Beloved Friend: this one is called GIANTS for several reasons, least of which is that it is a Giant newsletter. I suggest you make some nice herbal tea, find a comfy place to curl up, take some beautiful, deep breaths, and read the shit out of this.

I want to share some of the interesting things I learned over the past few weeks between NAB in Las Vegas and the Vision Summit in Hollywood. Then I will add some more information about our own VR & AR conference, that you will love, coming up in 52 days!

NABShow 2017: Lots of new "VR" cameras. (at least, that's what I'll focus on here)

  • ps. save money for drives, a DIT and 40% of your budget for post. ~ a friend.

  • The Yi Halo, featuring 17 cameras (this one has a dedicated camera pointing straight up) is the spiritual successor to the Google's GoPro-based Jump cam system. Yi Halo shoots 8k*8K stereoscopic at 30fps and 6K at 60. It's priced at around US$17k. Google will stitch your first 15 minutes free in the cloud. After that every 15 minutes is US$2k. But you can apply for the Google Jump Start program and get free access and stitching.

  • Speaking of fps, the Insta360 Pro, ready to launch next week features 8K mono or 6k stereo (post-process stitching), 4k realtime stitching and livestreaming in mono and stereo, with 6 dedicated 2.4 lenses, 4-mic ambisonic audio onboard, ethernet, HDMI, Wi-Fi AND 4G and H.265 compression. Oh and this little Ozo challenger, clocks in at only US$3500. WHA?

  • If you can't afford to spend 2.5 months rent on a new cam, you may also consider Insta's Air (US$129) and Nano (US$199) models, for Android and iOS, respectively. These diminutive monsters features 2.0 lenses, 3K, autostitch and connect right to your phone's brainstem so you can stream realtime to FC, Periscope and YouTube. You can also use them standalone.

  • Also saw the ZCam S1 Pro - grassroots and crowdfunded integrated spherical solution setting the 360 video world on fire. 4K livestreaming, Open API, 6k at 30fps, 4k at 60fps.

  • The VUZE Camera from HumanEyes out of Israel is about ready to rock Canada and the US - their "Prosumer" camera (don't be fooled, I know a secret and it's that there's a big July software update coming) is designed to give you 4K, 3D spherical video via 8 lenses! For under US$1k. It uses autogain and autocolor/contrast to deliver really really nice looking images. Honestly this thing produces beautiful looking stuff.
    The sweet spot is about 1.5m from the camera, with a really deep focus into the BG through some trickery and those 8 lenses. It also features onboard ambisonic audio. Maybe this will be something you can override and get manual output in the near future. Cough. They also won NAB's best in show in 2016 and Mashable recently reviewed this affordable high-rez solution. We may just have a few of these puppies for sale at #VRTOC2017.

  • Ricoh Theta is updating the S to a 4K video solution and will add ambisonic 4-way audio onboard. Also they are making another similar sized camera called the "Developer Kit" whose casing looks like a giant heat sink and can stream 360 live for up to 24 hours. (Think security cams).

  • Also Samsung decided, a week before NAB, to reveal its prototype (maybe MSRP in Q4) pro stereoscopic, 6-mic spherical 4K 3D video camera (here's my Instagram video of it - very little coverage elsewhere). Nice to see Samsung bearing down rather than inching away from the immersive video production market.

ahh! ok /geeking

Next up:

Vision Summit 2017

  • Vuforia - Native Integration into Unity and demos Smart Terrain which is a realtime automapping zone editor for AR experiences.
  • Google gets native in Unity adds new tools Instant Preview, DayDream Elements and Tango
  • Microsoft said Mixed Reality development coming very soon to Unity
  • Chris Milk said Within is producing content with Spike Jones and OK Go this year. Which is awesome.
  • Oh yeah - CONGRATS BAOBAB! You won teh Emmy for a 360 Animation!

Phew ok. There's like, so much more, but you can ask me about it later.

VRTO's World Conference & Expo now has tickets on sale at deeply discounted Early Bird prices only until May 15th! This year's theme is - say it with me now - GIANTS!

That's because Toronto is the point of origin for so many companies that have transformed the world - Houdini, Maya, Alias Wavefront, Christie, IMAX; a huge R&D center.

