The new recruit joins Barcroft from Nerd TV, the U.K. shingle he co-founded with Jago [...]

  • Mubi Streaming Service Launches in South

    Mubi Streaming Service Launches in South East Asia (EXCLUSIVE)

    Film specialist streaming platform, Mubi is to launch in South East Asia. The service kicks off with operation in Malaysia, and has plans to quickly scale up in another half dozen territories in the fast-developing region. Mubi will retain its highly curated approach of offering one new film title per day and retaining each for [...]

  • A trading post sports the Spotify

    Spotify Determines That It Overpaid Publishers in 2018, Requests Refund

    When calculating the new, higher rates determined by the U.S Copyright Royalty Board — which Spotify, Amazon, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora have appealed — Spotify has determined that it overpaid publishers in 2018 and would like a refund. “According to the new CRB regulations, we overpaid most publishers in 2018,” a Spotify spokeperson said. “While the [...]

  • harry potter wizards unite

    'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite' Off to Slower Start Than 'Pokemon Go'

    Niantic’s new location-based augmented reality game “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is off to a solid start — but it doesn’t seem to have quite the same momentum as “Pokemon Go” did when it launched 3 years ago. That’s according to initial estimates from app analytics specialist Sensor Tower. “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” first became available [...]

  • Netflix Is Testing a Pop-out Player

    Netflix Is Testing a Pop-out Player for Desktop Viewing

    Office workers rejoice: Netflix is looking at ways to make it even easier to sneak in a little of your favorite shows while you are waiting for that email response that is holding everything up. The company is currently testing a pop-out player as part of its web interface. PSA!!!!! NETFLIX FINALLY HAS A POP-OUT [...]

  • iQIYI Launches World’s First Professional Interactive

    iQIYI Makes Strides in Interactive Video

    Chinese video streaming giant iQIYI is making strides in the interactive sector. It is launching China’s first interactive work after issuing a set of guidelines intended to standardize the creation of such content last month, the company said Friday. “His Smile” is the first such piece of interactive film and TV content to hit the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content