I also want to point out that the VRTO World Conference & Expo may take place in Toronto, but it is an international conference and event that takes places there. I make the argument that the rest of the world should come and find out just why so many incredibly innovative companies originate in the territory.

You can read more about my thoughts and the show in this recent blog post at the VRTO site.

Just some of our confirmed speakers include:

  • David A. Smith - Wearality
    In 1987, Smith created The Colony, the very first 3D interactive game and precursor to today's first-person shooters. The game was developed for the Apple Macintosh and soon won the "Best Adventure Game of the Year" award from MacWorld Magazine. In 1989, Smith used the technologies developed for the game to create a virtual set and virtual camera system that was used by James Cameron for the movie The Abyss. Based upon this experience, Smith founded Virtus Corporation in 1990 and developed Virtus Walkthrough, the first real-time 3D design application for personal computers. Smith also co-founded several other companies including Red Storm Entertainment with Tom Clancy, Timeline Computer Entertainment with Michael Crichton, and Neomar, a wireless enterprise infrastructure company. (more at Wikipedia)

  • Peggy Wu - SIFT/NASA
    Ms. Wu operationalizes psychological theories using advanced technologies, with a focus on Virtual Reality, Computational Linguistics, and Artificial Intelligence, for improving human-computer and human-human interaction to support Deep Space Exploration missions and human performance applications on Earth. She has been responsible for obtaining research and consulting funding from diverse governmental and commercial sources and has authored or co-authored more than 60 peer reviewed publications as well as two book chapters. 

  • Graham Smith
    A pioneer in the area of VR, having exhibited the world's first Head Mounted Display artwork in 1983, the first telepresence robotic artwork in 1986 and the first use of panoramic imagery in a VR environment in 1989 in collaboration with Jaron Lanier. He is currently Chief Science Officer at the Dutch company Webchair and a PhD student at University College Dublin researching the positive effects telepresence technology can have to help re-integrate autistic children back into school environments in a Ryerson University based project called WEBMOTI funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

  • Moses Znaimer - Zoomer Media
  • Charlie Fink - Forbes, Disney
  • Clifton Dawson - Greenlight Insights
  • Jai Krishnan - Google Research
  • Rafael Brown - Digital Myths
  • Samantha Matthews -
  • Dr. Karan Singh - CTO, JanusVR
  • Eduardo Cuervo - Microsoft Research - Mobile Cloud-Based WebVR
  • Steve Cohen - Open Text Corporation
  • Dr. Maria Karam - TADs Inc.
  • Tom Westerlin - Nice Shoes

and many more.
Use promo code: VRTOEarlyAdopters for your extra discount!

Get Tickets Now

and have an amazing week!

Does your company want to maximize exposure to the heart of the VR/AR industries?

  • Exhibit! To receive an info kit and inquire about brand integration and exhibition opportunities or to become a community sponsor -  fill out this form
  • Report! Are you press outlet interested in covering and promoting the conference? Fill out this form

Special thanks to Ben Cross for the Giants graphic

At length, here's the hot news from everywhere else:

Hope you enjoy this week's digest!

If you have a groundbreaking news story you'd like to see in the next issues of the VRTO newsletter, VR/AR related material you'd like to advertise, sponsor, present on a topic, have some feedback or want to list an Event at the VRTO Event Calendar, please email me at

ps. have you subscribed to the FIVARS and VRTO YouTube Channels? Did you know you can see seminars, meetups, highlights and behind the scenes videos there?

Our home page is at: - where you can sign up for our mailing list, check out upcoming and past events, and go through our huge list of VR/AR resources.

Interested in future VRTO Events? Join us via our Meetup page!

FIVARS Early Bird Submissions now on! Final Early Bird Deadline is April 15th! We are looking for storytelling in all forms of immersive technology, including but not limited to 360, 6DoF, AR, MR, ASR, spatialized 3D audio and beyond.

This year's awards include People's Choice for Best Passive and Best Interactive Experiences, the Grand Jury Prize and the newest award for Social Impact.

Submit your Immersive Story Experience to FIVARS 2017 now!

Follow us on Twitter!



Follow us on Instagram!